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Wednesday, July 30, 2014
Saskatchewan

SOCIAL SERVICES RESPONDS TO INQUEST RECOMMENDATIONS

Social Services will continue to implement changes within its Child and Family Services Division and is taking steps beyond those recommended by a coroner's jury to better care for and support children in care, along with their families and caregivers.

"The death of the child who was the subject of this inquest is a tragedy, and my heart goes out to his family," Social Services Minister June Draude said. "We must, and we will, do better. The actions the ministry has taken since 2009, and the further measures we are announcing today, are all directed at improving the safety and well-being of children in care."

The ministry has taken a number of steps since the child's death. A few examples include:

  • Development of a new and expanded Foster Home Safety Checklist;
  • Re-organization of front-line service delivery to create more direct lines of communication between child protection workers, foster home workers, supervisors and managers;
  • Implemenation of a formal communications protocol to ensure that child protection workers and foster home workers review quality of care concerns at foster homes together; and
  • Development of a new child history form, provided to foster parents, that contains all pertinent information about the child, including medical information.

In addition, Social Services will undertake a number of new initiatives specifically in response to the recommendations from the coroner's jury, including:

  • Development of a provincial policy regarding in-home support services for foster families;
  • Additional staff training on how to accurately document observations and address potential issues of concern for a child's safety and well-being;
  • Requirement for ministry workers to enter and inspect all rooms in the foster home and take photographs as required for accurate documentation; and
  • Introduction of mandatory First Aid/CPR training for all foster parents in the province, with the first phase of implementation focused on homes caring for high medical needs children.


Over the last three years, the ministry has made significant investments to address systemic challenges in the child welfare system. Since November 2007, the Child and Family Services budget has increased by 106 per cent, including $50 million since April 2009 to enhance programs and services for vulnerable children. The ministry has also created 193 new out-of-home care spaces, helping relieve pressure on the foster care system.

These and other initiatives have helped reduce the number of children in foster homes with more than four children by nearly 50 per cent and resulted in a reduction in children coming into care for the first time in at least a decade.

"Though we have made progress, clearly more needs to be done," Draude said. "At the same time that the recommendations from the inquest are being implemented, the Cabinet Committee on Children and Youth continues its work on reviewing the Child Welfare Review Panel's report and developing a comprehensive, cross-government action plan that will better serve Saskatchewan children and their families."

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For more information, contact:

Trish Alcorn
Social Services
Regina
Phone: 306-787-0916
Email: trish.alcorn@gov.sk.ca
Cell: 306-536-1479

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