There are now 110 more child protection workers in B.C. communities than there were in November 2014.
Last fall, the ministry committed to adding 200 new child protection workers by January 2016 and accelerating additional hiring in order to help reduce the workload in ministry offices and better serve vulnerable children, youth and families.
“Our staff and the families they work with have told us about their concerns, and their feedback helped in our decision to hire extra social workers,” said Minister of Children and Family Development Stephanie Cadieux. “We’ve increased staffing levels by almost 11% in 10 months, and we’re continuing to add new social workers throughout the province.”
In addition to increasing the number of child-protection workers, the ministry has fully staffed the Provincial Mobile Response Team (not to be confused with the Rapid Response Model being developed in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside). The ministry has also mobilized a group of volunteer social workers who are interested in helping short-staffed or backlogged offices for periods of two to four weeks.
To expedite the hiring of child-protection workers, the ministry will recruit for rural, remote, high-needs and other positions in two ways – through group hiring four times a year, and through individual hiring on an ongoing basis to help ensure that open positions are filled as quickly as possible. For the first time ever, the ministry is bringing a direct focus on recruiting for senior leadership positions to help attract interest from Aboriginal applicants and qualified people from across Canada.
“To date, we are ahead of our target to increase staffing throughout the province, and we are on track to add the remaining 90 staff by January,” said Cadieux. “As we move forward, we will continue to add staff and make changes that will benefit both clients and ministry staff – changes that will allow us to provide children, youth and families with the quality supports and services they need and deserve.”
These changes come as a result of extensive staff engagement across the province and through work with the BC Government Employees Union (BCGEU). The ministry will continue to engage all partners to ensure that the staffing increase is providing the necessary support to ministry child-protection workers and allowing them to best serve the children and families they work with every day.
- While the number of front-line social workers has increased, the number of children in care has decreased by about 3,000 since 2001 to approximately 7,200 today.
- Since 2005, we have increased the total number of front-line staff across the ministry, including supervisors, by 446 – an increase of 21% (2,565 as of Aug. 31, 2015, compared to 2,119 in 2005).
- Since November 2014, the ministry has increased its front-line child-protection social workers by 110, an increase of almost 11% – from 1,024 to 1,134.
- Since 2005, the number of front-line mental-health workers, including supervisors, has increased by nearly 86% – from 237 to 440.
- In June 2015, the ministry and the BCGEU signed the final progress report for the BCGEU/MCFD Joint Working Group, a partnership that helped identify how to better support staff in their work with vulnerable children, youth and families in B.C. To see a photo of the signing, visit: https://flic.kr/p/z59k51