Minister of Children and Family Development Stephanie Cadieux issued the following statement today in response to the release of the representative for children and youth’s report that investigates sexualized violence against children and youth in care:
“I’d like to thank the Representative’s Office for their work on this important report. It helps shed further light on a very dark issue in our society – an issue we’ve explored extensively in other reviews, including most recently in our file review of children and youth in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.
“The factors behind the sexual abuse of children are both disturbing and complex, and the report does a thorough job of detailing those factors as well as identifying those populations that are most vulnerable.
“In an effort to prevent the victimization of youth who come into our care the ministry has rigorous standards in place for assessing caregivers. Those standards require, for example, criminal record checks for all adults residing in the home, home studies and caregiver training.
“We are also implementing a number of measures to strengthen the system of care including: revised standards for social workers who assess, train, support and monitor foster parents; an expanded audit program to include the work of these social workers; and revised protocols for responding to allegations of harm or poor quality of care for children in foster homes.
“This ministry is built on the principle of protecting children from harm. We know that many of the young people who come into our care have suffered from varying forms of abuse in their lives – and too often at the hands of those they’ve loved or trusted. We need to ensure we are doing all we can to make our system of care a safe haven for these children and youth.
“This report offers some interesting recommendations in support of that goal and we will be discussing those with our partner ministries and agencies in the coming weeks.”