VICTORIA - Minister of Children and Family Development Mary McNeil made the following statement on behalf of the B.C. government in response to the Representative for Children and Youth's report released, Honouring Kaitlynne, Max and Cordon: Make Their Voices Heard Now.
"This case is an unimaginable tragedy and my sympathies, condolences and apology go out to the family of these children. What this family has endured is beyond what anyone can possibly fathom. To that end, any supports or services we can provide, including under our Criminal Victim Assistance Programs, are and will be made available to assist this family.
"In reading this report, it is clear that much more must be done to improve the system of supports for families dealing with complex issues like domestic violence and mental illness. There also needs to be greater focus on integrating and co-ordinating the system of supports.
"The Representative's report urges the government to take further steps to demonstrate accountability and leadership in the area of domestic violence. We are acting immediately to establish a Domestic Violence Unit under the Ministry of Children and Family Development -- reporting to the Deputy Minister -- that will be accountable for delivering a comprehensive, co-ordinated action plan to strengthen supports to children and families who are impacted by domestic violence.
"This unit will be permanent to ensure continued leadership and accountability on this important issue. The Domestic Violence Unit's immediate role will be to work with a newly formed deputy ministers' committee - comprised of deputies from the ministries of Children and Family Development, Justice, Health, Social Development and Education - to develop an inventory of cross government services and resources. It will identify where there are gaps and develop an action plan that addresses the recommendations in the Representative's report.
"The action plan will be outcomes-based and include targets and timeframes. It will be developed in close consultation with the Representative and be presented to her on July 31, 2012, with work to begin immediately thereafter.
"Government is committed to ensuring that we act quickly and effectively in developing a seamless approach that will provide children and families with the supports they need."
Media Relations Officer
Ministry of Children and Family Development