July 18, 2017 (Calgary) The NDP needs to urgently identify and address the areas of the Child Intervention system that are blocking action on recommendations to improve the system or more preventable deaths will occur, says Alberta Party leader Greg Clark.
“I’m frustrated that previous recommendations are not being acted on by this government,” said Clark. “And I’m even more frustrated by the NDP’s lack of transparency and apparent unwillingness, or inability, to break through resistance to change at senior levels of the system.”
Clark says that the Ministerial Panel on Child Intervention has shown there is a disconnect between senior levels, including the Minister’s office, and the front lines.
“One of the most important lessons I’ve learned in my time on the Panel is that the people on the front lines of what is probably the most difficult job in Alberta’s public service are very open to change. They want to see kids thrive and they want families to be healthy,” said Clark. “Unfortunately there’s strong resistance to change at the top levels of the system.
“The NDP needs to break through that resistance or find people who are willing and able to fundamentally change how Child Intervention works.”
Clark also echoed the concerns of the Child and Youth Advocate about ensuring his office has the resources needed to do his job.
“It’s unacceptable that the Minister hasn’t sat down with the Advocate to discuss what his office needs to implement the changes passed through the Legislature this spring,” said Clark. “It appears the government cares more about political optics than they do about implementing meaningful changes that will keep kids safe.”
Clark said the NDP appear to be doing everything they can to minimize the awareness of the report.
“Releasing this report on the same day Canada’s Premiers are meeting in Edmonton seems designed to minimize coverage. It’s in the best interests of children in care that Albertans are aware of the recommendations and know their government will act on them.”
“As for the Panel itself, I believe it can succeed, but only if the government stops playing politics. We need to see real action on recommendations and openness to change from senior levels of government and administration.”
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