Yesterday marked the end of nearly a year of work to help improve the lives of kids in government care. The all-party Ministerial Panel on Child Intervention wrapped up after 35 meetings over the past 11 months.

It was an honour to hear from the people who traveled from all over the province to tell their stories and share ideas on how to improve the system, and in particular how to reduce the vast over-representation of indigenous kids in care. Some of the most powerful stories came from our three trips to reserves to hear directly from people in their own communities. And I very much enjoyed learning from my fellow panelists.

In the end I think we got to a good place. Working across party lines, and in consultation with our expert panelists and stakeholders from throughout the province and throughout the system, we came up with 26 recommendations that should help improve the lives of children in care, and hopefully prevent many kids from needing to be put in care in the first place.

The recommendations aren’t perfect; I wish we had a chance to talk about the publication ban, and I would have preferred we took one final step to have the panel ensure the recommendations have measurable outcomes and are time-based. That said, But in the end I’m comfortable seeing this happen in a two-step process with the expert panelists continuing to work working with the department to add more detail to our recommendations.

Now the hard work begins. The work to implement system-wide changes must be done in true partnership with families, staff, agency partners and especially with indigenous communities. I will stay engaged and ensure that these recommendations don’t end up gathering dust on a shelf, and that we see real action to improve the lives of kids.

 

Greg Clark

MLA Calgary – Elbow

 


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