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Thursday, September 29, 2016

September 29, 2016

 

For Immediate Release

 

Liberals Fail to Follow Through for Vulnerable Children

 

Tracey Perry, Official Opposition for Child, Youth and Family Services, said, “The Advocate for Children and Youth has faulted the Ball Liberals for failing to follow through with changes they promised to protect vulnerable children in our province.”

 

“Carol Chafe has stated that the Liberals have done “literally nothing” about legislation for reporting child deaths and serious incidents. It is stunning considering our administration had work plans in place, deputy minister and working groups established and the amendment was given notice in the House of Assembly in Spring 2015 for the Child and Youth Advocate Act,” said Perry.

 

“Minister Gambin-Walsh instead of identifying progress the Liberals have made, named initiatives that were in place when they formed government. Instead of doing more to focus on the needs of vulnerable children, the Ball Liberals have merged children’s and seniors’ services into one department, watering down the focus on children and leaving the department in disarray at a time when a clear focus is needed,” said Perry.

 

Premier Ball announced on August 17 that a new Department of Children, Seniors and Social Development will combine the responsibilities of the former departments of Child, Youth and Family Services, and Seniors, Wellness and Social Development.

 

“The previous administration undertook a fundamental restructuring to establish the Department of Child, Youth and Family Services in order to focus more attention on the needs of vulnerable children in light of recommendations we were given. That work took time, but it was beginning to bear fruit. The last thing that department needed was to be thrown into disarray at a time when a clear focus is needed,” said Perry. “The Minister is making excuses for not acting because she’s having to spend so much time dealing with more restructuring.”

 

The Advocate for Children and Youth quoted the mandate letter the Minister was given a year ago “to work with your colleagues and the Child Youth Advocate to develop legislation for the House of Assembly that will make it mandatory to report deaths and critical incidents to the advocate.”

 

The Advocate also quoted the Ball Liberals’ 2016 Throne Speech, which recognized "the importance of doing everything we can to protect children and youth and will be moving forward with this initiative."

 

Perry said, “The Ball Liberals need to pay attention and act on the words that the Advocate for Children and Youth used in her statement – that ‘we can and must do better. We can no longer accept that ‘change takes time’; action must be taken immediately to make that ‘change now.’ We must ensure that not one more child or youth suffers because their right to services is not upheld.’”

 

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Media Contact: Heather MacLean, Director of Communications, Office of the Official Opposition

 

(709) 729 6105, heathermaclean@gov.nl.ca

 

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