Submission to Attorney General and Ministry of Children and Family Development (BC): Child Protection

  • October 13, 2021

CBABC’s Family Law Working Group has prepared this submission which contains recommendations to modernize the child protection system in BC. Legislative and policy reform is long overdue, and change is needed to protect the most vulnerable in our society. This submission highlights the most critical issues and establishes a plan designed to minimize harm to children who are part of this system.

The submission contains 32 specific recommendations based on the experience of members who work with children in the BC child protection system and who have identified the need for substantial reform.  This submission supplements a previous submission made by CBABC to BCLI in its earlier review of the Child, Family and Community Service Act (“CFCSA”) in the spring of 2021.

After the Residential Schools, the child protection system is often referred to as the primary ongoing means by which Indigenous children are taken from their families as part of a continued genocide against Indigenous people in BC and Canada. More needs to be done to address the over-representation of Indigenous children in the child welfare system. CBABC also advocates to ensure that children and families have the ability to secure independent legal advice without experiencing lengthy delays and separation from each other. There needs to be an independent oversight mechanism with respect to decisions of MCFD social workers. Explicit protections against conversion therapy practices should be implemented to protect LGBT2SQNBIA+ children from harm. Lastly, having adequate funding in place to ensure proper resources are available to families in crisis is critical for the well-being of children.

The Family Law Working Group of CBABC participated in the BCLI call for consultation in December and January of 2021. That submission had a focus on the legislative updates needed in the CFCSA to protect children and their families. Following the release of the BCLI report, it became apparent that the scope of the analysis needed to be expanded in light of the recent recovery of children in unmarked graves at former sites of residential schools. The Working Group developed this second submission, aimed at providing policy recommendations to the Government, in addition to the legislative updates previously outlined.

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Tagged Sections: Children's Law, Family Law - Fraser Valley, Family Law - Kamloops and 5 more..., Family Law - Okanagan, Family Law - Vancouver, Family Law - Westminster, Sexual Orientation & Gender Identity, Family Law - Victoria Island