Child welfare review looks to protect kids

A government review panel will be studying ways to strengthen Alberta’s child welfare system to address growing trends like youth homelessness and addictions.

A government review panel will be studying ways to strengthen Alberta’s child welfare system to address growing trends like youth homelessness and addictions.

Alberta Children and Youth Services, which provides protective services like foster care or group homes and programs to help keep families together, established the panel to make recommendations by spring 2010.

The provincial department has been under fire this year after four teens in government care were charged in relation to homicides, one baby died in foster care and another was severely injured.

“Government is not only exploring the nature specifically of those tragedies, but further to look at our system from the perspective of things we can do to mitigate the risk to youth and to the public at large,” said Red Deer South MLA Cal Dallas.

Dallas was named to the panel to ensure the panel works in conjunction with other government initiatives that support vulnerable children and youth.

The panel will also examine areas where Alberta legislation, policy and practice excel, said Dallas, who sponsored an amendment to the Child, Youth and Family Enhancement Act.

McGill University social work chair Nico Trocmé and Child Welfare League of Canada executive director Peter Dudding will co-chair the panel and will be naming more panel members.

Public input will also be sought.

The scope of the review will include:

l Checks and balances in the system to ensure accountability and transparency.

l How the system is responding to trends and demands for service.

l If the system is aligned with leading practices.

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