Tuesday, May 26, 2015

North Coast MLA raises Paige's story and issues of youth in Ministry care during Question Period

When we last left the Legislature prior to their week long break of last week, the MLA's had been left with a scathing report to review.

A 76 page examination of the issues related to care of youth who have transitioned out of the care of the Ministry of Child and Family Development.

The main focus of the review was a look at the life of one young woman in Vancouver's downtown east side, who had clearly been failed by the system designed to protect her.

The report (which we explored earlier his month) was prepared by the office of the Representative for Children and Youth, called Paige's Story: Abuse, Indifference and Young Life Discarded. 

With Monday the first session back for the Legislature since the report's release, the topic of Paige's Story made for much of the discussion for the day in Victoria.

North Coast MLA Jennifer Rice, was among those from the NDP who had a number of questions for Minister Stephanie Cadieux during Monday's afternoon question period.

"In February of 2013 the Minister of Children and Families pledged that she would "strengthen safe living options and life skills education for youth in care who are transitioning into adulthood." 

A month later Paige was forced out of her foster care at age 19. She died soon after. My question is to the Minister of Children and Families. How could this government have failed Paige so badly?

Less than a year after Paige died, the current minister was asked about providing extended supports to children after age 19. She responded by saying the government provides sufficient services for youth who have aged out of care. Having read about Paige's life and death, does the minister still believe that's true?"

Minister Cadieux spoke to the concerns related to the work of the Ministry, outlining a number of initiatives that the Ministry has engaged in to try to address the issue, noting how the government continues to look to form partnerships with community groups to address the challenges that the shift from Ministry care to life on their own can provide.

The full discussion on the issue can be reviewed from the Legislature record starting at the 1400 mark.

You can review Ms. Rice's question period session related to the topic of the report below:

A thorough review of the case was also provided by the weekly Shaw Cable public affairs program Voice of British Columbia.

During the course of the May 21st program, host Vaughn Palmer discussed the issue with Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond and explored other concerns related to the work of the Ministry of Child and Family services.

Update: Ms. Rice returned to the topic once again during Tuesday's session of the Legislature, her comments and questions for the Premier and Minister can be reviewed here.

For more background on the work of the North Coast MLA at the Legislature and other items of a provincial nature  can be found on our archive page here.

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