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Persons with disabilities

The legal context: Assessing the child welfare legislation from a rights-based framework


Recommendation 2: States should allocate adequate resources to address risk factors and prevent violence before it occurs. Policies and programmes should address immediate risk factors, such as a lack of parent-child attachment, family breakdown, abuse of alcohol or drugs, and access to rearms. In line with the Millennium Development Goals, attention should be focused on economic and social policies that address poverty, gender and other forms of inequality, income gaps, unemployment, urban overcrowding, and other factors which undermine society

Recommendations for legislative reform

Recommendation 7: MCFD should amend the CFCSA to reflect the right of the child to not be separated from their family by reason only of their parent or guardian:

  1. lacking the same or similar economic and social advantages as others in BC society;
  2. engaging is substance use or coping with addiction when a parent is actively pursuing or participating in addiction services; or
  3. having a disability.

Recommendations for legislative reform

Recommendation 9: MCFD should review the legislation to assess how the legislation could support a more accountable and robust legal framework for prevention-based supports including by:

  1. Adding a comprehensive list of functions for MCFD at the beginning of the legislation which includes:
    1. working with community and social services to alleviate and remedy the socio-economic conditions that place families at risk;
    2. developing and providing services and supports before and after intervention;
    3. proactively identifying groups of children the recognition and realization of whose rights may require MCFD to undertake special measures and develop special programming
  2. Replace the reference of prevention services in section 2(c) of the CFCSA, with a legislative provision that places a binding and measurable obligation on the Ministry to provide supports to keep families together who are at risk of having their children apprehended. The provision should place a positive obligation on the Ministry to take active efforts to provide remedial services and rehabilitative programs designed to prevent the breakup of the child’s family. The courts must then be satisfied that these active efforts proved unsuccessful in keeping the family together.
  3. Expand the list of supports under section 5 to include:
    1. improving the family’s financial situation;
    2. improving the family’s housing situation;
    3. improving parenting skills;
    4. improving child-care and child-rearing capabilities;
    5. improving homemaking skills;
    6. drug or alcohol treatment and rehabilitation;
    7. providing child care;
    8. mediation of disputes;
    9. self-help and empowerment of parents whose children have been, are or may be in need of protective services; and,
    10. transition supports for families who have just had a child apprehended or returned.

Recommendations for improving financial supports

Recommendation 12: The provincial government must immediately raise welfare and disability rates to the Market Basket Measure (MBM), index them to the cost of living, and remove arbitrary barriers.

Recommendations for improving financial supports

Recommendation 13: In the meantime, the BC government and MCFD should bridge the gap between the current welfare and disability rates and the MBM for all families that are at risk of having children apprehended by MCFD.

Recommendations for improving financial supports

Recommendation 14: The BC government should amend legislation to ensure that there is no reduction of benefits for families when a child is temporarily taken into care so that income supports and housing can be maintained while parents are working to bring their children home.

Recommendations for improving financial supports

Recommendation 15: MCFD should develop a policy for supporting each family with whom it comes into contact to secure all the available provincial and federal benets. This may require training social workers to understand social assistance frameworks or creating a position within MCFD for a social assistance support worker that can help families secure all the benefits to which they are entitled.

Recommendations for improving financial supports

Recommendation 16: MCFD should develop a plain-language fact sheet for kinship caregivers that sets out the pathways available to them under the CFCSA and FLA. Social workers must be required to provide this information sheet to all caregivers that could qualify for the EFP.

Recommendations for improving financial supports

Recommendation 17: MCFD must advocate with the provincial government for the creation of a universal kinship caregiver benefit that is provided to all families in kinship care. This should apply to all children living in kinship care including families in which kinship caregivers have been granted guardianship orders under the FLA.

A pathway forward


Recommendation 18: BC government and MCFD to ensure that children are provided with services while the family navigates the process and develop a consistent mechanism for repaying costs for services provided in the interim

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