BC United slams NDP on failure to address critical gaps in support for children and youth

THE BC United Caucus on Wednesday called out the NDP for their failure to protect vulnerable children and youth, as a recent report revealed that a mere 14 per cent of 63 recommendations made by B.C.’s Representative for Children and Youth (RCY) have been implemented by this government since 2017.

The report, Advocating for Change: Five Years in Review, concluded that “the government’s own self-assessment of progress represents a failing grade” and based on the current pace of implementation, “children impacted by inadequate, inaccessible or inconsistent services today will not see the impact of this important work during their childhood.”

“The NDP government has left countless vulnerable young lives at risk by ignoring urgent recommendations over the past five years,” said Norm Letnick, BC United Critic for Children and Family Development. “The Premier and his government must be held accountable for their woefully inadequate response and must take immediate action to ensure the needs of children and youth are addressed.”

The report cited silos, missing data, and lack of meaningful engagement as contributing factors to the failure to implement recommendations. According to the report, “the outcome of this inaction is seen daily in the injuries, deaths and individual advocacy issues reported to [the Representative].” Recurrent patterns of systemic discrimination, rights violations, and inaccessible and uncoordinated care have further added to the grim situation.

“This is a devastating reality that contradicts the repeated promises made by the Premier and his party when they were in Opposition, and they must explain their failure to protect vulnerable children in our province,” added Mike Bernier, Deputy Chair of the Select Standing Committee on Children and Youth. “As a direct result of the NDP’s glaring inaction, too many children have suffered critical injuries and death. The government must address this implementation gap, especially in areas such as mental health and substance use, as their excuses for delays have been dismissed by the Representative.”

According to RCY’s Annual Report 2021/22 and Review of the Representative for Children and Youth Act, there were 528 deaths and 7,362 critical injuries of children known to or in the care of the government, a 191 per cent increase since 2017.