Message from the Minister and
I am pleased to present the Annual Service Plan Report for the Ministry of Children and Family Development reporting on progress and achievements for 2005/06.
I am honoured to continue serving as the Minister for Children and Family Development. It is a privilege to work with ministry staff and our service providers each day. Over the past year I have met with frontline workers and foster parents throughout British Columbia and it is from them that I have learned the most. Through listening to what they have to say, I am kept in touch with what is happening in communities throughout the province. I intend to spend even more time this coming year continuing these face-to-face meetings.
I believe in the principle of continual improvement. That is why I called for two independent reviews on different aspects of the ministry. Both these reviews, and other self-initiated reviews, provided many excellent recommendations to assist us in our approach to continual improvement. Rather than telling us to stop, turn around and go back, the recommendations suggest we continue on our path while building upon the strengths we have already established. The recommendations provide answers to questions we had on where we should focus our attention in our quest to build the best system of support for our children, youth and families.
During 2005/06, the ministry continued to improve child and family service delivery to better support children and their families. We are identifying those at risk and offering support services at a time when families need it most. These supports include enhanced approaches to ensure health, safety and well-being through community-based, integrated, comprehensive and accessible services that focus on:
- Preventative, early intervention and evidence-based research.
- Family and community-based alternatives to care.
- Mechanisms to increase family and community participation in planning for children in care of the ministry that promote family continuity, permanency, and life-long attachments.
Children are the heart of all communities. When the Transformative Change Accord was signed last year, it was based on a number of principles, the most important of which are mutual respect and responsibility. We are continuing to work with our partners to keep children in their Aboriginal homes and communities. In 2005/06, Aboriginal planning processes were initiated in all regions through five Regional Aboriginal Planning Committees, as together, we move towards Aboriginal regional governance.
The Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD) is a key partner in government's Five Great Goals for a Golden Decade. The ministry supports the Five Great Goals through:
- Working in partnership with the Ministry of Education and providing materials to be included in Ready, Set, Learn kits, and promoted involvement in Ready, Set, Learn to strengthen linkages between and among early learning, child care, and early childhood development initiatives to improve readiness to learn when entering school. This will help us realize Great Goal 1: "Make British Columbia the best-educated, most literate jurisdiction on the continent."
- MCFD initiatives in child care centres and programs aimed at vulnerable children, as well as collaborative efforts with the Ministry of Health's ActNow! BC initiative, contribute to Great Goal 2: "Lead the way in North America in healthy living and physical fitness."
- Implementation of Phase I of Canada's first Child and Youth Mental Health Plan. This plan will be instrumental in achieving Great Goal 3: "Build the best system of support in Canada for persons with disabilities, those with special needs, children at risk and seniors."
Highlights and activities in 2005/06 included:
- New investments that benefited children and youth with special needs and their families by increasing access to therapies, infant development, respite and supported child development programs.
- Transferred responsibility for adult Community Living Services from the ministry to Community Living British Columbia (CLBC) on July 1, 2005. B.C. now has a community based service delivery system that promotes choice, innovation and shared responsibility.
- Continued implementation of the comprehensive strategy developed by the Premier's Task Force on Homelessness, to tackle homelessness, mental illness and addictions. MCFD is strengthening the services provided to homeless youth who are vulnerable to drug abuse, sexual exploitation and criminal activities by investing an additional $2 million for supports to sexually exploited youth. Examples of services include outreach; one-to-one support workers; counseling; family mediation; assistance with basic needs like food and clothing; and, repatriation to family.
The ministry continued to roll out the Child and Youth Mental Health Plan to better serve the almost 140,000 children and youth in B.C. with mental illness disorders. B.C.'s Child and Youth Mental Health Plan is the first of its kind in Canada, and other provinces are interested in following our lead.
The ministry met or substantially met its performance measure targets for 2005/06 that support the objectives of the ministry, except for where there was either no target or baseline set.
The 2005/06 Ministry of Children and Family Development Annual Service Plan Report compares the actual results to the expected results identified in the ministry's 2005/06 – 2007/08 Service Plan Update September 2005. I am accountable for those results as reported.
Honourable Stanley B. Hagen
Minister of Children and Family Development
June 30, 2006