VICTORIA (June 13, 2018) – Following a damning report from the Representative for Children and Youth, the BC NDP must immediately reverse its decision to halt a planned study to examine the problem of vanishing foster parents.
“With the number of foster parents plummeting in British Columbia, it is vital we understand what is happening and how we can reverse the trend,” says Chilliwack-Kent MLA Laurie Throness, the BC Liberal critic for the Ministry of Children and Family Development. “The report issued yesterday shows a desperate need for foster parents, who provide the best care for children in the care of government. Without them, government must turn to contracted care which is five times more expensive and worse for kids.”
Before Christmas, MLAs had voted to proceed with the eight-week study. The agenda was fully developed and the Committee was ready to begin its work when NDP MLA Rick Glumac, with the support of Green MLA Sonia Furstenau, tabled a motion last month to defer the study and consider other unnamed topics. After developing the study agenda, Committee chair Nicholas Simons broke the tie vote by siding with the NDP, contrary to the customary practice of the Chair to vote for the status quo.
“Opposition members were astonished that the Greens and NDP would sabotage the study in the midst of a crisis in foster care,’ says Parksville-Qualicum MLA Michelle Stilwell, deputy chair of the committee. “It is clear children in care need more than words. The BC NDP can start by allowing the committee to do the study and see what solutions are available. This shouldn’t be a partisan issue as we need to work together to help those who are most in need.”
Last year alone, the number of foster parents fell by 22 per cent.