September is an exciting time for kids (and certainly for parents too!). New schools and new friends, all supported by tremendous teachers and staff. As kids head back to school please be careful driving around schools; those kids are excited to get back to school and may not always be paying as much attention as they should.
As fall sets in I’m moving on from a busy summer of community activities and shifting my focus to activities in the Alberta Legislature. I was appointed to the all-party Ministerial Panel on Child Intervention early this year to look at ways to improve Alberta’s child intervention system. In the initial phase, the panel heard from stakeholders across from Alberta and engaged in an open and collaborative conversation about how to strengthen Alberta’s child death review process. The panel provided detailed recommendations to streamline and strengthen the child death review process, which led to the passage of Bill 18 Child Protection and Accountability Act last spring.
In Phase 2, the Panel is reviewing legislation, policies, current practices, literature, relevant data, and past recommendations, including those from the Office of the Child and Youth Advocate and the Auditor General. It is also soliciting feedback from the public, subject matter experts, Indigenous communities, Albertans with lived experience and frontline staff (the comment period is still open; you can make a submission via email at CIPanel.email@example.com).
Our next step is to visit reserves across the province to hear from Indigenous people in their own communities about the vast over-representation of Indigenous children in Alberta’s child intervention system. Currently, 69% of the over 10,000 children receiving services in Alberta are Indigenous.
Upon completion of our work the panel will submit recommendations addressing:
- The root causes and factors that contribute to child and family involvement in the child intervention system
- Current funding and resource levels for the child intervention system as well as an assessment of workplace culture and staff morale
- Existing supports for families, including supports for kinship caregivers, foster parents, and families at-risk of needing child intervention services
- Opportunities and concrete actions to improve the child intervention system, address over-representation of Indigenous children in intervention system and improve outcomes for all children receiving child intervention services
- Identifying recommendations of past studies, prioritizing them and discussing implementation timelines and oversight
Whenever possible panel meetings are open to the public. A complete list of all upcoming meetings will be posted on the panel’s website as soon as dates, times and locations are confirmed. Details can be found at https://www.alberta.ca/child-intervention-panel.aspx. Again, if you have questions or comments you wish to share with the panel you can submit your thoughts via email to CIPanel.firstname.lastname@example.org.
And as always, I am very interested in hearing from you on this or any other issue. My constituency office can be reached at Calgary.Elbow@assembly.ab.ca or (403) 252-0346.