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Health and Social Services Minister vows to clean up Child and Family Services

Yellowknife, NWT – The Health and Social Services Minister wants residents of the Northwest Territories to be assured he is addressing long-standing problems within the Child and Family Services Department.

Glen Abernethy has met with his deputy minister Debbie Delancey to hear about the grilling she took from MLA’s last week.

They wanted to know why, after 16 years of warnings, problems within the department hadn’t been fixed.

Abernethy says he too thinks changes should’ve already been made.

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“I’m frustrated that we haven’t made more progress on this. This was an area that was clearly identified in the 16th Assembly. I acknowledge that some work was being done but it wasn’t work that resulted in something that people can see. There was a lot of internal work done around policies and procedures but nothing rolled out so it’s frustrating.”

Abernethy says a new guide book will help front line workers.

“Right now there are some revisions to the Child and Family Services standards and procedures manuals that are well underway and I expect to have that manual out and available in June. This is important because the Auditor General talked about some inconsistencies in application and a lack of reporting which will hopefully be addressed through appropriate training.”

Abernethy says a change in culture in the department is also needed.

He says child protection workers need to find better, more productive ways of being able to help families so kids won’t have to be taken from them.

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