News Release Article from  Office of the Auditor General of Canada

Follow-up Report on Child and Family Services in Nunavut-Department of Family Services

Serious gaps remain in providing services to safeguard children and families

This News Release is also available in Inuktitut (PDF 127 KB)

Iqaluit, 18 March 2014—Overall, the Department of Family Services has made unsatisfactory progress against the commitments the government made in response to the 2011 Auditor General’s Report on Children, Youth and Family Programs and Services in Nunavut, says Michael Ferguson, the Auditor General of Canada, in his report delivered to the Speaker of the Nunavut Legislative Assembly today.

“The Department of Family Services has a key role to play in ensuring that children are protected from violence, neglect, and other forms of abuse,” said Mr. Ferguson. “I’m concerned that the Department of Family Services has not made more progress to address the recommendations we made in our 2011 report.”

The audit found that the Department has progressed in some areas. For example, it has been working to address staff shortages, and it has hired more community social workers and supervisors. It has also developed and put in place a mandatory training program to ensure that all community social service workers understand their responsibilities and the standards that govern their work. The Department needs to continue its efforts in this area, as ensuring ongoing capacity remains a challenge.

However, serious gaps remain in ensuring compliance with child protection standards, maintaining basic information about children in care, and engaging Nunavummiut in the development of strategies to keep children and youth safe. For example, about 50 percent of criminal background checks and home studies are not completed before placing children in foster homes. The Department is also not consistently collecting the basic information it requires to adequately plan for the needs of the children in its care.

“I am concerned that children are not getting the level of protection and care set out in the Child and Family Services Act,” said Mr. Ferguson. “Addressing these recommendations will require sustained effort and attention by the Department of Family Services, and collaboration with other departments.”

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The Follow-up Report on Child and Family Services in Nunavut is available on the Office of the Auditor General of Canada website.

For more information, please click here.

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