By Sarah Klein
The Manitoba government will directly oversee contract workers tasked with providing care to children in temporary housing shelters.
“Our goal is to eliminate the need to use hotels as emergency shelters for children as quickly as possible,” said Family Services Minister Kerri Irvin-Ross. “We are strengthening our network of foster homes and we are creating new shelters.”
The announcement Thursday comes after the province previously said it would reduce its reliance on the use of hotels for providing such care.
The government initiated a review of the system as requested by the minister and carried out by Agency Accountability and Support Unit (AASU) of Manitoba Family Services.
The review recommends the Manitoba government continue to reduce its reliance on contract workers, but implement the following changes:
- Create 71 new emergency foster home spaces
- Open a secure residential care unit to work with girls ages 12 to 17 who have complex needs
- Increase capacity to do multi-disciplinary clinical assessments of children with behavioural challenges
- Reduce reliance on contract workers by hiring 210 highly trained, permanent child-care workers over two years
- Increase emergency resources in rural areas to care for children closer to their homes
The province is in the process of hiring 50 new youth care workers plus six co-ordinators and expects to implement the majority of the changes by spring of 2015.