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B.C. wasting millions on failed aboriginal programs: report

11/06/2013 03:09 EST | Updated 01/23/2014 10:53 EST
B.C.'s Representative for Children and Youth is blasting the provincial government for wasting tens of millions of dollars on failed initiatives to help aboriginal youth.

In a report released Wednesday, Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond details how the Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD) spent $66 million over the past dozen years on measures that don't appear to have made any difference in the lives of those they're designed to help.

“MCFD has supported these big, blue-sky initiatives which were neither clearly articulated nor properly scrutinized," said Turpel-Lafond in a statement.

"The ministry has been overly focused on transferring the responsibility to provide services instead of ensuring aboriginal children and youth are getting the help they desperately need.”

While millions have been spent on these initiatives, Turpel-Lafond says B.C. still lacks a system of therapeutic residential care, a comprehensive provincewide response to domestic violence, and an effective child and youth mental health system.

The report recommends, among other things, that MCFD focus on developing a cross-ministry plan to close the outcome gaps for aboriginal children and youth in B.C.

It also recommends that MCFD "review its senior leadership structure to ensure that the level of aboriginal representation on the ministry leadership team and in its decision-making process reflects the over-representation of aboriginal children in the child welfare system."

The government is expected to respond to the report later on Wednesday.

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