The cost of implementing 62 recommendations made by the inquiry into Phoenix Sinclair to improve the child and family services system is still a mystery for many, however recent developments indicate that it is a major investment. The province has reportedly spent more than $14 million on the inquiry into how CFS failed the little girl, who was allegedly released into the care of a mother and stepfather who beat and murdered her. Additionally, it also claims to have pledged almost $350,000 for an implementation team that will analyze feasibility of half of the inquiry report’s recommendations.
According to Family Services Minister, Kerri Irvin-Ross, Budget 2014 will be a source to fund some of the changes like the first phase of replacing the current CFS information management system. Whereas, majority of the individual measures recommended do not have a cost estimate. However, Irvin-Ross assured that the province will not shy away from needed changes due to cost alone. She mentioned that “we need to ensure that vulnerable children do not fall through the cracks just because their families have moved to another jurisdiction.”
Commissioner Ted Hughes made several potentially expensive recommendations which included extending care to age 25 for youth still in the system at age 18 and a reduction of caseloads to 20 children per social worker. Commenting on that, Irvin-Ross alleged that the province has already supplemented 280 workers to the system since 2006, and the province will look into reducing caseloads to between a 1:20 and 1:25 level. Hence, she concluded that Hughes’ standard is “achievable.”
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