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Time for Action Rallies - All details

Rally calls for Minister to act now and save at-risk children

Workers say Ministry of Children and Family Services is failing

May 04, 2024

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EDMONTON—Vulnerable children in Alberta are at risk because they aren’t getting the help they need when they need it, says the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees (AUPE).  

Members of the union staged a rally outside the constituency office of Minister for Children and Family Services Searle Turton in Spruce Grove today (Sat., May 4). The workers demanded Turton take action to tackle a crisis of care in his ministry. 

“Workloads for case managers are so high that they are unable to provide timely assessments on the safety of children for whom they are caring,” says AUPE Vice-President Sandra Azocar. “Every delay in assessing risk puts kids in danger.”  

Meanwhile, youths in needs of residential care in northern Alberta have nowhere in the region to get treatment.  

The Campus Based Treatment Centre in High Prairie has been closed since a fire in Nov. 2023. The government has told AUPE that it will remain closed for the foreseeable future. A similar facility in Lac La Biche will not open until June.  

“Youths in these communities are being sent hundreds of kilometres away, isolating them from their families and support systems. These are young people who no other agency will accept and who are at risk of absconding when they are so far from home,” says Azocar.  

“Without proper help, they are likely to end up living on the streets, where they will be exposed to toxic drugs and criminal drug dealers.”  

Alberta’s Child and Youth Advocate released a report last month that revealed 47 children had died in the previous year, mostly due to toxic drugs.  

“That figure is going to grow unless we see action from the minister,” says Azocar. “We need a commitment now to reopen the High Prairie treatment centre for youths and we need more staff being hired now to tackle the dangerous backlog in assessments.”  

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Sandra Azocar is available for interviews.  

Please contact Alexander Delorme, AUPE Communications Officer, at a.delorme@aupe.org or 780-264-9274 

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