Child Protection Act Review
The function of the Child Protection Act is to protect children from parental harm due to abuse and neglect within the context of the provisions of the Act.
A review of the Child Protection Act is required every five years in accordance with regulations in the Act.
- In November 2015, the Minister of Family and Human Services appointed a 15-member advisory committee to carry out the review with Patsy MacLean as chair.
- The review was focused on engaging Islanders on how we can strengthen our shared responsibility to protect children.
- The committee conducted 34 consultations across the province and gathered input from more than 350 Islanders.
- A variety of options were available to provide input such as public, partner, and private consultations, written and online submissions, and private meetings.
- The committee heard from a broad range of Islanders including police officers, teachers, school counsellors, doctors, nurses, lawyers, judges, social workers, faith community leaders, children in care, youth, Aboriginal community members and service providers, foster parents, grandparents, early childhood educators, youth workers and newcomers.
Results of the Review
Committee members heard that the safety of children is a responsibility shared by parents, families, communities and government. A comprehensive, integrated approach involving all partners is critical in protecting children.
- Our current child protection and justice systems do great work to support and protect children from harm and many enhancements have been implemented in recent years. We must all do more to keep our children safe.
- In order to address the root causes of parental harm and neglect of children, Islanders must view the protection of children and the promotion of healthy child and family development as everyone’s responsibility.
- Sixty-six recommendations were developed based on what Islanders had to say about protecting children in Prince Edward Island. The recommendations fall into the two broad categories of service delivery and public policy.
Government is committed to this report and we will act on the recommendations beginning with six priority areas to improve accountability and further enhance front-line service delivery. The six priority areas are:
- Strengthen the voices of children to include:
- Public education on the rights of children
- Third-party independent case reviews for a quality improvement process
- Improved policy and systems oversight
- Take steps to help support grandparents as primary caregivers. Government will give careful consideration to best approach and take action, including the introduction of a pilot project.
- Explore ways to improve data collection, analysis and reporting related to outcomes for children.
- Address legislative changes required to protect the best interest of the child. Government will review best practices and evidence related to proposed amendments.
- Explore adopting Structured Decision Making (SMD) which is a suite of evidence-based assessment tools to help child protection social workers during investigations and when providing child protection services.
- Develop a social policy framework overseen by Prince Edward Island’s Social Policy Deputy Minister’s Committee to improve accountability, guide decision making and enable a focus on integrated collaboration across government and with parents, families and community partners. The committee will include the deputy ministers from the departments of Family and Human Services. Health and Wellness, Justice and Public Safety, Education, Early Learning and Culture, Workforce and Advanced Learning, and Executive Council.