Amendments to child protection legislation announced

The province says it has introduced amendments to the Family Services Act to allow the development of a new Children's Services and Resources Regulation.

In a press release, the Department of Social Development says the amendments will provide a framework to support several new services and resources, as well as improvements to existing services and resources for children and their families.

Social Development Minister Dorothy Shephard says, "[these changes] will allow for the creation of new regulations to better protect our children and ensure they receive the support and services they require."

According to the press release, the amendments include:
- a kinship care as an alternative to foster care;
- the transfer of guardianship as an alternative to adoption; and
- treatment centres as a new resource available to children;

The amendments also clarify that the total time a child under age 12 can be under the care of the Minister cannot exceed 24 cumulative months in a five-year period.

The province says the changes follow two reports into New Brunswick's child welfare system, which, together, contained more than 100 recommendations for improvements.