Thousands of children still wait for youth protection help as waiting lists whittled down

YOUTH PROTECTION

A big push to whittle down the waiting list for Youth Protection services is having some effect - still, La Presse reports that several thousand children are awaiting an evaluation. 

But at least one agency is seeing positive results.

A blitz and an injection of funds by the social services ministry enabled youth protection services to reduce the waiting lists somewhat.

La Presse said that in some regions, the waiting list ballooned, going from 3000 to 3800 names.  Social worker burn-out and recruiting difficulties were blamed.  

Batshaw Youth and Family Services was able to hire 10 more staff and more social workers with the extra money.

"We hired them in mid-July and they've started taking cases off the waiting list," said director of youth protection Linda See.

"We're actually seeing a decrease in the waiting list."

See said their waiting has gone down by about half, from 433 kids in May to 216 last month.

Besides the additional funding, See credits working on the wait lists starting late last year and different initiatives such as hiring extra staff and prioritizing certain files.

"Working with our community partners where we would co-intervene at the very beginning and for those cases that we didn't need to be under youth protection, we could close quicker in evaluation so they could receive services in the community," See told CJAD 800.

There are concerns that the improvements will vanish in time as the money is spent and more cases are added.

"I'm convinced with what we have now and possibly if we can get more in the future that we're going to be able to address the concern," said See.