B.C. children adoption rates lagging, despite increased funding: watchdog

More than 1,000 children are still waiting to be adopted, new report shows

Despite an increase in funding last year, B.C.’s Representative for Children and Youth (RCY) says the Ministry of Children and Family Development is lagging far behind its annual goal for adoption placements of children and youth.

From March to September of 2017, 84 children and youth were placed in their permanent homes, children’s watchdog Bernard Richard detailed in its newest report Wednesday.

According to the fourth follow-up report since the RCY’s first report in 2014, more than 1,000 children are still waiting to be adopted, the report shows.

At the current pace, adoption placements for 2017/18 year are at risk of falling well short of the 362 children placed for adoption last year.

“Three years ago, an RCY report noted that there were more than 1,000 B.C. children and youth in care waiting to be adopted,” Richard said. “This remains the case today and it’s simply not good enough when we’re talking about young peoples’ lives.”

The report also notes a particularly significant drop-off when it comes to the adoption of Indigenous children in the province, who make up 64 per cent of those in care.

As of Sept. 30, only 16 Aboriginal children have been placed for adoption, compared to 40 by the same time last year, and 55 in 2015.

Of those 16 children who were placed for adoption, four were placed in Aboriginal homes, the report shows.

READ MORE: Provincial government campaigns to help kids waiting for adoption

READ MORE: Adoption Awareness Month: When a mother and child meet

“This is of particular concern to the representative as it is contrary to existing policy and standards that call for placement of Indigenous children and youth in Indigenous homes,” Richard said.

Last year, the province announced a special emphasis on creating “custom adoption plans” for Aboriginal children and youth, that included culturally appropriate considerations.

‘Complex placement needs’ a barrier for adoption: ministry

The declining numbers come despite increases to the ministry’s budget for adoptions and permanency, Richard said.

The ministry committed $31.2 million to adoption and permanency planning in 2017/18, an increase of more than $1 million from the year prior.

In a statement Wednesday, MCFD Minister Katrine Conroy cited the “complex placement needs” of some children and youth have hindered finding the right family and home.

“I’ve spoken with our provincial director of child welfare about this and we agree that pursuing adoption, and other forms of permanency, is a key commitment for this ministry,” Conroy said.

She also re-committed the province to fully adopting Grand Chief Ed John’s recommendations on child welfare, as stated in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Those recommendations include calling on the province to register Indigenous custom adoptions and ensure that all custom adoptions are eligible for post-adoption services and pay rates similar to other adoptions.

The report did highlight a silver lining: an increase in the number of families approved to adopt.

Between March and September, 179 adoptive families were given the green light to pursue adoption.

“We’d love to see a more aggressive campaign of recruitment for potential adoptive families. The ministry does say that children waiting may be more complicated to adopt because they may have special needs,” Richard said.


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

One injured in South Surrey shooting

Shots reported in area of 194 Street and 34 Avenue

Surrey wrestler Jason Bains receives four-year suspension for using banned substance

Queen Elizabeth Secondary grad tests positive for steroid Turinabol, silver national medal removed

What happens when someone tests positive for COVID-19 at a Surrey school?

Surrey Schools Superintendent explains step-by-step process for notifying the community

COVID-19 exposures reported at four more Surrey schools

Fraser Health has created a new webpage listing COVID-19 cases in schools

UPDATED: COVID-19 outbreak declared at Peace Arch Hospital

Provincial health officer says outbreak is in the facility’s rehab unit

Record-breaking 165 new COVID-19 cases diagnosed in B.C. in 24-hour period

Fifty-seven people are in hospital battling the novel coronavirus

Report raises questions about COVID outbreak that killed 25 seniors at Langley Lodge

CEO defends leaked document that’s igniting queries about BC’s most deadly COVID outbreak

PHOTO: RCMP escort beaver across busy Chilliwack road

Motorists had to exercise patience as the slow-moving creature crossed several lanes of traffic

B.C.’s COVID-19 economic recovery plan: Top 5 things you need to know

Jobs training, tax incentives for employers to hire staff and more

March to protect old growth, stop industrial logging coming to B.C. Legislature

Organizers say they want to give frontline communities a bigger say in nearby logging

B.C. releases details of $1.5B economic recovery plan, $660M in business tax incentives

Economic plan includes support for employers, as well as training for workers

‘Not criminally responsible’ hearing slated for man convicted of Abbotsford school stabbing

Gabriel Klein was found guilty in March of killing Letisha Reimer, 13, in 2016

Most Read