Privatized group home experiment not working in Botwood
The NDP critic for Child, Youth & Family Services says government must own up to its mistakes in privatizing care for vulnerable youth. MHA Gerry Rogers (St. John’s Centre) says government has to look no further than the town of Botwood, where after six months of BlueSky operation, the town decided last fall not to renew its permit to operate.
BlueSky has had trouble finding somewhere else that will allow the company to operate, so the town gave several extensions. Recently, though, the town issued an ultimatum.
“The mayor of Botwood has had enough. After numerous incidents with government’s secretive privatized emergency placement group home the mayor has told them to leave town,” Rogers said in the House of Assembly today.
“I ask the Premier, the privatized care of our most vulnerable people was created under your watch. What’s going on?”
Rogers points out that the sort of incidents experienced in Botwood and elsewhere that Blue Sky operates were simply not a factor before the service was privatized.
“For decades the province’s group homes operated quietly in rural communities run by non-profit boards who hired highly trained public employees. The premier’s privatization plan is failing,” she said.
She says the Premier should implement an investigation into the operation of BlueSky homes, particularly in the area of staff qualifications and training, or face the possibility of having his political legacy be the death of professional services by an ill-thought-out privatization scheme.