Group home crisis comes to House of Assembly
For weeks, NDP Child, Youth and Family Services Critic Gerry Rogers (MHA, St. John’s Centre) has been drawing attention to the looming crisis in three group homes in the province. The homes are being transferred to a private operator; Rogers says there was not enough time allotted, that there has not been adequate communication with the youth who are affected, and that the highly qualified people who have worked with the youth will be replaced by lower-waged, less-experienced employees.
Six of the group home workers were in the House of Assembly today. Rogers presented their petition, gave a private member’s statement in their honour, and asked the minister questions related to the situation.
“3800 people have signed petitions asking you to reverse your decision to privatize the care of our most vulnerable children and youth in group homes,” she said in the House of Assembly.
“I ask the minister of Child, Youth and Family services, will you listen to the people of these communities?”
Rogers says the number of signatures reflects the fact that people see the need for the specialized services currently provided by the workers.
“3800 people see the value of providing high quality, specialized continuity of care for troubled youth in their communities who need shelter and support,” she said. “I ask the minister, is privatizing their care to save a few bucks worth the upheaval and suffering this move is causing the children in these communities?”
The children in Stephenville were scheduled to be moved by May 19 and still do not know when and where they will be moved. Rogers wants to know if this is a reflection of the efficiency government expects from privatizing services.