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January 8, 2008
For immediate release
Child Protection Act Review Advisory Committee Appointed
Social Services and Seniors
Minister Currie stated, “The protection of the children of Prince Edward Island is of utmost importance to our Government and all Islanders. According to the regulations of the Child Protection Act, this review is now one year overdue.”
The PEI Child Protection Act and regulations require the Minister to appoint an Advisory Committee to review the act every three years. The aim of the review is to report on the operation and administration of the act and to determine whether or not its principles and purposes are being achieved. The committee will provide a report to the Minister within six months. This report will inform the Minister and enable government to consider the need for legislative and policy changes taking into account public input.
The advisory committee includes the following members:
• Ron Stanley, Director of Child Welfare, Department of Social Services and Seniors
• Rona Brown, Maureen MacEwen, Jim Bentley, Josette Losier and Colleen MacDonald, Child and Family Services, Department of Social Services and Seniors
• Cathy Chaisson, PEI Legal Aid lawyer, Office of the Attorney General
• Denise Doiron, solicitor, Office of the Attorney General
• Rachel MacPhee, Brittany Gilbert and Amber Joseph, youth representatives
• Dr. Sandy MacDonald / Adrian Smith, Eastern School District
• Dr. Mitchell Zelman / Dr. Christine MacNearney, PEI Medical Society
• Chief Darlene Bernard / Chief Brian Francis, Mi’kmaq Confederacy
• Patsy MacLean, HRA, Chairperson
The Child Protection Act Review Advisory Committee will host consultations across the province in February / March 2008. More information about how Islanders can provide input will be announced later in January.
Child Protection Act Review 2008
As defined in the regulations of Child Protection Act (2003), the Minister of Social Services and Seniors is legally required to appoint an advisory committee to review the act every three years. The purpose of the review is to report on the operation and administration of the act and to determine whether or not its principles and purposes are being achieved.
In spring 2003, a new Child Protection Act was proclaimed replacing the former Family and Child Services Act of 1981. The Child Protection Act introduced fundamental changes to the administration of legal procedure that improved the length of time that a family and the director of child welfare had to wait before being heard by the court and also more clearly defined, for the court, what to consider when determining the best interests of a child. Others changes introduced with the new act included legal definitions of “a child in need of protection” and age differences of children with respect to time in care and capacity to participate in decisions about them. The new act also better defined the responsibilities and legal powers of the director of child welfare and recognized the rights of First Nations communities of Prince Edward Island.
Child Protection Statistics - Prince Edward Island
• As of March 31, 2007, there were approximately 280 children in the care of the director of child welfare, PEI Department of Social Services and Seniors.
• As of March 31, 2007, there were 87 foster families in Prince Edward Island.
• The Department of Social Services and Seniors operates four group homes (26 beds), the Provincial Child & Youth Developmental Health Centre in Tyne Valley (11 beds) and the Scentia Road Group Home for (2 high-risk adult beds and 1 high-risk youth bed).
• The 2007/08 budget for Child Protection services is $16,397,200.
• The director of child welfare has 58 delegated agents (social workers within Child Protection who have authority under the Child Protection Act).
For a copy of the Child Protection Act, visit www.gov.pe.ca/law/statutes/pdf/c-05_1.pdf or call Island Information Service at 368-4000 or 1-800-236-5196.