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.

Just Posted

How to keep the hummingbirds fed during a cold snap

Four cups of water and one cup of white sugar is the perfect solution

Tips to get around years-long waiting lists for Greater Victoria attraction passes

Some passes have more than 2,000 people on the Greater Victoria Public Library waitlist

Remembering Ginger: Cumberland Museum receives national award

Museum given Governor General’s History Award for exhibit honouring martyr of the union movement

How Parksville’s St. Anne’s became a place homeless people would actually go

After opening as a ‘pray and stay’ vigil, church decided to stay open nightly

Robert Barron: Winter can be hard, but it brings back good memories

I would carefully poke the handle of the shovel through the snow until it bumped into a solid object

VIDEO: Cold snap brings ideal conditions for Okanagan icewine

Take an inside look at how icewine is made

Horgan cancels event in northern B.C. due to security concerns, says Fraser Lake mayor

The premier will still be visiting the city, but the location and day will not be made public

Prince Harry, Meghan to give up ‘royal highness’ titles

‘Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be much loved members of my family,’ says Queen Elizabeth II

BC Ferries hybrid ships set to arrive in Victoria today

The battery-operated vessels will take over smaller routes

Know how to spot counterfeit bills

Campbell River RCMP concerned obvious phony bills are fooling people

Young Island skiers earn podium finishes at first Teck BC Cup of 2020

Saanich student-athlete earns two bronze medals in U18 girls category

PHOTOS: Eastern Newfoundland reeling, search underway for missing man after blizzard

More than 70 centimetres of new snow fell overnight, creating whiteout conditions

B.C. society calls out conservation officer after dropping off bear cub covered in ice

Ice can be seen in video matted into emaciated bear cub’s fur

Most Read