Re: "Traumatized kids need help: report," Nov. 16.
Sadly, by the time many of these youth come into government care, it is often too late. There is no quick fix, although we must try harder.
The children and youth representative notes that many of these youth were victims of neglect or physical and sexual abuse, facing domestic violence and substance abuse in their families. This is reinforced by a recent fundraising letter from Vancouver's Covenant House, which reports that "a frightening number of our youth have been kicked out of their homes by drug-and alcohol-addicted parents who don't want to or are unable to care for them."
The ministry should indeed improve services, but we need to recognize that the ministry is resource-poor and too often reluctant to get involved. If this is a child-centred ministry, it must be enabled to be involved earlier - for the long term, if appropriate for the child's safety.
Wait lists and refusal of services need to be monitored by the representative, and child-advocacy services should be provided. This will require a political will and possible statutory reinforcement.
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