We are failing B.C. children

Conservative government changes put young teens at risk

Editor, The News:

Re: Still no funding for youth shelter (The News, Dec. 10).

Let’s be really clear – the federal funding changes that are apparently to be directed to permanent housing leave 12-15-year-old, at-risk children completely out of the picture.

That new funding is to be put towards 18-24-year-olds. Those permanent housing options will take time for those 18-24-year-olds who will have no safe place to be while they wait, with very few front line workers to support them.

The 12-15-year-olds will either become visible on our streets, or completely invisible in unsafe environments, neither option with sufficient front line workers to support them.

And the province prefers placing youth in foster homes may be a true statement about what they prefer.

It is not, however, what occurs in a timely manner when a child becomes homeless – note a clear lack of emergency placements.

And ministry practice is not to refer young people to a safe house is an odd claim when the reality is just exactly that – referral to a safe house and that then allows the time required for all the rest of the pieces of this harrowing B.C. system to unfold while the youth are stabilized and supported.

Sometime let’s really talk about what happens when that safe house is full and a homeless youth can’t get a bed.

In the first years of the safe house, youth stayed for 30 days and the required supports were put into place.

Today, 30 days is impossible to accomplish what needs to be accomplished because the B.C. government has eroded services on too many levels, and in such a flagrantly dangerous manner.

B.C.’s children are put further at-risk by B.C.’s government.

We should all be ashamed.

And we should all be very disgusted that our government can take such a sickening position involving our children.

And we should finally, and clearly say that enough is enough.

The most impoverished children in Canada, and our government takes more away from these voiceless, marginalized citizens of B.C.

Let’s just finally be honest with ourselves.

Epic fail B.C., epic and dangerous fail.

L. D. Hamilton

Maple Ridge