VICTORIA - To provide greater accountability across the province and improve child protection practice, a Provincial Director of Child Welfare has been appointed, Minister of Children and Family Development Mary McNeil announced today.
Doug Hughes, currently an assistant deputy minister with the ministry's Interior region, will take on the role of the new Provincial Director of Child Welfare. Hughes, who holds a master's degree in social work from the University of Calgary, has over 25 years experience in the public service and has worked in numerous roles within the ministry including social worker, community development worker, team leader, manager and regional executive director. He has also worked closely with Métis and First Nations in the Interior on alternative approaches to service delivery to their children, families and communities.
The primary responsibility of the Provincial Director of Child Welfare will be to act as a central point of contact and accountability for child welfare issues. The Director will also provide oversight to child welfare practice and quality assurance as outlined in the Child, Family and Community Service Act.
The ministry historically had a Provincial Director in its structure. However, over the past two years oversight and accountability functions have been provided by five regional executive directors of practice and a director of Aboriginal services. These positions will remain in place with accountability to the provincial director, ensuring consistency of practice across the province.
Mary McNeil, Minister of Children and Family Development -
"We are always looking for ways to continue to strengthen our systems of support for children and families across the province, and this position will further build on existing quality assurance practices within the ministry. The representative for children and youth has called on the ministry to re-establish a provincial director and we have taken action on her recommendation."
Doug Hughes, Provincial Director of Child Welfare -
"British Columbia has always been a leader in child welfare practice, and the inclusion of a provincial director in our structure will assist with our goal of providing a provincial practice approach to ensure vulnerable children's safety and well-being are paramount."
* The Child, Family and Community Service Act (http://www.bclaws.ca/EPLibraries/bclaws_new/document/ID/freeside/00_96046_01) is the legislative authority for the ministry's child protection services.
* Child protection services across the province are provided through 429 ministry offices in five regions and 22 delegated Aboriginal agencies.
* The ministry responds to about 30,000 child welfare reports annually.
Media Relations Manager
Ministry of Children and Family Development
250 812-3616 (cell)
Connect with the Province of B.C. at: www.gov.bc.ca/connect