The Office of the Auditor General of B.C. says the Ministry of Children and Family Development has not been providing effective oversight of contracted residential services for children in care.

Carol Bellringer said her office found, in a recent audit, that contracted residential services have evolved on an ad hoc basis to respond to individual and emergency situations as opposed to the ministry defining what they should look like or when to use the services.

“We had strong indications throughout the audit and most certainly by the end of the audit they are looking for a substantive change on how they are going about finding solutions and not just putting a small patch on a big problem.”

Katrine Conroy, Minister of Children and Family Development said she knew already last summer that the system needed an overhaul.

“When I was told that there were issues with contracted residential services I said that we needed to do an overhaul of the system. That what was working obviously wasn’t working for the children and youth in care. We had to make sure that we were just not placing children for the sake of getting a roof over their head.”

Conroy said staff have met with every child or youth placed in a contracted residential agency to review their circumstances and have moved them to more suitable placements if their placement was not meeting their individual needs.

In 2018, about 1,150 children and youth in care spent time in contracted residential services.