Statement on Open Protection Reports

December 8, 2005

We are not leaving kids at risk.

The ministry’s top priority is protection, not paperwork. We are constantly working to make the system better – and invest the resources available for the best possible result.
Our professional social workers are well trained to ensure protection situations are appropriately addressed. There are many steps to protecting children. The very first thing we do is assess their immediate safety when we get a report – and then we take action.

If the first indication is that they are at high risk, action takes place immediately – as assessed by Ministry child protection social workers, supported by experienced supervisors.

The reality is that protecting children may be the most challenging work in government. Our obligation to protect children from abuse or neglect demands that we continually review what we do and how we do it, and that we continually strive to build the most effective child protection approach possible.

When we made our realignments in the ministry, our priorities were to minimize impacts in the field – which means that headquarters was most affected.

Yes, there are always concerns about administrative work and paperwork – but our top priority is protecting children. Investigations today are more complex, and ministry staff focuses on making children safe.

The Ministry is working with staff to prioritize workload and administration issues – we are constantly working to make the system better. The directors are aware of the administrative issues about these open files and taking steps to address them. But the important thing is that we are confident that risks to the children have been addressed.

The 30-day standard is there to guide ministry work – but protection of children is our top priority – not paperwork.

We can’t close an intake file till we’re sure we’ve done all that is needed. It’s better to miss an administrative deadline than focus on paperwork and take shortcuts; that would put kids at risk.

The ministry gets 29,000 calls per year. All result in an assessment, but not all require an investigation.

Some files would be closed the same day. The complexities involved mean not every case would meet the timelines; often it would be as simple as the front-line workers have difficulty in contacting a family member.

As well, the practice standards include supervision and discussion with case managers and regular meetings among front-line staff to address those concerns – all in aid of best practice.

Open Protection Report Statistics 1997-2005

1997 | 1998 | 1999 | 2000 | 2001 | 2002 | 2003 | 2004 | 2005