A follow-up report on the 2011 audit of Nunavut’s child and family services says the government has not made enough progress in protecting vulnerable children and youth.
The federal auditor-general’s office tabled the document at the Legislative Assembly in Canada’s eastern Arctic territory on Tuesday.
It says the government has made some progress in hiring and training community social service workers to fill vacancies, and in no longer requiring social service workers in some communities to also act as parole officers.
But the report states not enough has been done in areas such as the collection and sharing of information about at-risk youth.
The audit also calls for more background checks of potential foster homes.
The 2013 follow-up audit found safety checks had been done in 60 per cent of non-family foster homes in its sample, compared to only 32 per cent in the 2011 audit. It found 40 per cent of extended-family foster homes had been checked, up from 25 per cent in 2011.
Michelle Salvail, principal auditor on the report, says Nunavut’s Department of Family Services has made some progress since the 2011 audit, especially in hiring more social workers.
“They’re not meeting the standards but they are doing a great job,” she said. “I think it’s not easy to be a social worker, and they’re doing the best that they can.”
The Department of Family Services agreed with all the audit’s recommendations. In a news release, Family Services Minister Jeannie Ugyuk said the report will give her department a road map to strengthen its programs.
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