The field of child welfare has become increasingly aware of the over-representation of families of children and youth with disabilities and parents with disabilities in child protection cases.
NBACL was pleased to see that Bill 114 allows for the provision of social services to families of children or youth with disabilities and the provision of respite care to the parents of children with disabilities, as these services are critical to support families of children with disabilities. These provisions should help to provide support to families of children with disabilities and help to prevent or reduce their continued involvement with the child welfare system.
However, Bill 114 does not address the issue of providing supports to parents with disabilities, to help reduce their over-representation in child protection cases. We recommend the following changes to Bill 114 before it is passed as law:
- Adopt the recommendations of the Child and Youth Advocate to Bill 114.
- Add a section to Part 4 of the Bill (Strategic Interventions and Support Services) to authorize the Minister to provide supports and services to parents with a disability who require assistance with their parental and caregiving responsibilities.
- Create a right to external advocacy support for families with a parent or child/youth with a disability who become involved in the protective system.
- Modify the language of Bill 114 (section 142) to recognize that some adults will require or use accommodations and supports to meet the test of capacity for making decisions.
- Modify section 153 of the Bill (authority to make regulations) to add the creation of guidelines and standards for conducting parental capacity assessments and commit to developing regulations that involve experts and community organizations in the development of standards for parenting capability and the assessment process for parents.
- Modify section 74 to ensure that youth with a disability who may require additional assistance are adequately supported in transitions out of care.