Over the last 15 years provincial child-serving ministries, school districts, post-secondary institutions and community service agencies serving children, youth and families had their provincial funding slashed or squeezed.
Meanwhile inflation, growing service needs and increased government-imposed fees and costs forced them to cannibalize and reduce their services to balance their budgets. They were made to dig the holes.
The dollars now suddenly made available for education and child welfare services, while welcome, are insufficient to make up for the damage done to children’s lives.
BC Budget 2017 looks like an attempt to deliver a small truckload of dollars to fill the most noticeable budget and service holes created by the cuts and unfunded extra costs.
Should we be happy? Grateful? After watching the impacts on the lives of a generation of children when services weren’t there for them, families and service providers instead feel frustrated and saddened by the windows of opportunity missed – and the unfairness for children born at the “wrong” time in BC.
In a province as wealthy as BC, with five years of surplus budgets, there is no excuse for leaving so many children and youth down in those holes during their crucial developmental years.
Read the full op-ed by Adrienne Montani on Policy Note.