Honoured to Chair Child Welfare Committee – March 2/7 – Canstar Herald
When people think of provincial politicians, most envision debates over potential laws at Manitoba’s legislature. While this is an important aspect of our work, in actuality it takes a minority of our time; in 2018 — 58 days over 16 weeks. What few people recognize is that it’s the time in between those sitting dates where much of the preparatory and boots on the ground public service gets done.
Once the House rose in early December, my schedule quickly filled up with school concerts, Christmas events, and seniors’ homes visits. I always try to visit seniors over the holidays as many are lonely and isolated from their families. I find tremendous joy in bringing my own children, or others I know from local schools or singing groups to visit with seniors, who are always welcoming and pleased to talk. Aside from those occasions, there are meetings, committees, research, and dozens of emails, phone calls and communications on a wide variety of issues.
In the final weeks of 2017 the Premier asked me to chair a committee reviewing legislation of Manitoba’s Child and Family Services. It is no secret Manitoba’s child welfare situation is a complex and difficult reality as Manitoba has more children per capita than anywhere else in Canada; but as these kinds of issues prompted me to enter politics, I was honoured by this opportunity.
During these opening months of 2018, this committee of seven members— five of whom are Indigenous— held hearings across the province and met with groups, organizations, experts, and youth with experience in Manitoba’s child welfare system. We launched a web-survey and received over 1,500 responses, and each of us met with concerned citizens, affected families or others with a perspective to share. Chairing this committee has been a life changing experience for me personally.
Our recommendations will be presented in a report for the Minister of Families. Our goal is to see fewer kids in care, for fewer days and to see children in care go on to succeed as adults.
I can be reached at 204-289-4545, by emailing email@example.com, or you can go online at andrewmicklefield.com