Prince Rupert seen as childcare worker training ground

A report by the B.C. Government Employee Union says Prince Rupert is facing some unique challenges when it comes to childcare workers.

A report prepared by the B.C. Government Employee Union says Prince Rupert is facing some unique challenges when it comes to childcare workers for youth in need in the community.

The report, Choose Children: A case for reinvesting in child, youth and family services in British Columbia was published by the union after consulting with children, youth and family workers across the province, including 20 attendees in Prince Rupert. While those in Prince Rupert joined workers in other northern communities in describing “the challenge of having to cover much larger geographic areas with limited staff”, a unique issue came to the forefront in the Northwest.

“In Prince Rupert and Terrace, members discussed the area’s inability to retain skilled workers for more than one or two years, and that the region is effectively used as a temporary training ground for new employees before they undertake longer-term assignments elsewhere,” reads the report.

North Coast MLA Jennifer Rice said the report, which also references the tragic case of Angie and Robert Robinson, highlights the need to increase resources in the region.

“Prince Rupert has essentially become an unofficial training ground for Ministry of Children and Family Development social workers in the Province but receives no extra support or recognition for this service,” she said.

“Front-line workers end up taking on their colleagues’ work on top of their own already-heavy caseloads. This leads to high burnout rates, people leaving the job and chronic shortages. This is an all-too-familiar story.”