B.C.’s Minister of Families Stephanie Cadieux said there are more staff at the ministry’s Williams Lake office than there have been in recent years.
“Luckily we’ve had some success at recruiting new people in and when I met with staff at the office, a number of people there had only been there a few weeks and one had just started a couple of days earlier,” Cadieux said after a tour of the Cariboo Thursday.
The ministry has had challenges in Williams Lake and in a number of other offices in rural communities, she said, adding the ministry is committed to ensuring staff levels remain strong.
“We know when there’s a lag in having people there, other staff feel the effects.”
While in Williams Lake she also met with representatives from the community services co-operative, the Child Development Centre, Big Brothers and Big Sisters, Association for Community Living, Canadian Mental Health Association and the Women’s Contact Society.
“Their concerns aren’t unique to Williams Lake, they are concerns I hear in all communities,” she said.
Community groups told her the need for services around child and youth mental health and numbers of children accessing those services continues to increase substantially and funds are necessary to meet those demands.
“It sounds like these agencies have a really good working relationship with each other and can maximize service delivery,” Cadieux said.
In a meeting with the RCMP and Dr. Glen Fedor, Cadieux heard about the mental health action team that is working together to address some of the challenging issues facing the community.
She also met with an adoptive parent from Williams Lake who shared her hopes for adoption programs.
“Around the province there are lots of people who have stories that are heart-warming and stories that are heartbreaking,” Cadieux said.