HTTP/1.0 200 OK Content-Type: text/html Social Workers Unsure How To Deal With Grow-Op Kids
Pubdate: Fri, 15 Dec 2006
Source: Province, The (CN BC)
Copyright: 2006 The Province
Author: Ian Bailey
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Canada)
Bookmark: (Youth)


Minister Says Rules Are Clear; Advocates Say Youths Could Die

B.C.'s social workers say they want the government to draft clear 
guidelines on dealing with children found in marijuana grow- 
operations "without having to wait for children to die."

But Children and Family Development Minister Tom Christensen says 
current legislation provides clear enough guidelines so further 
action is not needed.

The Child, Family Community Service Act "is sufficient to enable 
social workers to respond appropriately to these situations," 
Christensen said. "And what we find is social workers are responding 
to these situations appropriately."

The dispute arose yesterday as the B.C. Association of Social Workers 
called for "comprehensive, standardized protocol" to guide the way 
they respond when children turn up in grow-ops.

Based on the association's estimates, about 1,000 B.C. children are 
endangered by grow-op risks including fire, chemical exposure, 
electrocution, mould and grow-op-related violence on a daily basis.

Spokesman Paul Jenkinson said he was not aware of any cases where 
children have died or been seriously injured.

"I don't want to sit around waiting to become aware," he said.

"[We're] committed to promoting change without having to wait for 
children to die."

Some estimates have suggested there could be as many as 18,000 grow-ops in B.C.

"I talk to the members all over the province and I know, on a weekly 
basis, every office in the Lower Mainland is receiving calls and 
going out on grow-op calls," Jenkinson said. Yet, across B.C., there 
are "a haphazard patchwork of responses," he said. "In some 
communities, there are very thorough investigations done. In other 
communities . . . some of these cases will be investigated in only 
the most minimal fashion."

But Christensen said legislation allows the removal of children found 
in a grow-op "and typically that is what happens."

He said he is prepared to talk to the association, "but certainly our 
view at this point is that the legislation we have in place is very 
strong and social workers are, in fact, responding appropriately to 
these situations."
- ---
MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom