Kevin Hodge is a farmer, a volunteer firefighter, and with ten other people, he volunteers on the board of the Brant Family and Children’s services.
All 11 volunteers on that board are quitting as of Friday. The board was unwilling to make further funding cuts they say the Ontario Ministry of Children and social services was demanding.
Earlier this year children’s services let 26 staff members go to reduce costs, but Executive Director Andy Koster says the service is being asked to make further cuts. He says the number of children taken into care is increasing, and 40 percent of them are there for addiction-related reasons, putting extra stress on workers.
Brantford MPP Will Bouma says he’s been working with children services for weeks, trying to get them to resolve differences with the ministry, he says it’s unfortunate the board no longer wants to work with ministry officials.
In a statement, a spokesperson for Children’s Services Minister Todd Smith said that Brant Children’s services had declining investigations, more full-time employees than average and that there was a lack of evidence that the opioid crisis was contributing to financial issues.
The ministry also says Brant Children’s Services was inefficient, and funding services outside its mandate. NDP critic Monique Taylor says the problem started under the previous government.
The ministry says it will appoint a supervisor to oversee Brant children’s services in place of the board otherwise, Brant family and children services are continuing to operate as usual.