Tuesday, May 16, 2000

p. A04.

Brewin stalls on legislation to lock up at risk youth

For years, frontline professionals have begged for legislation allowing them to temporarily lock up youngsters at extreme risk.

And two years ago, the province's task force recommended secure care. But Children and Families Minister Gretchen Brewin still wants more time.

"There are some details to be worked out.

"We need to have some kind of a plan," Brewin said Monday when questioned by the Liberals during question period.

Last weekend Brewin told social workers that the idea was too controversial and she was worried about human rights issues.

However, she said later that although legislation is unlikely this spring, it could be ready for the fall session.

"I'm very familiar with the issues and I want to see that what we put in place will work," Brewin said.

The government working group concluded in 1988 that the world of heroin and prostitution is so dangerous, social workers should have the power to lock up young people against their will for 72 hours.

But since then nothing has happened, even though other organizations — including the B.C. Civil Liberties Association and Judge Thomas Gove who headed the 1995 inquiry into child protection in B.C. — have come out in favour, said Liberal Leader Gordon Campbell.

"Why is the minister stalling on this matter which has been so clearly identified as a matter of true risk to children?" he asked.

Campbell said Brewin is uninformed and thereby prolonging youths' exposure to danger.

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Created: June 7, 2001
Last modified: June 10, 2001
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