Train Social Workers to Identify Risk Factors: MacDonald

By Kusch, Larry | Winnipeg Free Press, November 19, 2014 | Go to article overview

Train Social Workers to Identify Risk Factors: MacDonald


Kusch, Larry, Winnipeg Free Press


MANITOBA'S children's advocate says all social workers should be trained to identify risk factors that cause children to be vulnerable to sexual exploitation.

In her annual report Tuesday, Darlene MacDonald said a history of being sexually exploited is not uncommon among children and youth in the child- welfare system.

"Many young people receiving CFS services present with a number of risk factors that make them vulnerable to sexual exploitation by adults," she said.

MacDonald said specific training to identify these risk factors is now optional for Child and Family Services workers. She wants the six-day course to be mandatory along with other "competency-based training" that CFS and child and youth care workers receive after they're hired by government.

Family Services Minister Kerri Irvin-Ross was non-committal when asked for her response on Tuesday.

"All the training we can give our front-line staff is essential," Irvin-Ross said. "We need to make sure that we're ready, that we have staff that are trained to identify and assess and also then come up with a treatment plan to support them."

The advocate said the province also needs comprehensive, secure, specialized treatment services for youth who have been sexually exploited to address their specific and complex needs.

Sexual exploitation is a subcategory of sexual abuse and is defined as the act of coercing, luring or engaging a child into a sexual act, involvement in sex trafficking or in child sexual-abuse images. …

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