FREDERICTON (GNB) – The provincial government has introduced amendments to the Family Services Act to allow the development of a new Children’s Services and Resources Regulation.

“I am proud to be introducing these changes,” said Social Development Minister Dorothy Shephard. “They will allow for the creation of new regulations to better protect our children and ensure they receive the support and services they require.”

The legislative amendments will provide a framework to support several new services and resources, as well as improvements to existing services and resources for children and their families.

“The safety and security of children and youth in New Brunswick is essential,” said Shephard. “This is a subject I feel strongly about, and have been a vocal supporter of, for several years.”

The amendments include:

  • kinship care as an alternative to foster care;
  • the transfer of guardianship as an alternative to adoption; and
  • treatment centres as a new resource available to children.

The amendments also clarify that the total time a child under age 12 can be under the care of the Minister cannot exceed 24 cumulative months in a five-year period.

The changes follow two reports into the province’s child welfare system which, together, contained more than 100 recommendations for improvements. The provincial government is in the process of reviewing and acting on these recommendations.