PEI UPSE asks Minister to reconsider

Posted May 1, 2012

The Union of Public Sector Employees is arguing that recent cuts to youth and family support workers in the Family Ties program will result in few savings for government that will come at a major social cost. “We can't afford not to invest in our social programs for youth on Prince Edward Island,” says President Shelley Ward of the PEI Union of Public Sector Employees.

President Ward says "the Liberal government's cuts are directly affecting the welfare of young people in PEI. The five youth and family support workers losing their jobs in western PEI provided in-house counseling for at-risk youth. These youth are dealing with a host of issues from alcohol and drug abuse, absenteeism in the school system, and conflict in their day-to-day relationships at home and in the community. By eliminating the supports these kids rely on, the government is turning its back on some two - hundred families in Prince County."

President Ward says, "public outcry over these cuts has been significant. When the youth themselves speak about what it means to lose these services it is our duty to listen and to do something about it. We have seen various organizations like the PEI Association of Social Workers and the Foster Parents Federation speaking out on this issue. But where has Gerard Greenan, MLA from Summerside - St. Eleanors been while important questions concerning how to best care for our youth are deliberated on. As far as I know Greenan has made no attempt to question his government on this decision as members of his district, and Minister Henderson's district of O'Leary Inverness, will be directly affected."

" The Liberal government is moving the Island in a new direction - away from compassion and helping each other out - to an 'every one for themselves mentality'. Is this the new PEI? Are we are waving goodbye to the Island way of life we know and love? The government would do well to remember that they have a responsibility to invest in and maintain public services for all Islanders - especially the most vulnerable. The union is asking the Minister of Community Services and Seniors, Valerie Docherty, to reconsider her decision to eliminate social workers, and youth and family support workers in Prince Edward Island."

Shelley Ward‚

President‚ PEI Union of Public Sector Employees

Please contact Mark Barrett at 892-5335 (or toll-free at 1-800- 897-8773) to arrange an interview.