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B.C.'s embattled children's minister demoted following calls for resignation

Victoria -

Embattled minister Mitzi Dean has been shuffled out of her post heading the Ministry of Children and Family Development, a demotion that comes after mounting pressure for her to resign.

BC United has been calling for Dean’s to be replaced for months over what Opposition leader Kevin Falcon described Monday as the “shocking, bad results that we’re seeing in terms of children under government care.”

Dean, the MLA for Esquimalt–Metchosin, was replaced by Victoria-Beacon Hill MLA Grace Lore. Dean will move into Lore's old role, minister of state for child care, a position with fewer staff, a decreased salary and a lower profile. 

On Monday, Premier David Eby contended the demotion wasn’t because of persistent demands for Dean's resignation.

“We came, reluctantly, to a shared decision that in order to keep moving forward – to accelerate this work – we need to have a reset at the ministry,” said Eby at an unrelated news conference.

There had been growing calls for her to step aside – from not only the Opposition but from First Nations leadership – over her and her ministry's handling of cases involving children in foster care.

Those calls grew especially loud following a shocking case that came to light this summer, involving two children brutally abused by their Indigenous foster parents – abuse that resulted in the death of an 11-year-old boy. Alarm grew upon revelations that social workers never checked on the children for seven months.

“This ministry has needed a change in leadership and this is what we’ve been calling for, from both a political and administrative perspective,” said Green Party MLA Adam Olsen on Monday.

“My only disappointment is that this didn’t happen six months earlier, but better late than never,” said Falcon.

Following the shuffle, Dean issued a statement saying: “Affordable, accessible, good quality child care is vital to families across our province and I’m looking forward to ensuring more parents are able to access the child care they and their families need.”

Meanwhile, Dr. Jennifer Charlesworth, B.C.’s representative for children and youth, has been investigating the horrific case of the 11-year-old who died in care. Her report is expected to be made public this June. Top Stories

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