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VICTORIA — British Columbia’s independent children’s watchdog says the province needs more social workers to protect vulnerable children.

Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond says the province has fewer social workers now compared to 13 years ago and that the government must hire more by boosting funding for the Children’s Ministry.

Turpel-Lafond concludes in a report that consistent failures within the ministry mean it has failed to meet its own standards to protect children.

Her report comes as the government is under fire after two suicides of teenagers who were in its care.

The report was released on the same day that the B.C. Government and Services Employees Union issued its own report criticizing government support of social workers in aboriginal child service agencies.

Children’s Minister Stephanie Cadieux says Turpel-Lafond’s data is out of date and that 110 new workers have been hired.

The Canadian Press

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