The Nova Scotia Government & General Employees Union is not pleased to learn about recent cuts to child welfare services in rural communities. “Cutting these important services in rural Nova Scotia will hurt the most vulnerable people and their communities”, says Joan Jessome, President of the Nova Scotia Government & General Employees Union (NSGEU).
The Union was recently advised that the Department of Community Services is laying off five (5) unionized members working in child welfare services in Barrington and six (6) in Guysborough (one of the workers in Guysborough is an Income Assistance Caseworker). This follows on the heels of the closure of the Sheet Harbour Community Services Office.
“The people who live in Guysborough and Barrington deserve to have quality public services, and the jobs that come with the delivery of those services,” says Jessome. “Cuts to child welfare services may put Nova Scotian children at risk while removing good jobs from rural communities where they are needed most.”
“Right now our economy is fragile, the unemployment rate is high, and jobs are few and far between. Public services must be there when Nova Scotians need them. This is a time to support the most vulnerable Nova Scotians, not pull support away.”
“We believe cutting services to rural communities is very damaging,” says Jessome. “It creates an incentive for families to move to urban areas and increases the stresses on rural communities.”
Jessome continues, “These decisions are being made without any consultation with frontline workers or their union. We are left to wonder what other public services and communities are being targeted by government? Who is next?”
The NSGEU represents unionized employees who work in the Department of Community Services. This includes income assistance caseworkers, child protection workers, family support workers, social workers, case aides, supervisors, and secretarial staff (clerks) who provide valuable public services in communities across the province.