OTTAWA, June 27, 2008 - The Honourable Stockwell Day, Minister of Public Safety, today announced changes to the Correctional Service of Canada's (CSC) Mother-Child Program, after having requested a review of the program in February 2008.
"These changes to the program are essential because the safety and security of children needs to always be first and foremost, and no child should ever be inadvertently put at risk when a mother is incarcerated," said Minister Day. "By making these reforms, the program will continue to ensure mother-child relationships are fostered without endangering the safety of a child."
The changes are:
- Excluding offenders from the program who have been convicted of serious crimes involving violence, children or those of a sexual nature;
- Restricting the part-time program to children aged six and under;
- Requiring the support of local Child and Family Services before the participation of an offender is approved; and,
- Re-evaluating the participation in the program of any offender who refuses to allow her child to be searched for drugs or other contraband before entering an institution
The Mother-Child Program is unique to the women's institutions. The program allows some women offenders to have access to their children in federal correction facilities in order to foster positive relationships between the mother and the child.
These changes are consistent with the new direction set for the CSC in the Independent Panel Report on federal corrections, particularly the recommendations relating to offender accountability and drugs.
Public Safety Canada
Director of Communications
Office of the Honourable Stockwell Day
Minister of Public Safety