A policy that reduces the welfare shelter allowance for families with children temporarily in foster care is making it more difficult to reunite families, a group appealed to the province’s ombudsperson yesterday.

“You have two arms of government working against each other,” said Lobat Sadrehashemi, a staff lawyer with Pivot Legal Society. “It’s hurting really vulnerable families.”

If a child is temporarily removed from a family, the goal of social workers is to reunite the family safely and as quickly as possible. But current welfare policy means those families lose the shelter allowance allotted to those children.

For example, a single parent with child receiving $570 per month for shelter would receive $375 per month if that child were in temporary care.

This could result in a loss of housing, causing further delays or even preventing reunification.

The cut to the shelter allowance can be immediate upon removal of the child, or can be delayed up to three months, Sadrehashemi said.

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