VICTORIA, B.C. — In response to today’s Auditor General report on contracted residential services for children and youth in care, Cowichan Valley MLA Sonia Furstenau has released the following statement:
“The destructive legacy of the child welfare system in this province continues to this day. This report, along with dozens of reports from the office of the Representative for Children and Youth, highlight that the Ministry is removing children from their families and communities and putting them into a system that often causes harm,” said MLA Furstenau.
The report found that the Ministry is not providing effective oversight of contracted residential services and does not know the quality of the placements it is using, thereby further increasing the risks to children and youth in their care.
“We know the outcomes for children in government care,” said MLA Furstenau. “They are less likely to graduate high school and more likely to end up homeless or involved with the justice system. They are at greater risk of abuse, assault, addiction, overdose, and suicide. And they are more likely to have their own children apprehended, perpetuating the cycle of suffering and hardship.
“The overrepresentation of Indigenous children in government care is a humanitarian crisis. The Ministry’s focus must shift to providing support to families and communities, and recognizing the inherent rights and jurisdiction of Indigenous communities over their children.
“Last week I attended the Indigenous Child Welfare Conference, co-chaired by Mary Ellen Turpel–Lafond and Maegen Giltrow. Not one person there spoke about wanting better quality assurance for group homes. They spoke about keeping kids out of care altogether. So, while I recognize the Ministry’s response to this report and its recommendations, we must continue to work tirelessly on the ultimate goal of keeping families together and providing them with the supports they need to stay healthy and safe.”
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