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Foster Kids Seek Records
May 18, 2006 permalink
Here is another case of former foster children asking for disclosure of the records of their own lives.
If Manitoba is anything like Ontario, they will have no success. John Dunn spent four years exhausting the appeals process with Children's Aid, but got nothing. The expressions of support from minister Christine Melnick could be stymied by endless bureaucratic foot-dragging. Cases like this explode the myth that confidentiality is for the best interest of the child. Child protectors continue to assert confidentiality when the child is grown, or dead.
'Lost Boys' call for release of childhood records
Three aboriginal men want the province to release records related to their time in the child-welfare system so they can find out more about their troubled childhoods. Dean Powderhorn, Brian Richards and Sam McGillivray asked Family Services Minister Christine Melnick to release information related to their seizure from their families in childhood and subsequent life at a home for boys in Grandview, Man., west of Dauphin.
Powderhorn told CBC News he was taken from his family in Churchill at age nine and sent to the home, which he understood to be a facility for troubled or delinquent boys. At the home, he said, he and other children were mistreated and forced to do heavy labour.
The owner of the group home has since died.
The three men say they represent 18 men who lived at the home in the 1960s and 1970s; they have formed a group called Warriors of the Lost Boys. The men want their records from school and children's aid, and those concerning the home, as well as any other documents that could help them make sense of what happened.
"Who ordered us to go from being a nine-year-old boy to being an adult in a group home? Like, what did I do wrong to deserve this?" Powderhorn said.
Powderhorn lived at the group home until he was 18. He said the experience ruined his life, leaving him drifting as an adult, often in trouble with the law.
Province vows to help
Government officials say they will do all they can to help the men.
"The records will be made available to them, if they exist. I don't know what the state of their records are right now, but I can assure that we will be looking for those records," said Melnick.
"I think it's very important that Manitobans hear their message, that Manitobans hear their truth, and that we recognize that what was done in the past was not right and work towards a better future."
Melnick said the men's stories are similar to others the NDP government has been working to address in its restructuring of child and family services agencies.