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Records Released

July 17, 2008 permalink

Seven years of working through the system failed to get Marina Powless a copy of her foster care records, but less than two weeks after her story was published, she received a heavily expurgated version.



Former foster child receives records

Katie May, Northern News Services, Published Wednesday, July 16, 2008

SOMBA K'E/YELLOWKNIFE - After seven years, Marina Powless finally has some official record of her childhood.

The 26-year-old Yellowknife resident and former foster child received files last Friday relating to her time in care, which she first sought through an access-to-information request in 2001.

Marina Powless
Marina Powless's seven-year wait for access to her foster care records came to an end last week when she was handed the documentation.
NNSL file photo

The Child and Family Services department delivered to Powless a stack of nearly 750 pages of information, including intake records, court transcripts, a few notes on schooling and several blacked-out pages.

"When I got it I was so happy," she said. "Seven years waiting for that and I had it."

Within 24 hours, she carefully read through the entire document and couldn't find a lot of the information she had hoped to find. Powless still doesn't know how many foster homes she has lived in, and most of the foster parents' names are blacked out due to third party privacy concerns.

"After I read it all, I had a lot of mixed feelings," Powless said, explaining at times she felt both sad and angry.

"A lot of negative stuff I was wanting to deal with wasn't there," she said. "There's more things I want answered still."

When she called the department to inquire about missing information, a representative told her there were some files they had forgotten to send and that she will soon receive them by mail.

Powless said she hopes those additional documents will clear up some of her questions. All in all, she said she's glad she has the information in hand and grateful to the staff who worked to compile it for her.

"I'm thankful that someone took the time to get all that information for me, she said."

On Tuesday, Department of Health and Social Services communications manager Damien Healy confirmed that Powless had received all requested records. He said the office's broken microfiche machine, which was one of the reasons Powless was given for the paperwork delay, still needs to be fixed.

Dean Soenen, director of Child and Family Services, declined to comment.

Source: Northern News Service