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Puppy Mills for Foster Kids

February 26, 2009 permalink

What does a lonely foster child need to find love? A child protection worker suggested a warm cuddly dildo.

A Saskatchewan foster home looked like a puppy mill, according to a report by provincial Children's Advocate Marvin Bernstein. We enclose a report from the Globe and Mail, the full report is Breach of Trust (4 megabytes pdf local copy).

There are many more incidents not mentioned in the press report. One foster mom was told her foster child had no medical concerns, but found out from the child that s/he had a shunt in his head requiring special medical attention. When a foster parent refused to take a child on grounds of overcrowding, social services got the child into the home by tricking the other spouse. Many foster parents refused to speak to children's advocate investigators out of fear of retribution from the ministry staff. A three-year-old girl feared getting into a car, because she thought it meant going to yet another foster home. A provincial rulebook sets standards for physical accommodation of foster kids. Not one foster home was in compliance, lacking bathrooms, bedrooms and safety equipment. A mercenary foster parent referred to the children in her care as “truck payment, groceries or Florida trip” instead of using their names. The report has many cases of violence and sexual improprieties between foster children. What sort of teaching causes one three-year-old girl to perform oral sex on another?

How does Ontario compare to Saskatchewan? The death rates per hundred thousand foster child years are: Saskatchewan 266, Ontario 474.



Saskatchewan foster home 'like puppy mill'

SASKATOON -- Foster homes in Saskatchewan's largest city are so overcrowded and in crisis that a worker swarmed by children in one house she visited compared the place to a puppy mill.

The province's Children's Advocate released a scathing report yesterday containing disturbing accounts of violence and abuse in Saskatoon homes for children in care.

The report also contained numbers that show homes in the city are more overcrowded than anywhere else in the country. At one time, as many as 21 children were living in a single foster home.

Children's Advocate Marvin Bernstein said investigators in his office uncovered "graphic and repugnant" stories from children, foster parents and workers about the failing social services system.

"I was appalled that could be happening to children in this province," Mr. Bernstein told a news conference.

His report cites one Saskatoon home crowded with 13 children in which two girls, aged 9 and 11, sexually assaulted a nine-year-old girl with a low IQ. In another home with several past incidents of violence, an eight-year-old boy was caught urinating in the mouth of a three-year-old boy. Workers also placed a 17-year-old girl in a home without warning foster parents of her sexualized behaviour. She was later found in bed kissing a 12-year-old girl with developmental delays. The incident was reported to a caseworker.

"The foster parents were told to get the 17-year-old child a dildo," said the report. The teen was eventually sent to a different home but put in a bedroom with another 12-year-old girl.

The report said these incidents, and others, were not investigated or relayed to birth parents. Policies are not adequately monitored and enforced in Saskatoon, Mr. Bernstein said.

The current capacity guideline in Saskatchewan is four children for each foster home. But there are exceptions to allow that number to be exceeded in an emergency and to keep siblings together.

Mr. Bernstein said the highest number of children per foster home that he could find in other Canadian jurisdictions was nine.

A psychologist interviewed for the report said she was overwhelmed when she walked into one Saskatoon home and found 10 children under the age of five.

"When the psychologist came to the child gate blocking the entrance to the room, the young children 'swarmed' to her with their arms raised up seeking attention. The impression she was left with was that this looked like 'a puppy mill,' " the report states.

Source: The Globe and Mail

foster home
Kiley, a 9-year-old interviewed by Children’s Advocate Office investigators who resides in an overcrowded foster home, drew this picture of his foster home.

girl in foster home