Press one of the expand buttons to see the full text of an article. Later press collapse to revert to the original form. The buttons below expand or collapse all articles.
September 5, 2009 permalink
The Winnipeg Free Press prints a story on an organization of parents of children who have died while in care of the province. Two dead children are mentioned, without names, and even the picture has no identification, it shows only hands. Reporters know their stories are useless without names, it can only be the Canadian legal system that is scaring editors into censoring their own coverage. Maybe we should call it the Wimpy Free Press.
Our own research shows that two-year-old Gage Dakota Guimond died in Winnipeg on July 22, 2007 while under care of his great-aunt Shirley Guimond. Jessica Joy Owens, sixteen years old, committed suicide by hanging at Pauingassi Manitoba in March 2009. These are probably the two children mentioned in the story. A man called Greyeyes is quoted, without mentioning his connection to the group. If the group sends a press release supplying the missing facts and contact information, we will post it here. Send email to [ rtmq at fixcas.com ].
Mother of dead toddler joins lawsuit against Manitoba government
By Mia Rabson, Winnipeg Free Press, September 5, 2009
The biological mother of a two-year-old boy who was killed while in the care of Manitoba's child welfare system is planning to join a class-action lawsuit accusing the provincial government of systemic abuse of children in care.
The woman is one of several parents and relatives who believe their children were far worse off after they were taken into care because of a Child and Family Services system, that they feel, has been broken for decades.
"It's going to open people's eyes," she said of the lawsuit.
Her two-year-old son was killed in July 2007. He had been moved from a stable foster home to live with relatives with addictions problems and criminal records.
The boy's great-aunt has been charged with manslaughter and is out of jail on bail awaiting trial.
The court has set Nov. 2 as the date to begin the preliminary inquiry in the case.
Meanwhile, the mother says she is still struggling to come to terms with the death of her son and said she received no assistance from CFS, including grief counselling, after his death.
"They wouldn't talk to me about it."
A Winnipeg father who also has had his children apprehended is helping organize the lawsuit. He says there are already 30 people committed to contributing $29 a month to a bank account set up to fund the lawsuit. He's hoping the group might be ready to go forward early in 2010. They are meeting with a lawyer next week to try and get things going.
On Sept. 12 the group is planning a march to raise awareness and money for the lawsuit.
He said he wants to force the system to look at families as a whole entity and not just take children without helping parents as much as possible.
"There's nothing any one person can do," he said. "I will not stop until these workers are held accountable. This is about CFS interference. Instead of working with grandparents and parents, they just take these kids."
Greyeyes said he's been approached by families from many different agencies, not all of them aboriginal.
He said two of the other relatives interested in pursuing the class action suit are the grandparents of a 15-year-old girl who killed herself earlier this year.
The Manitoba government is in the midst of implementing a new program called 'differential response,' which is supposed to refocus efforts on preventing families from breaking up through early intervention and treatment.
Negotiations for additional funding from Ottawa to help pay for the added costs of differential response have been going on for several years but no agreement has yet been reached.
A spokeswoman for the provincial government refused comment due to the potential legal action.
Source: Winnipeg Free Press
Addendum: CTV gets the story right.
Mother of dead boy joins lawsuit against Manitoba gov't
Updated Sat. Sep. 5 2009 8:49 PM ET, CTV.ca News Staff
The mother of a two-year-old boy killed while in the Manitoba child welfare system is joining a class-action lawsuit to sue the government for alleged abuse in its childcare programs.
Natasha Guimond is among several parents who are suing because they say their children were much worse off under the care of the Child and Family Services system.
Her son, Gage, was killed in 2007. He was moved from a foster home to live with relatives who had criminal records. His great-aunt has been charged with manslaughter.
Guimond also has a five-year-old daughter, Evening Star, in Manitoba's child welfare system and is trying to regain custody of the child.
"I'd like to know a little more about my daughter instead of them telling me that she's better off without me," Guimond told CTV Winnipeg.
Jules Greyeyes is organizing the lawsuit through the North End Advocacy Group. He says 30 people are contributing money to fund the lawsuit, which he hopes will be filed in early 2010.
"It's about accountability, it's about responsibility," he told CTV Winnipeg
He said Child and Family Services needs to do a better job of communicating with parents.
A long recovery
Guimond admits she was not fit to be taking care of her son at the time of her death because of her addiction to drugs.
But she says the horrific phone call informing her of his death forced her to break the addiction cycle.
Now in her mid-20s, she has been sober for almost two years and is taking parenting classes, while working to go back to school.
"I'm trying my hardest to help myself get better to try and raise my daughter and help her," she said. "I know she's probably going through a lot herself."
Neither the province nor the child services agency would comment on the lawsuit.
There are more than 700 children in the province's child welfare system.