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Pills for Payukotayno
January 22, 2010 permalink
Laurel Broten has responded to the suicide epidemic in Ontario's north. Instead of dealing with the community problems, she is dispatching four mental health workers to Payukotayno James and Hudson Bay Family Services. What is the chance that prescription pill popping will lower the suicide rate?
Northern CAS to get help with suicide 'epidemic'
Updated: Wed Jan. 20 2010 1:41:14 PM, The Associated Press
TORONTO — A struggling Children's Aid Society in northern Ontario will get four new mental health workers to help it deal with what's being called a suicide "epidemic" in the James Bay area.
The province's Ministry of Children and Youth Services has granted a request from Payukotayno James and Hudson Bay Family Services director Ernest Beck for the additional workers, at a price of approximately $400,000.
The four will work with the community and the Children's Aid Society office to try to come up with a way to deal with the growing problem of youth suicide.
Critics have been urging immediate action, saying children who are at risk of being left in abusive homes or contemplating suicide will have no one to turn to.
In December, Payukotayno and the Tikinagan office in Sioux Lookout got a $4.4-million lifeline after the James Bay office warned it would have to close down without more operating funds, despite a growing number of suicides.
Those funds will keep Payukotayno in operation until the end of March while the government works on a longer-term strategy.
NDP critic Gilles Bisson has been calling for a long-term plan to deal with underfunding at other Children's Aid Society offices in the north before similar crises erupt elsewhere.
Children's Aid Societies in several other areas face funding shortfalls, and are contemplating cuts to core services including abuse prevention programs and court-ordered visits to children in foster and residential care in the face of a $67-million shortfall.
Offices such as Centre Jeanne Sauve, which serves the francophone community in Kapuskasing, are also struggling, and threatening to lay off staff by February.