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.



Crown Ward Speaks

February 23, 2011 permalink

Here is a rare news article quoting a named crown ward, Khris Finley.



Crown kids have ‘different issues’

Local teens share their concerns about the education system

Khris Finley isn't a typical student.

He was put up for foster care at the age of 12. In the last four years, he's attended 15 different schools and has been in and out of countless foster families.

Finley, 16, was one of five Crown wards who gave school boards and social service agencies a glimpse into his life and how they can better help students like him. There are more than 100 Crown wards in the Nipissing, Parry Sound and Muskoka regions.

"The education view has got to change," Finley said Tuesday during a symposium sponsored by the Crown Ward Championship Team for the districts of Nipissing, Parry Sound and Muskoka.

He told the crowd of professionals from area school boards, Children's Aid Society of Nipissing and Parry Sound, Hands Family Health Network and Nipissing University and Canadore College, that a cookie-cutter approach doesn't work for all students.

"The biggest thing is for school boards to accept that students all have different issues."

Finley said he noticed there were problems when he started asking questions.

"I'm looking at attending university, but I need help with funding and support," he said. "What bursaries and grants are out there? And what options do we have? Kids in care don't have anyone to run too or someone to ask for a bit of cash to help them out. We're much more independent. We have to be."

Dr. Bruce Ferguson, an advocate for children and youth and director of the Community Health Systems Resource Group at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, was the event's guest speaker.

"We have to do everything we can to allow these young people to succeed despite the challenges they face," he said.

Ferguson said there are many reasons why children in care don't do well.

He said schools are dealing with children who have mental health problems.

"Students today have multiple and complex needs," Ferguson said.

"They live in a complicated world with a lot of uncertainty. Young people run on their hopes and dreams."

Katreen Wheeler, 16, is optimistic about her future but she didn't always feel that way.

She went into foster care at the age of seven was bullied in elementary school.

She said she was beat up because she was in foster care and was called "dirty" and "bad."

"My past is terrible, but that doesn't mean I don't deserve a good future."

The Crown Ward Championship Team was created by the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Family and Youth Services and Ministry of Colleges and Universities.

Source: North Bay Nugget