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Most Missing Persons are Foster Kids
April 25, 2015 permalink
Manitoba opposition leader Brian Pallister has disclosed that most missing persons in his province are foster children.
Majority of missing people are CFS kids: Tories
New information released by the opposition Tories shows the majority of the over 6,500 people reported missing in Winnipeg last year were youth in the care of Child and Family Services.
And the number has climbed over the past five years.
At a press conference on Tuesday, Tory leader Brian Pallister and his family services critic, Ian Wishart, argued the Selinger government is failing in protecting kids in care.
“The fact that these children are reported missing means they are not receiving the care they desperately need and deserve,” said Pallister.
According to a January Winnipeg Police Board brief, more than 6,500 people are reported missing each year and “most are vulnerable youth who are in the care of Child and Family Services.”
In total, according to the Canadian Police Information Centre’s statistical report, 6.458 children and youth were reported missing across the province in 2014.
The Tories also noted in the last five years, the total number of reported missing children and youth has increased by 22% in the province, while the average in Canada has decreased 20%.
“We are headed in the wrong direction ... so we compared ourselves to other provinces and found that we were way higher than any other province out there,” Wishart said.
According to federal statistics, girls in Manitoba are six times more likely to be reported as runways than across Canada, the Tories noted.
Wishart said 15-year-old Tina Fontaine, who was tragically murdered last summer, has become the face for at-risk youth who run away. Fontaine was under the care of CFS at the time of her murder and had recently run away from her foster home.
Family Services Minister Kerri Irvin-Ross said one child going missing or running away is one too many.
“However, one thing that needs to be clear is that the vast majority are returned within 48 hours and that happens because of the co-operation between Street Reach and the Winnipeg Police Service,” she said. “We are very quick to post a picture and give a description and ask Manitobans to help find the children.”
She also said the figures are only the amount of reports filed and often chronic runaways in the system are reported multiple times throughout the year, inflating the numbers.
“Some families in our province are experiencing a multitude of challenges and barriers and I think as a society we need to address the issues related to poverty, to residential schools, to colonization and the ‘60s scoop,” she said.
Source: Winnipeg Sun