While many Canadian parents celebrate Family Day with their loved ones, the Canadian Press shines a spotlight on children who are doing anything but.
In a piece that paints the Canadian foster care system as being in crisis, CP cites child welfare advocates who claim that children are being placed in foster care without full safety checks, “while others wind up in supervised apartments or overcrowded homes.”
“There are problems when you hear people from the front line talking about the fact that we're placing kids in homes where the study hasn't been done," Peter Dudding, executive director of the Child Welfare League of Canada told CP. "We've got kids being placed in homes where the home is over the allowable number of children. This is just wrong and it's dangerous."
These revelations come at a time when at least one province, Ontario, is undergoing a dramatic shift in its domestic public adoption practices in the hopes of adopting out a higher number of children in government care - as international adoption may be losing its lustre.
CP reports irregularities in British Columbia, for one, where the province’s children's advocate “has reviewed the child-welfare system extensively over the years, finding numerous instances of children being placed in homes that weren't adequately screened.”
Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond, B.C.'s representative for children and youth, told CP that, “some caregivers had criminal records involving sexual offenses, but were used because the welfare system was desperate for a placement.
“In one case, a four-year-old girl was removed from the care of her aunt in 2006 after she was found to be neglected, malnourished and suffering from recurring physical abuse. An investigation found that the aunt had not been appropriately screened.”
Most observers, CP reports, agree that that foster children are “less likely to finish high school and are over-represented in the criminal justice system.”
While statistics appear maddeningly difficult to compile, experts suggest that between 76,000 and 85,000 kids are in foster care in Canada. And foster-care rates can range between $23 and just over $30 a day, according to CP. "Nobody raises a kid on $30 a day," one expert said.
Have you ever been a foster child? Or parent? Would you consider it?