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New Brunswick Auditor-General Kim MacPherson is seen in a Jan. 16, 2019, file photo. MacPherson says the failure to adequately manage the placement and care of the children can result in suicide attempts, addictions, long-term mental health challenges and homelessness.

Kevin Bissett/The Canadian Press

New Brunswick’s auditor-general says vulnerable children in group homes are at risk because of poor planning, ineffective standards and weak monitoring by the Department of Social Development.

Kim MacPherson says the failure to adequately manage the placement and care of the children can result in suicide attempts, addictions, long-term mental health challenges and homelessness.

In a report released today, MacPherson says a decline in available foster homes means more children – and younger children – are being housed in group homes.

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MacPherson says she’s troubled by the increase in children five and under living in the facilities.

She says it’s estimated that every 10 children placed in a group home instead of a foster home costs the province $1.6-million annually.

The auditor-general makes 17 recommendations to improve standards and procedures.

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