British Columbia

WEEKLY NEWS UPDATE – OCTOBER 25, 2015

  • ON PAIGE – Following the drug overdose of Paige, a 19-year-old aboriginal youth in Vancouver BC, Children’s Minister Stephanie Cadieux stated in her news release that the Ministry has implemented a policy to help their front-line workers to understand their responsibilities to help children in the ministry’s care. Even though this has not been the first aboriginal youth death in the past month, Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond, BC’s Children and Youth representative had to draw attention to the “persistent professional indifference” of government authorities such as police, educators and social workers towards aboriginal youth. (Vancouver Sun).
  • Although the aboriginal youth, only identified as Paige, died in April of 2013, her story has only recently sparked media attention (Vancouver Sun).
  • ON BC’S CHILD WELFARE SYSTEM – The British Columbia’s Children and Family Development Ministry is currently aiding and supporting 10 “super-high risk” children and another 40 to 50 high at risk children, yet Turpel-Fond have said that the province’s child welfare system is stretched thin. Also according to Cadieux, the system needs to be reevaluated (The Globe and Mail).

“There wasn’t a lack of services necessarily and there wasn’t a lack of desire to assist,” she said.

“What there was, was a system that definitely did not talk to itself together the way it should. We need to knit that system together better to ensure that nobody falls through the cracks.”

— Stephanie Cadieux, as quoted in the Globe and Mail

  • ON YOUTH HOMELESSNESS – Even though a 2013 research project led by United Way York Region in Toronto, Ont. with 60 youth participants found that 92 per cent of them experienced homelessness due to family issues, the stigma still remains that homeless young adults are juvenile delinquents. Inexpensive housing and the availability of low-cost rental in York, Ont. is in short supply, while York Region alone has 12.9 per cent of young people living below poverty line. This shows that downtown Toronto isn’t the only area with an increasing rate of youth homelessness; the York Region’s homeless youth population is also growing (The Star).

WEEKLY NEWS UPDATE – OCTOBER 11, 2015

  • ON YOUTH – Before Alex Gervais’ death, he was placed in an Abbotsford hotel while in the care of British Columbia’s Ministry of Children and Family Development, even though its policy states that they should not place youths in hotels unsupervised (Global News).
  • ON FOSTER CARE SYSTEM – After the age of 19, foster care support is no longer provided for young adults in British Columbia, even though this can lead to high statistics of homelessness, unemployment, poverty, drug and alcohol abuse and incarceration among those who have gone through the system (Vancouver Sun).
  • ON CHILD WELFARE  – Alberta’s child welfare authorities were aware of the abusive and violent history of a man who lived in a remote community 750 kilometers north of Edmonton. But no action was taken to prevent further harm to his son and wife, which eventually led to the son shooting the father (Edmonton Journal).
  • AND MORE ON CHILDCARE SYSTEM – In response to the high rates of injuries and deaths of youth in government care, British Columbia has made some changes, such as hiring more social workers and adding more hospital beds. But, as seen in the cases of Alex Gervais and Alex Malamalatabua, there is still an absence of complex health and mental care within the childcare system (Globe and Mail).