Manitoba's Children's Advocate says CFS kids staying in jail too long
Published Wednesday, April 15, 2015 2:15PM CST
Last Updated Wednesday, April 15, 2015 11:17PM CST
Manitoba's Children's Advocate says, kids in government care are being kept in jail long after they should be released because there is nowhere else to put them.
The Province's Children's Advocate says even she receives calls from judges who want to release offenders from police custody, but can't because of the lack of foster care spots.
A girl who can't be identified, says she was a ward of Child and Family Services since she was a baby.
The girl says says spending time at the Manitoba Youth Centre became somewhat normal for her as a teen.
"I didn't know how to handle my anger for one because I wasn't taught that," she said.
The girl told CTV News she was sent there for an assault, breaching curfews and running away.
"The second time I was there, I was released and I had to stay there. A worker was supposed to meet me at court but no one showed up. It kinda makes us feel bad, makes us feel like we're not wanted. There's times where I cried because I felt very bad," she added.
Neither the Justice Department nor CFS track how many youth stay in the Youth Centre longer than they should.
But the Premier says he's concerned.
"If that's the case, it is always a concern. We want our children with their families. We want children safely at home with their families. With their community. That's always a priority," said Greg Selinger, Premier of Manitoba.
Cora Morgan, who works with youth in the justice system, says many of the young people she sees, who are wards of CFS only face criminal charges after being involved with CFS.
"We see a lot of charges every week, it could be throwing an empty bottle of water. It could be stepping off the curb in front of the group home after curfew and you're charged," said Cora Morgan of Onashowewin Justice Circle.
The Provincial child welfare critic, Ian Wishart says police custody is not an appropriate place for vulnerable children. He says the government isn't moving fast enough to end the practice.
"These are troubled kids keeping them in remand and institutional situations, probably not helping them," said Wishart.
Meanwhile the girl CTV with says she stays out of trouble now. She believes officials need to rethink how they deal with troubled teens before it's too late to really help them.