Questions surface over province’s plan to get kids in care out of hotels
Published Thursday, April 9, 2015 10:28AM CST Last Updated Thursday, April 9, 2015 10:36AM CST
The province plans to hire enough workers within a couple of months to work in Child and Family Services and keep kids in care out of hotels.
Some say that's not realistic, including one teen girl in care who’s been in and out of care since she was seven years old.
CTV can't identify her but said she feels life would've been better if she could have stayed with her parents instead of placed in the care of CFS.
"I wouldn't have the regrets I have in my mind everyday about what I did. When I was 12 years old, I started working the sex trade due to CFS," said the girl.
She still does and says a life of being in care led her to where she is now and says life for her doesn’t seem to be getting better.
The girl says can't recall how many foster homes, group homes or hotels she's was placed in over the years, but it's many she says and that staying in hotels is the worst.
"You're allowed to go out anytime, the workers never really paid attention, they never did, they would just sit on their on their phones," she added.
In the last four years, the province has booked thousands of rooms throughout Winnipeg for children in care.
And since 2011, there were only 11 days when there were no children in care staying in hotels.
In the last year alone, the province spent more than $925,000 for accommodations and paid workers $6.3 million to look after them.
"It is certainly appalling. It is not a shock however to me. I know they were extremely reliant on the hotels," said Ian Wishart, PC family services critic.
Wishart doubts the province's plan to stop placing children in hotels is realistic.
Especially if the province still needs to find more beds, recruit foster parents and hire up to 210 workers for kids who need emergency or specialized care.
"My guess is that on June 1, they will publish a number of zero. That'd be great for that day. Where will be in two weeks past that? That would be the real question," said Wishart.
By June 1, the province committed to phasing out placing kids in hotels after incidents involving Tina Fontaine last summer and a 15-year-old girl found beaten downtown last Wednesday.
The province said it's confident the practice of placing children in hotels is coming to an end and are not renewing contracts with agencies that had workers watching the children placed in hotels.
The Foster Care Network said since the incident involving the assault of a young girl last Wednesday, more people are signing up to be foster parents.
On average, there are six a week and in the past three days, there have been 13 calls of people interested in fostering.