Some local care providers say CFS not taking advantage of available space
Published Friday, April 10, 2015 3:17AM CST Last Updated Friday, April 10, 2015 10:01AM CST
Manitoba has the highest rate of children in care in Canada.
The Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs says it needs its own advocate looking after the needs of their kids.
While some specialized care providers, including Julian Hardy says he has the space to help but so far CFS is not taking advantage of the spaces.
He set up to take in four foster kids in need of specialized care and is waiting to welcome three more young people to move in to his home, which comes complete with a gym.
"This is basically a high performance centre here," said Hardy as he pointed out his weight room.
Hardy says he was inspired to buy a house and design it in a way that youth in care would find comfortable and safe to live in after noticing some being housed in hotels last summer.
He observed some the challenges many of the teens were facing, as shift workers moved in and out of the rooms.
"In the evenings sometimes things would get a little bit rowdy there would often have to be police on site," said Hardy.
He says he couldn't just walk away and decided to help.
"Wondering how am I going to help and how many of these kids are there and how and why are they all in hotels and why isn't there consistent places for them to go that are safe," added Hardy.
The practice of housing kids in care goes back decades and now the province is vowing to move them all out permanently by June 1st.
Ontario has the highest rates of kids in care but only 18 percent are Native.
In Manitoba, there about 10,000 kids in care and 90 per cent of them are First Nations.
“The public needs to see that there's fundamental problems with the system,” said the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs Grand Chief Derek Nepinak.
AMC says the CFS system is broken.
“The system is creating more victims than it is providing for the services of children," said Nepinak.
Nepinak hopes to soon introduce AMC’s own advocate to oversee issues facing First Nations children and families.
As for Julian Hardy, he doesn't know when more kids will be moving in, but hopes it doesn't take long.