Youths in care speak on struggling under current CFS system
Sheila North Wilson, CTV Winnipeg
Published Friday, April 10, 2015 4:30PM CST
Last Updated Friday, April 10, 2015 5:42PM CST
The province plans on hiring new workers and trying to get kids out of care. But, some experts wonder if the province is able to fix a system they say is broken.
Some children in care say they're simply struggling to survive in the system, including two sisters who CTV can't identify because of their involvement with Child and Family Services. They said it's hard to make a go of life when you don't have life skills.
"They never really encouraged us how to do independent living or how to (write) resumes, how to cook," said one of the sisters.
Feeling like they have no direction in life, the girls said they cope by cutting themselves.
"It just helps. I think it helps. I got cuts on my fingers, on my hands," said the other sister, pointing at scars throughout her forearms.
Left with little choices as they approach adulthood, the girls said they do what they can to survive but it's not easy.
On the morning they sat down with CTV for an interview, they had been walking around all night looking for a way to feed themselves.
The province is trying to hire 210 permanent child care workers in the next two years to help with the 10,000 Manitoba kids in care, instead of relying on temporary contractors to work with them.
So far, the province said it has hired 50 new staff and is screening 75 more applicants for the jobs.
While every child's experience as a ward of CFS is different, experts said the whole system needs to change.
"Hiring more people, certainly that will help. But there's broader systemic issues placing a disproportionate number of indigenous children in care at the rate of 90 per cent is not acceptable. There must be a better way," said Leah Gazan from the University of Winnipeg.
Gazan compares the CFS system to the Indian Residential School system and said the province needs to rethink why it wants to control a system that she says is out of control.
The province said it also plans on creating 71 more emergency foster home spaces and increase emergency foster placements and supports in rural areas, all of it fully implemented by spring 2015.