Source: The Canadian Press
Jul 25, 2018
By Ryan McKenna
THE CANADIAN PRESS
REGINA _ Saskatchewan’s Opposition is calling on the provincial government to appoint an Indigenous children’s advocate.
NDP deputy leader Carla Beck says there needs to be an immediate change to ensure vulnerable children can be kept in their homes.
The New Democrats also want a review of child-welfare legislation.
A camp with more than a dozen teepees has been set up across from the legislature since late February, in part to highlight the disproportionate number of Indigenous children apprehended by child-welfare workers.
The number of children in out-of-home care in Saskatchewan was 5,257 at the end of March.
The government says that figure represents all children in the province’s care, including kids who are in the care of extended family or who are seized off-reserve and then transferred to a First Nations child and family services agency.
Beck says the creation of an Indigenous children’s advocate is supported by Saskatchewan’s children’s advocate and the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations.
“This is an issue that with the status quo, with promises by the government but not backing them up, is getting worse,” Beck said Wednesday. “We are seeing a higher percentage of kids in care and we are seeing the overall numbers increasing.”
Protesters and government officials met July 2 to discuss concerns but protesters have said they will stay put until at least a second meeting is arranged.
Regina police officers moved in to break up the camp last month _ arresting six people before releasing them without charge _ but more teepees were set up again a few days later.
“You cannot arrest your way out of this,” said Buckley Belanger, NDP critic for First Nations and Metis relations. “There has to be some significant work in fixing the system.”
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