Caroline Tait is a medical anthropologist at the University of Saskatchewan and was speaking at the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations health conference in Saskatoon on Tuesday.
She told the audience that children experience abuse and neglect within the system because of policies that are in place.
Tait and her team of researchers have interviewed dozens of people who have been apprehended by social services and moved around.
She says their data shows that children are more likely to come in contact with an abusive foster parent when they are consistently uprooted.
Tait says the recommendations submitted to the province by the Children's Advocate Office earlier this year are nearly identical to a list of changes requested twenty years ago.
"I think we can all agree that a child who has moved ten, twenty, thirty times in care, that that's unethical," said Tait, who studies the role of ethics for children in foster care.
"When we look at what that does to a person's sense of self, it has a huge, enormous mental health impact."
Tait said children in foster care also suffer a stigma at school when they move, because they show up in a class in the middle of the school year.
While Tait acknowledges there are positive changes happening, she said there are still a number of things that are not being done well.
The conference continues Wednesday.