POLITICS

Manitoba chief wants study into link between foster system, residential schools

06/02/2015 10:11 EDT | Updated 06/02/2016 05:59 EDT
WINNIPEG - The grand chief of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs hopes there will be further exploration of the parallels between the residential school system and the disproportionate number of indigenous children in foster care today.

Derek Nepinak says both are built on systemic racism and the belief "that someone else's ideas are better" when it comes to caring for aboriginal children.

His comments came Tuesday in reaction to the release of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s report into the church-run, government-funded schools which operated in Canada for more than 120 years.

Manitoba has about 10,000 children in care, and most are aboriginal.

The number has skyrocketed in the last decade and the system has not been able to keep up with an adequate number of foster homes and emergency shelters.

Recently, the provincial government promised to stop using hotels as emergency placements for children in the child welfare system, although it said while Winnipeg was on track to do so by Monday's deadline, the same isn't true in rural and northern Manitoba.

The move by Family Services Minister Kerri Irvin-Ross came after Tina Fontaine, 15, ran away from a downtown hotel where she was housed and ended up being killed and dumped in the Red River.

Last month, another 15-year-old girl in care was attacked and left clinging to life — allegedly by a boy being housed at the same hotel. Kids in hotels are often supervised by employees of private contractors and not fully trained social workers.

Reducing the number of aboriginal children in foster care is one of the 94 recommendations made in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission report.

(CTV Winnipeg)