Thursday, April 2, 2015

Child Care in Foster: Who's Fault Is It?

WINNIPEG – The 15 year old girl brutally beaten in downtown Winnipeg this week was in the care of Child and Family Services at the request of her grandmother who had trouble controlling her, family members say.
Global News is protecting the identity of the teen who remains in critical condition at Winnipeg’s Children’s Hospital with “severe head trauma.”
A 15 year old boy who was also a ward of CFS and staying in the same downtown hotel as the victim has been charged in the attack early Wednesday morning on Hargrave Street.

“Where are the people that were supposed to be watching them, were they sleeping? Like, get real you guys, get a grip on yourselves.”
Manitoba’s Family Services minister Kerri Irvin-Ross promised Wednesday that all CFS kids in hotels will be moved to safer locations by June 1st

 These are the headlines from today's incident in Winnipeg.
I could be talking about something I really know nothing about, but here goes. 

I listened to this lady being interviewed on the news today and talked about the young girls (who was left beaten sexually assaulted)  character. The woman said "she is just a regular person, good to be with and all that". She also said this, "where are the people that are supposed to be watching them..."

I can see that but I can also see the reality of the situation. The hotel situation and keeping kids in rooms. These young people are in care. This young people are not in jail.  That means the care giver has no real means to hold them. Do they? What are they suppose to do when these young people want to leave? Physically restrain them? The tools they have is to report them as leaving. That is the tool that is available. I mean after all they are not their parents, are they?

It comes down to what have the kids done to be in this situation? Many times and most times nothing. They are born in a situation beyond their control.

It is us, as parents, we have to try to live up to the role of being a parent. The parent role is to take care of our children.

Our parents are the ones. We need our parents to become parents. 

In some cases its difficult. We are in bad places ourselves. But is that the fault of the child? No fucking way.
It is still our responsibility. So everytime I hear someone calling down a care giver, I kind of get a little bit sad and sometimes angry. Angry at the situation. The child should be with family. Family should mean something to parents. Don't we want the best for our kids? Are we so damn selfish that we can't try to give them that? I know, I know its complicated. It is. There is the plight of poverty; the strain of identity; the nature of addiction; the self image issues; the environment we live in; the selfish nature of people; the ugliness of addiction (I said that I know). In addition there is the rules of Child and Family Services; protect the child. That is the number one rule. That should be the number one rule of parents not just CFS.

It is easy to say, well its the parents fault, they should look after their children. That is the answer, its simple. But really its not. If things were good, parenting would not be a burden or worse a curse. Parents would be the protector of the child. They would live up to the mantra; "I would give my life for my child".  It's quite funny (pityful actually) that we won't even give up smoking around our kid, never mind give our life for our children.  Being a parent is about sacrifice or at least it should be. If we want to go out and drink, shouldn't we make sure our kids have some food, clothes and a safe place first?  What about taking pills? Don't we know everything we do has effect on our children? For some of us we need help. That is why some of us turn to CFS to help. In this case that is what took place. Sadly the situation turned horrible for all involved. And what of our own community? Why is that we can't have our children with family? Like our Aunties, Cousins, Grannies?  What is the obstacle that keeps kids from staying with their family?  Is it the rules of the CFS? In some case (many times) it is. It is because many of the "rules" of housing children is not reflective of the real housing situation in our communities. One room to child, is near to impossible in our homes. So that one rule takes lot of our family out of the equation for housing a child.

As for the incident in where the 15 year old girl was brutually attacked and killed: Can you imagine how awful everyone involved feels?  The horror of having been the person watching the child; the grandparent who sought help from CFS for the situation of a unruly child. It is a situation where there will be lot of self blame and blame on others as well. Lot of fault.

There are no easy answers for the CFS situation. There are lot of critics and blamers that is for sure. What we need is less blame and more answers. How to make things better for the children. How do we make sure they are protected? It starts with the parents, the family circle and the community.It starts with the rule makers understanding the reality of the situation and the imposing of rules that don't fit in the community. There is lot of fault or blame to go around but we need to keep focused on the number one rule: Protect the Child.

We need parents to be parents. Not parents to put blame elsewhere. We need to help those parents. Let's own those words, that "it takes a community to raise a child"  and not CFS.

In the smaller communities and Reserves, all the care organization, social economic political should be networking to see how they can help the parents. Not cuddle them of course, but ensure they have the resources to get help; like addictions, like life skills, like training, like counseling. Instead of being little islands of care agencies (Health Center, probations, housing, social, education, NAADAP, CFS) trying to be their own king and queens.  Try talking to each other. How can the collective agencies/organizations work together to help these kids and families? 

We have to OWN the protection of children.


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  2. Thank you. I am not sure if I deserve a thumps up. After all it is easy to be critical but real gratitude should go to all those parents caregivers who are being there for kids. Thanks.