Children’s Advocate annual report shows troubling trends continue

The annual report released by Saskatchewan’s new Advocate for Children and Youth makes it clear that the Sask. Party continues to fail vulnerable children throughout the province. 

“This report shows the continuation of some troubling trends under the Sask. Party,” said NDP Social Services Critic Nicole Rancourt. “We see indigenous children continuously overrepresented in the child welfare system but under resourced. What we haven’t seen is a willingness from the Sask. Party to take the right steps to fix these issues.”

For years, the Children’s Advocate has been calling for the implementation of the Child and Family Agenda, and despite commitments to move forward, the Sask. Party actually abandoned the agenda a day after the Advocate released the 2015 annual report last year.

According to the report, the number of kids in care has risen to 4,946 and 38 of these children have suffered critical injuries and 21of them passed away while in care – 15 of whom were five years old or younger.

“The continued consequences of the Sask. Party’s broken promises are clear throughout the report,” Rancourt said. “We still have children living in hotels, kids are still being seriously injured and even dying while in care. Instead of using the very plans and programs that could help children in care, the Sask. Party abandoned them.”

In fact, the Sask. Party has taken no meaningful action in its Poverty Reduction Strategy, the Mental Health Action Plan, or the Early Years Plan. They have also failed to provide adequate mental health and psychiatric supports for those living in northern Saskatchewan.

“Every child between the ages of 11 and 15 who died in care this year, did so at their own hand,” said Rancourt. “It’s unacceptable that the Sask. Party is not doing everything possible to address this tragic crisis.