Children’s Advocate report highlights Sask. Party failings

The Saskatchewan Advocate for Children and Youth’s annual report shows that the Sask. Party is continuing to fail on many fronts when it comes to providing the best for Saskatchewan children.

“The Sask. Party has said they support closing the education funding gap for on-reserve students, but once again those are empty words that show no real action,” said NDP Social Services Critic Trent Wotherspoon. “Aside from our calls to action, the Children’s Advocate called on the Sask. Party to work with the First Nations on improved funding from the federal government, and it’s long past time for the Sask. Party to put aside their bluster and get to work on ensuring fairness for on-reserve students.”

In the report, the Advocate highlighted key areas where Saskatchewan children are not getting the care or attention they need. One of his main concerns is the “unacceptable” graduation rates of the province’s Indigenous population: 43 per cent among Indigenous youth compared to 85 per cent among non-Indigenous youth.

Another area the Advocate did not see meaningful progress in is with the growing number of children in the province’s care. There are 750 more children in care than there were five years ago and the majority of these children are Indigenous. Sixty-five per cent of the children who were critically injured while in the province’s care were First Nations or Metis.

“Despite it being the very first call to action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s report, the Sask. Party has failed to take any meaningful action on their commitment to reduce the number of Aboriginal children in care,” Wotherspoon said. “The Sask. Party needs to step up and finally fulfill its promises to Indigenous communities and peoples because too many children are getting left behind.”