26/02/2009

Saskatchewan Child Poverty. Everyone to Blame

On December 11 I wrote about Canada's shameful record when it comes to child poverty. Well this month it is in the news again.
  • It is reported that in British Columbia, they have held the record for the having the highest levels of child poverty for five years.
  • In Ontario 90 children died in 2008, while "in the care" of the government.
  • The Saskatchewan's Children's Advocate Marvin Bernstein reports that Saskatoon has the highest level of overcrowding in foster care in Canada
Shameful!

In the face of all this the CanWest owned Regina Leader Post's front page is all about boosterism. Their latest campaign is to push as hard as they can to get a new stadium built. The story about the Children's Advocate's report turned up on A7.

The report is shocking. As many as 21 children were placed in one foster home in Saskatoon. The current provincial guideline is four children per home. The highest number the Bernstein could find anywhere else in Canada, was nine. The situation was liken by one psychologist to "a puppy mill". The report also documents numerous cases of physical, sexual, emotional and psychological abuse.

Saskatchewan's Social Services Minister Donna Harpauer calls the revelations in the report on foster homes profoundly disturbing. She said the state of foster care in the province has been steadily worsening for two decades, but has never been addressed. Notwithstanding that, she says don't expect a quick fix. Since taking on the portfolio, Harpauer has gained a solid reputation as someone who points fingers and shifts blame, rather than that of a minister who understands and accepts her own responsibility.

Of course it will take time Donna. There are more important things to take care of like, nuclear power, a new stadium for the Riders and things like essential services. But don't worry, these children don't vote and probably never will.

Before the opposition members gloat too much about this story it should be remembered that the sad situation that exists at Social Services got into the state it is under the New Democrats. In fact former Premier Lorne Calvert was in the portfolio now held by Harpaur for a while. It isn't about politics, it is about fixing the problem.

Why is it that it today's world we need agencies like Child Poverty

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