Coroner’s report shows urgent need for change
Special to the Bulletin
Nishnawbe Aski Nation
Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler will propose that an implementation committee be convened to ensure a collaborative effort in the implementation of recommendations following a scathing report by Ontario’s Chief Coroner into the tragic losses of 12 young people who died while in care of child welfare agencies.
“This report shows the urgent need for change in the care of at-risk youth. We will propose that the federal and provincial governments task a committee with the implementation of these recommendations so that these tragedies are not repeated,” said Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler. “I thank the Chief Corner and panel members for this report, which echoes our fears over the treatment of youth in the child welfare system. I also acknowledge the families who shared the stories of these youth during this investigation, and we share their grief during this difficult process.”
The Report of the Expert Panel on the Deaths of Children and Youth in Residential Placements by the Chief Coroner of Ontario, concludes that the model used by Ontario focuses on services over the needs of the individual, and the systems involved in the care of these young people failed to meet their fundamental needs
Key findings include:
Overall quality of care is low, and there is a lack of oversight over agency homes. There is no way to monitor and track the length of placement or number of placement transfers.
There is a need for communication between child welfare agencies, placement and service providers.
There is a severe lack of mental health services in First Nation communities.
The identities of the young people (Indigenous, Black and LGBTQI2S) were not connected to identity-based programs or considered in relation to their care plans.
An expert panel reviewed systemic issues that led to the deaths of 12 youth placed in the care of provincial child welfare agencies between January 1, 2014 and July 31, 2017.
It recommends that:
Ontario must immediately enhance the quality and availability of placements for young people in care.
Canada must immediately provide equitable and spiritually safe and relevant services to Indigenous young people, families and communities in Ontario.
Ontario must strengthen accountability and opportunities for continuous improvement of the systems of care through measurement, evaluation and public reporting.
The Coroner's report can be found at: https://www.provincialadvocate.on.ca/publications/external-reports/safe-with-intervention.pdf