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British Columbia

Systemic review of B.C. government supports for Indigenous children required: report

VICTORIA — The overdose death of a 17-year-old on her birthday has prompted a call for a systemic review of British Columbia’s supports for Indigenous children and youth in care.

Jennifer Charlesworth, B.C.’s representative for children and youth, wants the B.C. Ministry of Children and Family Development to review the cultural and family resources it provides to promote belonging and identity to Indigenous children in care.

She says in a report released today the life and death of the Indigenous teen named Skye illustrates the critical need for children in government care to feel connected to family, culture and community.

Charlesworth says the teen’s legacy is one where a bright, energetic child spent 12 years in government care and was moved 15 times without being able to experience a sense of belonging to her family or community.

Skye was removed from her mother’s care when she was five years old and Charlesworth says the girl never saw her family or home community again, despite her desire to reconnect. 

Mitzi Dean, B.C.’s children’s minister, says in a statement the government is steadfast in its goal of keeping Indigenous children safely with their families and connected to their culture and communities.  

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 10, 2021.

The Canadian Press