Last year at a camp in southern New Brunswick I met Evan. Before turning eight, he had bounced from foster home to foster home. He was sent to camp without a bathing suit or sufficient lunch. Regardless, Evan smiled constantly, excelled in school and had a striking sense of compassion. I still think about Evan all the time — what allowed him to thrive in spite of the cards he had been dealt?
What happens to kids who authorities determine can’t live safely with their own parents or caregivers? Thousands of Canadian children are in this situation right now. Many go into foster homes, while others go into other types of out-of-home care on behalf of child welfare agencies. But we don’t know how many, nor do we know how well they are doing.
Six advocates for First Nations children have gone on a symbolic hunger strike at the Manitoba Legislature to try to raise awareness across the country about Manitoba’s broken child welfare system. Why? Well, here’s one fact that should make most Canadians sit up and take notice