Saskatchewan Advocate for Children and Youth report reveals alarming data
- EFN Staff | May 05, 2020
A recent report from the Saskatchewan Advocate for Children and Youth reveals alarming data. In 2019, 85% of the children and youth that died and 90% of the those critically injured were Indigenous.
The annual report also reveals that 34 children and youth died in care in 2019, 29 were First Nations or Metis and 28% of all deaths and critical injuries were result of suicide or self-harm. According to the report, “nearly half of the children who died were two years old or younger.”
“We must continue to work at influencing positive change through strategy, legislation and policy, and to support communities where young people are trying to lead this change,” stated the Saskatchewan Advocate for Children and Youth, Lisa Broda in the annual report. “Addressing the disparity of Indigenous children who are grossly overrepresented in the child welfare system. The urgency in which change must occur for Indigenous children cannot be overstated. Influencing all sectors that serve children to embrace reconciliation for improved outcomes for Indigenous children will be part of this priority. We must continue to address the issues that plague Indigenous children who are calling on us to support them.”
The 2019 report highlights the office’s ongoing commitment to elevate youth voice to inform and influence public policy initiatives and create meaningful improvements to services.
The report also reflects the office’s efforts relating to the longstanding systemic issues that continue to compromise the rights of children and youth in this province, impacting their need for appropriate services.
“We continue to work collaboratively to influence legislation, regulations and policy,” said Broda. “It’s imperative that we support entities to make the necessary changes that will result in better outcomes for children, while continuing to hold systems accountable.”
The Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations (FSIN) released a statement in response to the annual report stating there must be immediate action on Bill C-92.
“The death of one child - taken by a system that is supposed to protect that child - is too many,” stated FSIN Chief Bobby Cameron in a media release. “Residential schools and the child welfare system have destroyed generations of First Nations families leaving intergenerational trauma and little to no supports for these families.
We are going to take immediate action on this Act and we need the Federal Government to ensure that long-term financial supports are in place to ensure that it doesn’t fail.”
Bill C-92 Act was passed by the Federal Government in 2019 to allow First Nations to establish their own child welfare systems. First Nations welcomed the Act as a way to end Provincial Government child apprehensions and support self-determination, which more effectively meets the intent of child welfare programs by creating better outcomes for children and youth.
Highlights from this Annual Report:
- Collaboration with Advocates from across Canada to lead in the preparation of A National Paper on Youth Suicide, released in September 2019
- A year of interviews to gather lived experiences about Mental Health and Addictions Services in Saskatchewan
- Collaboration with Ministries to inform public policy
- Advocacy efforts to support a Bill for a National Commissioner for children and youth under federal jurisdiction
- Ongoing advocacy and monitoring of trends and statistics to promote more preventative measures
For full details visit www.saskadvocate.ca to view the 2019 Annual Report.