Review of Inuit kids in care in Canada’s Newfoundland-and-Labrador coming next week

This scene shows a foster mother in Roddickton, walking with two Indigenous children from Labrador, Atlantic Canada in 2017. (Terry Roberts/CBC)
An independent review of the treatment, experiences and outcomes of Inuit children and youth in the province’s child protection system will be released next week.

Jackie Lake Kavanagh, the province’s child and youth advocate, will deliver the report Sept. 4 in Nain, Labrador.

The Nunatsiavut (Inuit region of Labrador) government asked Lake Kavanagh in April 2018 to conduct the review.

“The review will identify deficiencies, explore promising and best practices, and make recommendations for improved outcomes within an appropriate cultural context,” said a news release issued at that time to announce the review.

Jackie Lake Kavanagh, Newfoundland and Labrador’s child and youth advocate, was approached by the Nunatsiavut government to conduct the independent review. (CBC)

The Nunatsiavut government asked for the review as concern about the overrepresentation of Indigenous children in protective care, both in the province and nationally, was growing.

Federal numbers released shortly before the Nunatsiavut government asked for the review showed 34 per cent of the 1,005 kids and youth in care in Newfoundland and Labrador at the time were Indigenous. Nearly half of those children were Inuit, the 2018 release said.

In 2017, a story by CBC News called Uprooted looked into why so many of Labrador’s children are in care far from home, living with families on the island in communities such as Roddickton and Englee.

“This is a historical issue with its roots in colonial practices reflected in residential schools, generations of families with histories of trauma, and social inequality. The status quo is not acceptable and cannot continue for Inuit children and youth,” Lake Kavanagh said in the 2018 release.

Related stories from around the North:

Canada: Nunavut lags behind rest of Canada for child care use, stats show, CBC News

Sweden: Inequality a problem in Swedish schools: UNICEF report, Radio Sweden

United States: Why are people moving away from Alaska?, Alaska Public Media

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