Current Problems

Child Welfare (1-5)

“Are They Listening?”

November 13, 2020

Manitoba Advocate for Children and Youth – Issued “Are They Listening?” her first public compliance report summarizing the provincial government’s responses to the Advocate’s recommendations issued in 2018 and 2019. “While there is movement, it is disappointing to note that over a period of two years, only two recommendations for service improvements have been implemented fully, and less than half (43%) of recommendations have achieved positive compliance assessments.

Of all the government departments monitored by the Advocate, compliance levels are as follows:

Justice: Partially compliant at 50%

  • Significant improvements overseeing pepper spray use and communicating victim services benefits to eligible children and youth.
  • Significant work remains on the issues of segregation and solitary confinement use in youth custody facilities.

Education & Training: Compliance limited at 38%

  • made some improvements and taken early steps to address chronic absenteeism, suspensions, and expulsions.

Families: Mid-level compliance at 35%

  • made investments to comply with recommendations on child and youth sexual exploitation,
    have only taken early steps to address improvements to the quality assurance of child welfare services.
  • Additional areas that remain concerning include staff training and knowledge as well as outdated service standards.

Health, Seniors and Active Living: low compliance rating averaging 25%.

  • Improving mental health and addiction services lag behind and have not progressed significantly since they were issued.
  • Child death reviews and investigations continue to see this as an area with significant gaps for children, youth, young adults, and their families

The 23 recommendations were issued in the first four special reports under The Advocate for Children and Youth Act, which came into force in spring 2018. The 23 recommendations were from:

  • Documenting the Decline: The Dangerous Space Between Good Intentions and Meaningful Interventions (2018) – Circling Star,
  • In Need of Protection: Angel’s Story (2018) (38% compliant)
  • Learning from Nelson Mandela: A Report on the Use of Solitary Confinement and Pepper Spray in Manitoba Youth Custody Facilities (2019) (42% compliant)
  • A Place Where it Feels Like Home: The Story of Tina Fontaine (2019). (45% compliant)