72 Indigenous children connected to child welfare died in northern Ontario, where three Indigenous agencies covering most of the territory were underfunded approximately $400 million over a five-year period. The number of deaths jumps to 102 Indigenous children when looking at the entire province between 2013 to 2017. Almost half of the deaths, 48 in total, happened in the two years it took Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to respond to multiple orders made by the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal that first found Canada guilty of purposely underfunding on-reserve child welfare in its historic decision on Jan. 26, 2016.
Suicide = 38; Accident = 24; Undetermined = 22; Natural = 17; Homicide = 1 (APTN)
But while the federal government may be the bagman, funding at least 93 per cent of on-reserve child welfare, the Ontario government created the system where these children died and provides the law within which the child welfare agencies operate. It’s a system that has been found to be a complete failure over and over up until just last year when the chief coroner of Ontario released a special report into the deaths of 12 children who died in care, eight of whom were Indigenous. During the five-year period between 2013 and 2017 the coroner lists 541 deaths involving child welfare and 102 were Indigenous. Indigenous people represent less than three per cent of Ontario’s population.
“Safe with Intervention” – Report of the Expert Panel on the deaths of Children and Youth in residential Placements September 2018. Office of the Chief Coroner
To the Government of Canada and the Government of Ontario:
- Immediately provide equitable, culturally and spiritually safe and relevant services to Indigenous young people, families and communities in Ontario.
To the Ministries of Children, Community and Social Services, Education, Health and Long-Term Care, and Indigenous Affairs:
- Identify and provide a set of core services and support an integrated system of care for young people and their families across a wholistic continuum to every child in Ontario.
- Services must include health, mental health and wellbeing, education, recreation, child care, children’s mental health, early intervention services, prevention services and developmental services. Service provision should be geared to the needs and intensity of needs, of each young person and family.
- Develop a wholistic approach to the identification of, service planning for and service provision to high-risk young people (with or without child welfare involvement) that supports continuity of care to age 21 years.
- Strengthen accountability and opportunities for continuous improvement of the systems of care through measurement, evaluation and public reporting.
To the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services:
- Immediately enhance the quality and availability of placements for young people in care.