Current Problems

Child Welfare (1-5)

The Overlap Between the Child Welfare and Youth Criminal Justice Systems:

October 28, 2021

Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs – AMC remains concerned regarding the continued lack of supports in place to ensure that youth in care successfully transition after aging out of the Child Welfare system in Manitoba.
First Nations children and youth make up approximately 80% of the number of children in care in this province. With the lack of existing supports, the reality is that many First Nations children aging out of care will become homeless and/or become involved with the justice system. This is documented in several studies, most recently, the Manitoba Centre for Health Policy (MCHP) report, The Overlap Between the Child Welfare and Youth Criminal Justice Systems: Documenting “Cross-Over Kids” in Manitoba, which found significant evidence that involvement in the CFS system is a strong risk factor for contact with the youth criminal justice system.”
The report found that more than one-third of youth in care were charged with at least one crime and by age 21, almost one-half had been charged with a criminal offence. The study also found that First Nations children and youth were greatly over-represented in both the CFS and criminal justice systems. Additionally, according to the 2018 Winnipeg Street census, at least 50 per cent of homeless people surveyed were involved in the CFS system with two-thirds of those having become homeless within the first year of aging out of care.
Young women who have aged out of care are also identified as being more vulnerable to being assaulted, murdered, or going missing. In 2018, First Nations Family Advocate Cora Morgan testified to the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls and said, “I think it’s really critical for us to be able to have that voice recognized – that there is a direct link between MMIWG and the child welfare system.”