- by Allison Dunfield
A message from Jay Rodgers, Deputy Minister, Families
The sexual exploitation and sex trafficking of children and youth is a serious concern in Manitoba and around the globe. Sexual exploitation has serious adverse impacts on victims, families and communities, and ending this abuse requires the collaboration of individuals, communities and governments.
March 15, 2018 is Stop Child Sexual Exploitation Awareness Day. To mark this important occasion, the Westman Team Against Sexual Exploitation, supported through Manitoba’s Strategy to Combat Sexual Exploitation, is presenting a free full-day awareness event in Brandon, Manitoba at the Clarion Hotel. This event will feature speakers to raise awareness about sexual exploitation and human trafficking, musical performances by the Sweet Medicine Singers, and provide great networking opportunities for staff and organizations involved in this important work.
You can find more information about the event and the registration form at this link. Please register by March 8, 2018.
A report in the B.C. publication The Tyee discusses the issue of the difficulties faced by children when one or more of their parents is in prison. The study says that about 350,000 children across the country are affected by this issue, yet there are few supports in place for them.
In advance of the upcoming meeting with Jane Philpott, federal Minister of Indigenous Services, on January 25-26, 2018, provincial and territorial ministers responsible for child and family services convened to discuss emerging opportunities.
The ministers reaffirmed their commitment to addressing the overrepresentation of Indigenous children and youth in care and to improving outcomes for Indigenous children and youth. They discussed the importance of meaningful collaboration with Indigenous leaders and communities and the government of Canada on the federal reform of child and family services for Indigenous children, youth, and families, and issued the following statement:
A recent story from Rise magazine's Building a Bridge workbook tells the story of how an American birth mother, whose son was taken into foster care for a time, began to trust, and eventually develop a relationship with her son's foster mother.
Says the mother, Lynn Miller (whose son was returned home after she addressed her addiction issues):
"I’ve felt grateful that my son has had another family that enriches his life. I also feel good that I’m no longer an angry, jealous and resentful person, but one who can appreciate that my son benefits from the caring of a family that took him into their hearts and home."
A group photo of the first gathering held last summer in Seattle.
A unique partnership has been developed between foster and birth parents in the United States. Named the Birth and Foster Parent Partnership, it hosted its first meeting in Seattle last summer.
The partnership is aimed at changing the current environment surrounding foster parents and birth parents.
“We’re trying to make shifts in culture,” said Meryl Levine, senior associate for the National Alliance of Children’s Trust and Prevention Funds. “We want to elevate parents’ voices and let stories be heard to improve policy and practice and keep families together.”
Minnesota has joined several other states in launching an initiative which seeks to enhance parenting skills among foster parents, biological parents who may be struggling to regain custody of their children, and kinship caregivers who have stepped up to parent family members.
A group called Treehouse in Seattle is helping to ensure young people in foster care graduate from high school.
Starting in 2012, they set an ambitious goal: Raise the high school graduation rate for foster youth to be on par with the rest of the city's kids. Starting in 2012, they gave themselves five years to do it.
The graduation rate of students involved with the Treehouse program is now 89 per cent.
On Dec. 21, 2017, Minister of Families Scott Fielding announced the appointment of a seven-member team to review Manitoba’s child welfare legislation.
The Child Welfare Legislative Review Committee will hold targeted consultations with key stakeholders to discuss ways to transform the legislation that guides the child and family services system: The Child and Family Services Act, The Child and Family Services Authorities Act, and their respective regulations.
The consultations and legislative review process will allow for creative and collective thought about how outcomes for vulnerable children and youth throughout the province can be improved.
The committee will have its first meeting today.
A HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS is back!
CBS announced that singer-songwriter Josh Groban will headline the 19th annual A HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS, to be broadcast Tuesday, Dec. 19 (8- 9PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. Also, Kelly Clarkson, Kacey Musgraves and Kane Brown are set to perform on the special.
A HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS features uplifting stories of adoption from foster care and raises awareness of this important social issue. The inspirational stories of these American families are enhanced with performances by some of today’s most popular artists.
Watch it Tuesday, Dec. 19 at 8 p.m. local time on CBS!
A recent column in The Chronicle of Social Change talks about how difficult it is for foster youths in the United States to transition out of care when they turn 18, and how social capital can help those youths, especially when it comes to finding affordable housing.
"Imagine that on your 18th birthday, someone who you trust dearly calls to inform you that you are no longer welcome in your own home after years of living there. This person isn’t your brother, cousin, aunt, or uncle. It’s a social worker, the person representing you while you are in foster care.
Your social worker calls to inform you that the foster home you were living in for three years no longer wants you there because the government stopped paying for your bed. She explains that you need to leave the home within the week, but by the time you reach the doorstep to retrieve your belongings, they are already packed into garbage bags and waiting for you on the porch.
Your transition into adulthood has abruptly begun. This was my experience.
Most young people look forward to the day they will turn 18. It marks the beginning of a time for exploration, growth, and new beginnings. But for young people who grow up in the U.S. foster care system, turning 18 can often be a troubling and startling experience.
Too many youth emancipate from foster care without the social capital invested in their teenage peers. By social capital, I mean the critical factors that help most young people transition to adulthood: stable housing, assistance with education, and supportive adult relationships."