Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Awasis Child Welfare Agency under review

It's time some very "courageous" questions are asked of the First Nation Child Welfare Agencies and the people who operate or run them. Not just of the Executive Directors but their authorities too the Northern Authority in this case as well as the Director of the agencies.

But no, I suppose that would be more crazy talk because we know it’s really just a funding issue right? Twenty-two percent more money will fix the issue and reduce the number of children entering care. You want to believe that? The whole child welfare system is broken and ineffective for the complex needs that many of our communities must address.

When you only listen to one channel - the Directors of these agencies - it's easy to see why there is no voice for Indigenous children and why Indigenous children keep dying. The Agencies get richer and staff take more trips..more cars are bought etc...all in the name of our children though.

But hey, I’m just a crazy bitch so the rest of you go ahead follow the red herring and fight for equal access to a program that is killing our children. But I'll let you in on a secret that everyone else seems to know - the child welfare system is broken in mainstream too. We behave like donkeys with blinders chasing the carrot - we want to be just like those folk - cause they're the "experts".

Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION
Awasis director forced aside
Child welfare agency probed
By: Mary Agnes Welch
5/12/2009 1:00 AM |

Another child welfare agency boss has been suspended pending a review of his agency.
David Monias, the longtime executive director of the Awasis Agency, was placed on administrative leave a week ago by the Northern Authority, which is more than a year into a systemic review of how the child welfare agency serves kids in care.

"This is done while a quality assurance review of the agency is underway," said Rachel Morgan, a spokeswoman for Family Services Minister Gord Mackintosh. "The Northern Authority wanted to ensure the review was unbiased."

The Northern Authority, the umbrella office that overseas several child welfare agencies like Awasis, appointed its own administrator under provisions of provincial legislation. Those provisions allow the Northern Authority to suspend an executive director if he is not properly carrying out his responsibilities or if the health and safety of children are threatened.

Despite five calls to the Northern Authority, chief executive officer Marie Lands could not be reached, so it's unclear exactly why Monias has been placed on leave.
Monias has been the agency's head for nine years.

Awasis is one of the province's biggest aboriginal child welfare agencies, serving a dozen of the poorest and most remote communities, including Shamattawa, Cross Lake, Nelson House, Oxford House and Split Lake.

In the last year, Awasis has been plagued by a series of child deaths.
Last November, 13-month-old Cameron Ouskan died while in foster care in Gillam. His foster father is charged with second-degree murder. Earlier that fall, Rephanniah Redhead, 14, committed suicide in Shamattawa and five-year-old Farron Miles drowned about two kilometres from his foster home on Cross Lake First Nation.

The troubles at Awasis date back even further. A 2004 inquest into the abuse, sexual assault and suicide of a Shamattawa teen came down hard on the agency for sending her back into the care of a stepfather just released from jail for sexually abusing her.

More than a year ago, the province launched a "quality assurance" review of Awasis. Normally, reviews are triggered by a child death or management misdeeds, but the province also started systematic quality assurance reviews of each of the aboriginal agencies to find problems before they exploded. Awasis was first on the list. The report was due last month.

As of the end of March, Awasis had 604 children in care.



Anonymous said...

All this proves is that racism remains alive and well: Residential schools, Institutional care, can YOU see the difference? I can't.

Anonymous said...

It is not the only CFS Agency that has had fatalities. The Provincial agencies are just better in keeping it out of the media. I know of several cases that did not hit the media.

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