For Immediate Release
September 28, 2018

STATEMENT BY FORMER YOUTH FROM CARE ON EXPERT PANEL REPORT ON DEATHS IN RESIDENTIAL PLACEMENTS

The deaths of children and youth in residential placements is deeply impacting and painful for us in the Child Welfare PAC. We too have lived experience in government care. Being raised institutionally is wrought with challenges especially when parts of the system do not communicate seamlessly. Every life has complexities beyond the capacity of one ministry alone, and when you become the legal party responsible for a child, you must be all things needed to ensure that child leaves your care thriving.

We welcome the recommendations of the report, which have echoed many previous reports, on improving the lives of kids in child protection by calling to action the respective accountable ministries through a "wholistic" system. Implementation is complicated. However, it is essential to ensure that the risk factors preceding tragedy are addressed and effectively mitigated. We cannot tolerate systemic factors that contribute to child death.

We strongly encourage the implementation of evidence-based solutions that are checked with impact measurement. The creation of well-meaning policy inspired by limited data is a disservice to children in care. The same systemic challenges, and subsequent poor outcomes of youth raised in government care, have endured across too many decades. Policy solutions should be informed by existing evidence in the literature, and where there is none, impact measurement is especially essential to ensure efficacy. That is the only way to build a progressive system that improves across time.

The call for urgent change cannot be understated as these children only have one opportunity for a positive childhood. We, at the Child Welfare PAC, believe change is possible. We look forward to sharing evidence-informed policy solutions with the government soon to ensure all children raised in state care can have a bright future.

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  CONTACT:   Meaghan Martin | info@childwelfarepac.com