MANITOBA – Manitoba’s children’s advocate, Darlene MacDonald, today called on the provincial government to address the long-term needs of the thousands of children and youth who are in care as permanent wards. In a newly released special report, Permanency Beyond Foster Care, The Office of the Children’s Advocate (OCA) specifically examined what happens after a child becomes a permanent ward in Manitoba.
“Young people enter the child welfare system for many reasons,” explained MacDonald. “Many children come into care for a brief period of time before being reunited with their families of origin. However, there are many other children who remain in care as a permanent ward and end up having to rely on the system to meet their care needs until they turn 18.”
Children and youth come into care for a variety of reasons, which can include a child’s complex medical issues, a parent’s illness, or for protection concerns. If the issues that brought a child into care are not resolved after a time, a court judge may make a legal order where the child becomes a permanent ward of the government and the government is then responsible for the child’s care until they turn 18 years old. In 2014, there were 10, 293 children in care in Manitoba, and of those, 5, 848 (57%) were in care as permanent wards.