Children should not be taken from the family due to poverty: Bernadette Smith

Children should not be taken from the family due to poverty: Bernadette Smith, Iryna Chyrkova

NDP MLA Bernadette Smith introduced a bill to amend the law on children and family services.

The woman said that she had to go through this law in childhood, and if the changes had been made when she was small, then perhaps her life would have been better. Bernadette said that her mother was not given appropriate support from the government, and therefore the girl had to live in a group home.

She faces many cases every day when children are taken from the family only because their parents barely make ends meet and try to somehow make a living.

Matthew Brian Shorting told his story. The boy was taken from the family when he was only four months old. It was not the first time. His mother had a job and tried her best to raise two children. However, due to the neglect of the government, they were taken from her. Such a decision makes a great trauma to the child, and the mother feels frustration and despair.

According to statistics, Manitoba is the province that takes the largest number of children: one child per day. In March 2018, more than 10,000 children were in care of the government, among them more than 89% are indigenous.

A recent report says that Manitoba government should not take children just because of the poverty of their parents, it should pay more attention to support of such families and improving their living conditions.

Families Minister Heather Stefanson stated that changes in the law will be for the better. The government should first of all take care of the interests of children, pay attention to their safety, and not look at the financial situation of their parents.

Current legislature has eight cases when the government should go to extremes and take children from their families, including absence of adequate care or supervision.

On Thursday, after receiving royal consent all changes will enter into force.

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Bernadette Smith Heather Stefanson children and family services
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