One of the scandals of Canadian society is the number of indigenous children in care in Canada. “In care” means that the children have been taken away from their parents on the basis that the parents are unfit to care for their children. In other words those children are taken from their parents and given over to foster parents, or in some cases, civil servants who take them to hotels. Often those children are taken to homes where they are not loved or even “cared” for. They are just there.
Of course sometimes this is necessary. It can happen to white parents and it can happen to indigenous parents. It should be rare. For white children and their parents it is rare. For indigenous children and their parents it is not rare.
About 50% of the total children in care are indigenous children! In a country where 4.9% of people in Canada self-identified as aboriginal in the last census that is an astonishing proportion of the children in care. in other words the rate of indigenous children in care is 10 times what one would expect based on population! More than 40,000 indigenous children are currently “in care” in Canada. This is more than the number of indigenous children were put into Residential schools.
Another shocking fact is that 25% of these indigenous children in care are in Manitoba. A small province like Manitoba has a quarter of the indigenous children in care.
Another surprising statistic is that 4% of indigenous children in care who are suffering from mental illness receive no treatment for their illness.
According to the former federal minister of Indigenous Services Jane Philpott, “The disproportionate number of Indigenous children currently in the child welfare system has created a “humanitarian crisis” in the country.”
Minster Philpott sent a letter to her provincial and territorial counterparts calling for “an emergency meeting” on indigenous children and family services. CBC News reported on it this way:
“We are facing a humanitarian crisis in this country where Indigenous children are vastly disproportionately over-represented in the child welfare system,” said Philpott in an interview Thursday with Power & Politics.
Philpott said in Manitoba, there are a total of 11,000 children in care and 10,000 are Indigenous children. Statistics Canada census data released last week revealed 4,300 Indigenous children under the age of four are currently in foster care.”
Here is another shocking statistic from Stats Canada: Aboriginal children accounted for 7.7% of all children aged 0 to 4, and about one‑half of all foster children in this age group.
Think about these stats for a second. What do they signify? Such facts cannot possibly be explained on the basis of racist individuals. Such stark facts speak of a vast system of racism. In Manitoba 10 out of 11 children taken away form their parents and put “in care” are indigenous children. More than 90%. Too often where nobody actually cares about them.