Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Nunavut November 06, 2012 - 11:40 am

Nunavut’s Child and Family Services office looks after hundreds of children

"High needs children need to be cared for in out-of-territory residential facilities"

SAMANTHA DAWSON

Of the nearly 400 Nunavut children who receive some form of child and family services, only about 60 are living in foster care outside the territory.

That’s according to the Government of Nunavut’s health and social services annual report for Child and Family Services for 2010-11, which was tabled Nov. 1 in the Nunavut legislature.

Nunavut does not have foster parents with training to care for children who need to be fed by tube, undergo intensive physiotherapy, or who are at risk of hurting themselves, the report said.

“These high needs children need to be cared for in out-of-territory residential facilities,” said the report, which also reveals how child apprehension, adoption, guardianship services, adult support services, family violence, community corrections, residential care and supported living are dealt with in Nunavut.

Some 57 children have been sent out to other places in Canada: one in foster care in Quebec, one in foster care in the Northwest Territories, 35 in treatment group homes, 13 in alternative care medical homes and six in specialized foster care.

The Child and Family Services report said 395 Nunavut children, up to the age of 19, received child and family services in 2010-11 — too many, according to Amittuq MLA Louis Tapardjuk, who complained Nov. 1 that too many Nunavut children are taken from their families.
Of these 395 children:

• 131 were in the Baffin region, 97 in Iqaluit,  53 in the Kivalliq region and 114 in the Kitikmeot region;

• 119 of these children were on a voluntary support agreement, under the Child and Family Services Act, which means “a certain intervention to assist the parents to care properly for their children” is required;

• 87 children were on “a plan of care,” or an agreement between the client and the social worker when the child is deemed to need protection;

• 61 children were permanent wards, meaning that the court has removed all parental rights;

• 13 children were temporary wards, meaning the court has temporary rights over the child for a set period of time;

• 32 children were on “a support services agreement,” which is an agreement between the GN and a youth between 16 and 19 who can’t live at home for any number of reasons that are considered to place the youth in need of protection under the act;

• 77 were “between legal status” or pending a court judgment;

• six were “under courtesy supervision” from other jurisdictions; and,

• 12 were living with parents but were under court-ordered supervision by the department for a specific amount of time.

When it came the adoptions that took place that year, 192 were aboriginal custom adoptions or 96 per cent of all adoptions in Nunavut.

There were also five private or step-parent adoptions and two departmental adoptions, but no international adoptions.

Currently, there are 32 custom adoption commissioners in 25 Nunavut communities, who were trained in 2002 and 2007.

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