MMIWG and related - justice for Tina Fontaine

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Timebandit Timebandit's picture
MMIWG and related - justice for Tina Fontaine

I can't find a forum topic for missing and murdered indigenous women, so I am opening this thread.

There's lots to talk about around the inquiry, but the news today is that Raymond Cormier, accused of killing 15 year old Tina Fontaine, has just been found not guilty.

I have no words.

Unionist

This APTN story from yesterday provides some useful background, for those who haven't followed the case.

laine lowe laine lowe's picture

Thank you for starting this thread, Timebandit. This case was so painful and indicative of so many problems young indigenous girls and women are facing.

Aristotleded24

Whether Cormier actually murdered Fontaine and the police didn't have the proper evidence against him, or he didn't and the police were after the wrong person, the end result is the same. The police failed to bring her killer or killers to justice.

Shame on Winnipeg police. They knew this case would get a great deal of attention. How does a case get to trial without the police making sure their case is airtight?

NDPP

Jury Finds Raymond Cormier Not Guilty in Death of Tina Fontaine

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/manitoba/raymond-cormier-trial-verdict-tin...

"My brothers and sisters, don't listen to the judge or police or politicians to be calm. We should not be calm in the face of lethal racism. #RISE"

https://twitter.com/Pam_Palmater/status/966824727485411328

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

The system failed that little girl at every turn. Like it continues to fail indigenous women and girls. 

6079_Smith_W

Yes.

Just for the record, the commission is in Rankin Inlet right now.

NorthReport
MegB

Hey Timebandit, I edited the thread title to make it a little easier to find for people wanting to comment on the result of the Cormier trial yesterday.

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

Thanks, Meg. I was trying to think of a way to do that!

MegB

Thanks for starting the thread :)

Aristotleded24

Something else about this needs discussion. The Fontaine case highlighted that there was a practice of hiring private companies to house CFS children in hotels. Why? Was this done as a money saving measure? Were the people who worked at these companies paid well and trained to deal with the high risk situation? I'm willing to bet that the answer to both questions is no. Could it be that in an effort to cut costs the government essentially contracted out the service and didn't bother to oversee it properly?

This is what happens when "efficiency" and fighting the deficit take priority over providing services. It's one thing to identify legitimate inefficiencies, red tape, bureaucracy and duplications of services and take action on them. That is something that should be ongoing. But when you operate government services with a goal to cost-cutting and treat labour as just some inconvenient expense that needs to be managed, what do you think will happen? Do you think anything good will come from this?

If there is one hope that I have, it's that the spirits of Tina and her father, both of whom died violently, are now reunited and at peace, assuming something exists beyond the mortal, fragile world we know.

 

6079_Smith_W

Efficiency, but not just efficiency. A gross difference in how much Indigenous CFS is funded as compared to the regular system. And also a big difference in how frequently and arbitrarily Indigenous children are seized compared to non-Indigenous.

 

Aristotleded24

But but but, doesn't the government always pay for the Natives?

Regarding Tina's case in particualr, to my knowledge she was not really in the care of CFS as a child, but in the care of her great aunt. From reading her history, it seems that what triggered her downward spiral was the beating death of her father, which happened not long before she was murdered. It seemed that her close invovlement with CFS happened as a teenager. This gets back to the point above, which is why were the CFS unable to resolve the challenges that caused her to run away several times?

I also want to talk about the issue of seizing children from families. If Frist Nations children are being siezed unfairly and arbitrarily, that is wrong and needs to stop. There is another side to this story though. Some parents, regardless of race, income level, and all the support  you can offer are simply so entrenched in their toxic behaviour that their children are not safe in their care. There have been several cases of children dying at the hands of their parents or other primary caregivers because of a lack of action from social services. So as unpleasant as this is, some children need to be separated from their parents in order to ensure their safety. How can we keep this option on the table for when it's necessary while still providing support for families who are struggling and need additional support?

6079_Smith_W

She also spent time warehoused and not properly supervised at a hotel; that's where she was at the time she was killed. The day before she died she was pulled over by the cops in a car with an older man with a suspended license who said he wanted to party with her; they arrested him, but let her go instead of taking her to safety. They didn't notice that she was listed as a missing person because she gave a fake name.

The wider problem is she is not the only child caught up in this system.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/manitoba/tina-fontaine-system-failed-1.454...

Aristotleded24

6079_Smith_W wrote:
She also spent time warehoused and not properly supervised at a hotel; that's where she was at the time she was killed.

That's why I think the issue of neoliberal ideology which dictates that government services be managed in a way to cut costs is warranted. Sure there is the aspect of race, which the media is paying some attention to (at least until the case fades from public consciousness, then back to promoting and upholding the white middle-class lifestyle as normal). The issue of government funding for services is not getting any attention. Why? Governments, business, and the media are all on the theme that deficits and debt is bad and should be avioded at all costs. There are vested interests that want to maintain the neoliberal status quo, so that is why there is no open discussion about it at all. By all means, talk about the racial aspects of this case, but there are also economic aspects that are quite imporant as well.

6079_Smith_W wrote:
The day before she died she was pulled over by the cops in a car with an older man with a suspended license who said he wanted to party with her; they arrested him, but let her go instead of taking her to safety. They didn't notice that she was listed as a missing person because she gave a fake name.

More on one of the ex-officers involved here. What happened was that one of the officers (Criag Houle) was a rookie who was being trained by a more senior officer. There was an error in checking the database. Afterwards, Houle got in trouble for stealing from his fellow officers and was charged for it. Houle was also from the Ebb and Flow First Nation. He would have an acute sense of how the justice system failed his people, and no doubt he became a police officer out of a desire to serve his community. It is an unfortunate irony that at a critical juncture he made an error that only exacerbated the harm done to the First Nations community.

6079_Smith_W

It is an astonishing error, considering her age, the circumstances, and the time of night.

Aristotleded24

On a different note, "She's loved and missed:"

Quote:
Nora Munroe says she wants people to remember 41-year-old Rose Munroe, her sister, as a kind person "with a heart of gold."

"[She's] a person who is loved and missed … we want to raise awareness, we don't want people to forget, " Munroe said.

...

Nora Munroe said Rose Munroe's case is one of many of missing and murdered Indigenous women across Canada — and it's not the first in their family.

Her aunt, Viola Panacheese has been missing since 1991.

"Our family, unfortunately this is the second one"

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
It is an astonishing error, considering her age, the circumstances, and the time of night.

Did she tell the officers her actual age?

The other two are non-sequiturs.  Unmarried men and women can travel in the same car, any time of the day or night.  I shudder to imagine the reaction if some young woman was "held for her own safety" for the sole reason that she was in a car with an older man after the sun went down.  I completely get that that does and should seem a bit sketchy, but if it rises to the level that police need to be involved whenever it happens, let's discuss that.

6079_Smith_W

Both officers were suspended because of their actions that night.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/manitoba/tina-fontaine-police-officers-ray...

 

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

And one proceeded to swipe a tactical shotgun (along with body armour, brass knuckles, and a badge!) and to fence some other stolen goodies on Kajiji.  And he got a suspended sentence for it.  No criminal record.  Some probation (a formal way of saying "you're expected to behave like everyone else) and some community service.  I trust everyone in possession of a stolen tactical shotgun in the future will receive the same.

Let's please not forget this when we want to talk about how Aboriginal offenders can't catch a break in our settler justice system.

Aristotleded24

Mr. Magoo wrote:
And one proceeded to swipe a tactical shotgun (along with body armour, brass knuckles, and a badge!) and to fence some other stolen goodies on Kajiji.  And he got a suspended sentence for it.  No criminal record.  Some probation (a formal way of saying "you're expected to behave like everyone else) and some community service.  I trust everyone in possession of a stolen tactical shotgun in the future will receive the same.

Let's please not forget this when we want to talk about how Aboriginal offenders can't catch a break in our settler justice system.

You don't think the fact that he was a cop had any bearing, considering the kinds of misbehaviours that cops get away with in this country? Is this one anecdote supposed to suddenly disprove the idea that the justice system as a whole fails Aboriginal people? Especially when the context of this thread is a large-scale systemic failure that cost someone her life?

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

Mr. Magoo wrote:

Quote:
It is an astonishing error, considering her age, the circumstances, and the time of night.

Did she tell the officers her actual age?

The other two are non-sequiturs.  Unmarried men and women can travel in the same car, any time of the day or night.  I shudder to imagine the reaction if some young woman was "held for her own safety" for the sole reason that she was in a car with an older man after the sun went down.  I completely get that that does and should seem a bit sketchy, but if it rises to the level that police need to be involved whenever it happens, let's discuss that.

Have you seen pictures of her? She was about 85lbs soaking wet! There's no way any halfway sensible person could look at her and not see a child.

Fucking hell.

Pondering

Aristotleded24 wrote:

I also want to talk about the issue of seizing children from families. If Frist Nations children are being siezed unfairly and arbitrarily, that is wrong and needs to stop. There is another side to this story though. Some parents, regardless of race, income level, and all the support  you can offer are simply so entrenched in their toxic behaviour that their children are not safe in their care. There have been several cases of children dying at the hands of their parents or other primary caregivers because of a lack of action from social services. So as unpleasant as this is, some children need to be separated from their parents in order to ensure their safety. How can we keep this option on the table for when it's necessary while still providing support for families who are struggling and need additional support?

The foster care system is horrible for all kids just particularly so for indigenous children. Indigenous communities are badly damaged from years of mistreatment, neglect and worse. The communities themselves need help. Respite care needs to exist within the communities so when families are in distress there is somewhere free for children to stay without removing them from the community so they can maintain their relationships. It should be available to any parent for any reason. I don't care if they use it as a babysitting service so they can go on vacation. That would help remove stigma. It should also be used as a free tutoring centre for any child who wants to attend. Entire communities need healing. 

I doubt it would cost more than keeping children in foster care and paying for hotels and supervisors. 

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
Have you seen pictures of her? She was about 85lbs soaking wet!

I've only seen headshots, and if I could guess someone's age or weight from that I'd be a carny.  Though, to be fair, better than half of the reports I've read mentioned her weight, which I found kind of odd, since I've never seen the news do that before.

I guess where I'm falling short is understanding what the police should have done, if she misrepresented her age, and (presumably) gave no signs of wanting out of the situation. 

Despite the fact that she did nothing wrong, I suppose the police could have demanded identification, but when they demand ID from someone who's not suspected of anything that's usually known as "carding".  But I'm honestly not sure what they could have and should have done to coerce her real name and age out of her that wouldn't, in a general context, look like coercing her real name and age out of her.

I'm not saying all of this is OK, and I've already noted that Grandpa + 15 year old is sketchy AF.  But I don't think it makes sense to say that the police should have "done something" unless we're ready to give them permission to that something.

What do you feel the police should have done to determine her real name and age?  Remember, they can't just "take her to the station" and see how it shakes out.

6079_Smith_W

They could have walked her back to the hotel, which was just a few blocks away, and turned her over to the people who were responsible for her care. I know they asked and she said no, but this was one time when it might have been appropriate to play cop... just for a couple of blocks. It wasn't even half-way to the cop shop.

She did eventually tell them her real name. They saw her age, because they saw there had been a missing persons report. Where they encountered her was on one of the strolls. They saw she was staying at a hotel a few blocks away which was hosting CFS cases. You'd think they might have thought that one through.

Not to bring the wrath of god on a fuckup, or condemn even further people who already feel responsible for her death, but there is at least one very simple thing they could have done without it being an issue for the Canadian Civil Liberties Association.

 

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
I know they asked and she said no, but this was one time when it might have been appropriate to play cop

That's the problem I have with this.  I get that my problem with this is my problem, and I'm not asking you to feel my pain or something, but if you think I'm only arguing because "this is a game" or "I don't take any of this seriously" or "this is just my PRIVELEGE speaking" or whatever.

But we can't just ask police officers to "play cop" this one time and we'll look the other way, then tear them a new one the next time they card someone doing nothing wrong, or apprehend someone doing nothing wrong. 

Again, I think that Fontaine being in a car with some crusty old pepaw "to party" is gross x10.  But I also don't recall how, when Harper bumped the age of consent up by two years, everyone said "damn straight! Kids don't know!" and I also don't recall anyone saying "but if the Po-Po think something's suspicious then they should be allowed to get a little fuzzy with laws and rights".

Do you see what I'm saying here?  Maybe as importantly, do you see what I'm not saying?

6079_Smith_W

No. I don't.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Ah.  You can neither see what I'm saying nor see what I'm not.

OK.  Let's let the police "use their gut feelings", and the first time you think that goes wrong, we can check in again and see if you have any new insights as to why we probably don't want to ask them to.

MegB

Some additional resources on Tina Fontaine and MMIWG on our Toolkit:

http://rabble.ca/blogs/bloggers/activist-toolkit-blog/2018/02/how-pursue...

Quote:

Child and Family Services (CFS): Of the 10,714 children in care in Manitoba, 89 per cent are Indigenous, according CFS. The CFS admits to not meeting the needs of children in care and, in 2017, Manitoba Child and Family Service proposed reforms to the system which has met with criticism from the federal government and First Nations leaders. The Indigenous child welfare agreement between federal and provincial governments remains stalled, as of February 2018. Child advocates like Cindy Blackstock are saying that the federal government is guilty of forging a crisis in Indigenous foster care.

And an excellent blog by Pam Palmater:

http://rabble.ca/blogs/bloggers/indigenous-nationhood/2018/02/trudeaus-d...

Quote:

There is no doubt that Trudeau was trying to deflect attention from the deep-rooted racism within Canada's justice system -- but also in his own government's failure to take substantive action on any of the injustices facing Indigenous peoples. Despite his many pre- and post-election promises to Indigenous peoples -- Trudeau has been all talk and little action.

Pondering

Mr. Magoo wrote:

Quote:
I know they asked and she said no, but this was one time when it might have been appropriate to play cop

But we can't just ask police officers to "play cop" this one time and we'll look the other way, then tear them a new one the next time they card someone doing nothing wrong, or apprehend someone doing nothing wrong. 

Again, I think that Fontaine being in a car with some crusty old pepaw "to party" is gross x10.  But I also don't recall how, when Harper bumped the age of consent up by two years, everyone said "damn straight! Kids don't know!" and I also don't recall anyone saying "but if the Po-Po think something's suspicious then they should be allowed to get a little fuzzy with laws and rights".

Do you see what I'm saying here?  Maybe as importantly, do you see what I'm not saying?

What I see is that police are required to make judgement calls all the time and they generally do not get criticized for it. The issue with carding is that it is only done in certain neighbourhoods and is by far primarily applied to visible minorities. This was not some random stop.

She weighed 72 lbs.  and a worker at a temporary shelter said she looked younger than her age of 15 at the trial. Police are paid a lot of money. I don't think they should be trusted with guns if they can't look at a 72 lb 15 year old girl and figure out there is a good chance she is under age. 

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/manitoba/tina-fontaine-last-day-timeline-1...

After initially giving police two fake names, Tina told Const. Cornelis Brock Jansen her real name, the former officer told the court during testimony on Tuesday....

Houle told court he saw Tina's picture come up with a previous flag indicating she had been the subject of a missing person report, but said he didn't see an active missing person flag beside her name.

They picked her up at 5am in a truck with a man who said he was there looking for a girl to hang out with.  They are not responsible for her death because she was seen at a hospital and turned over to social workers. 

The social workers weren't at fault either. They were not entitled to hold her physically. I'm sure the front line workers didn't like putting her in a hotel. Her blood is on the hands of whomever killed her but it is also on the hands of government and society that neglects children in need. 

The death of every child that dies in care should weigh on the souls of lawmakers and greedy bureaucrats who fail in their responsibilty to guard the most vulnerable minors in Canada. Nobody is raising them. Services are rationed. 

Her trial is an indictment of a callous system and society that placed so little value on her life that she was only worth warehousing like an object or an animal that needed no more than to be fed and sheltered from the elements prior to being released.

That the person responsible for her death is still out there, a risk to others, is terrible. But what is worse is that the system has been altered so little. 

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/manitoba/tina-fontaine-cfs-review-1.4553147

Daphne Penrose, the province's children's advocate, said her office has reviewed files and looked at what services were provided to Tina.

"The investigation is almost complete. We do have a little bit more work to do on it," Penrose said Monday.

But under current Manitoba law, Penrose cannot release her findings publicly. A bill passed in the legislature last year would allow her to do so, but the provincial government has yet to enact it.

Earlier Monday, the Progressive Conservative government would not commit to a time frame for enacting the law.

Makes me want to cry and puke at the same time. Even Conservatives should be calling for more government transparency or don't they think taxpayers have a right to information on the services they are funding. 

She was last seen leaving a downtown hotel, where she told the private contract worker employed by child welfare that she was going to a shopping centre to meet friends.

In a brief written statement, Manitoba's family services department would only say a review of the case by the regional Southern Child and Family Services Authority "found that standards and protocols were met."

Private contract worker: Someone not trained to deal with children in distress I'm sure. Standards and protocols are incredibly low and lax if what happened to Tina Fontaine is the best that can be expected from child welfare. 

Some Indigenous leaders and opposition politicians are demanding a full public inquiry into the case — a broad, systemic hearing open to the public and media with witnesses testifying under oath.

"I think we need to look at ... why this little girl was failed on so many levels and how do we prevent this from happening in the future," said Opposition NDP families critic Bernadette Smith.

"I think we need a public inquiry ... because it would highlight the services that were meant to keep (Tina) safe, where they failed, and how things could be different going from here on," said Sheila North, grand chief of Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak, which represents First Nations in the northern part of the province.

The closest thing to justice available for Tina is to change the system so at least her legacy will have been to protect other young girls from the same fate. 

 

6079_Smith_W

The Manitoba government is in the process of a CFS review. Unfortunately the online submissions closed shortly before the outcome of this trial, but it is not finished.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/manitoba/manitoba-child-welfare-plan-1.446...

And the province has committed to release the report into how CFS dealt with Tina Fontaine, and change the law that would have kept it secret.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/manitoba/tina-fontaine-cfs-review-1.4553147

How messed up is this system? A member of my family in Manitoba, who had her first child when she was under age 18, was warned to not go to CFS for support because her being in care would have given them the right to sieze her baby for no reason. And she's white, but she had seen that happen to friends. It is no suprise that the numbers are so bad for Indigenous children who often have no choice, and who in some cases have their babies taken away as soon as they are born.

So it isn't something people look to for help. Like the cops, it is a system many people fear.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
She weighed 72 lbs.  and a worker at a temporary shelter said she looked younger than her age of 15 at the trial. Police are paid a lot of money. I don't think they should be trusted with guns if they can't look at a 72 lb 15 year old girl and figure out there is a good chance she is under age.

My guess is that the police officer probably thought she was under age.  My only question was "so then what?"

Quote:
The social workers weren't at fault either. They were not entitled to hold her physically.

Same thing.  I'm sure those social workers might have had a hunch that something in the milk wasn't clean, but what do we want them to be legally permitted to do about it?  This certainly touches on that:

Quote:
"I think we need to look at ... why this little girl was failed on so many levels and how do we prevent this from happening in the future," said Opposition NDP families critic Bernadette Smith.

Obviously we could go right to the top, and "make a better world".  We should be trying to do that, with or without this particular case to motivate us.  But it'll be neither easy, nor quick enough to help the next victim.

If we narrow our focus to the different levels then I think we can't help but still run into "what SHOULD this cop, or this social worker, or this contract worker have been able to do?"

Pondering

 The police should have delivered her into the hands of CPS. The social worker should have been able to bring her to a small indigenous group home or to a facility for troubled teens. She should have had weekly therapy to help her after she was orphaned.  She shouldn't have been staying at a hotel near a strip where men go to pick up girls to hang out with. There should have been someone to care enough for her to get her a bicycle.

Private contract workers should not be hired to supervise kids in care 

With 89% of children in care indigenous I say ask indigenous people what they would suggest and be willing to hand them the funding. I'm sure they would do better with it than hire contract workers and warehouse the teens in a hotel.

The government should be charged with child neglect.

6079_Smith_W

Mr. Magoo wrote:

If we narrow our focus to the different levels then I think we can't help but still run into "what SHOULD this cop, or this social worker, or this contract worker have been able to do?"

In this specific case?  Well I realize in some ways it was an honest fuckup, and they had no way of knowing she'd be killed shortly afterward.

But seeing as she was an underage child, and they knew she was in care, and it was shortly before dawn, and she had just been found in a car with an older man they arrested, escorting her the 700 meters from Furby and Ellice to the people who were supposed  to take care of her was a reasonable option.

I don't think they would have broken any rules had they done that; in fact, they wound up suspended in part because they did not.

It might not have made any difference, and there is plenty of other stuff to wring our hands about when it comes to bureaucratic impotence, but this is one very specific and simple thing that could have been done, but was not.

And it is a pretty clear example of the level of indifference we sometimes see, particularly when it comes to our institutions dealing with Indigenous people.

Brian Sinclair died in a hospital waiting room just a few blocks from there in 2013 after sitting for 34 hours, because nobody bothered to check or to think.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/manitoba/brian-sinclair-dead-for-hours-in-...

But race didn't play a role. Sure.

 

 

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
The social worker should have been able to bring her to a small indigenous group home or to a facility for troubled teens.

OK.  But why not back to the same stable home with her great-aunt that she knew before she left for Winnipeg?

Quote:
She should have had weekly therapy to help her after she was orphaned.

She wasn't orphaned.

Quote:
She shouldn't have been staying at a hotel near a strip where men go to pick up girls to hang out with.

To be honest, it's somewhat unclear to me how a 15 year old, who I'm told looked like an 11 year old, was permitted to travel to Winnipeg unaccompanied by an adult.  What's the story there?

 

Rev Pesky

From Pondering:

The government should be charged with child neglect.

From 6079_Smith_W:

...it is a pretty clear example of the level of indifference we sometimes see...

How indifferent was Tina Fontaine's mother? Was she guilty of child neglect?

6079_Smith_W

This isn't about her family, it is about government oversight of families and children, enforcement and justice, and the systemic racism that plagues those and other departments.

Though I know blaming families and communities that have suffered generations of that discrimination is a pretty common distraction from our responsibility.

Fact is, it is far more easy to be targetted and have your children taken away if you are Indigenous than non-Indigenous. So who knows? But the fact remains this is about how she was dealt with by CFS, and how her murder was dealt with by police. Her mother had nothing to do with that.

 

Pondering

Her great aunt couldn't manage her so asked to have her taken into care. I doubt she realized they would put her in a hotel in an area like that. 

https://www.ventureacademy.ca/about-us/locations/

Many parents have tried local counselling for their child, but despite the supports in place, it wasn’t enough. In reality, they need a 24-hour residential environment with a multidisciplinary team that can attend to the behavioural, emotional, and educational needs of their child.

If you have money there are places for teens like Tina. She was not a lost cause. 

Pondering

Rev Pesky wrote:

How indifferent was Tina Fontaine's mother? Was she guilty of child neglect?

What a disgusting thing to say. Her mother was an alcoholic and needed help herself. Her daughter was not in her custody. She left her with the great-aunt so no she was not guilty of child neglect. Child neglect is reserved for the people who have custody and that was the government of Manitoba.

To suggest her mother might have been indifferent is cruel. Entire communities were traumatized. It will take resources for them to heal. We are responsible to fix that which we have broken. People meant well I'm sure but that doesn't change the fact that they callously ripped children from their homes because they thought they could do a better job of raising and educating them. Children need love as much as they need food and shelter. I can't even imagine the shock of entire communities losing their children. I feel like I would have died if my daughter were taken from me like that. 

Rather than attacking Tina's mother it would be more pertinent to find out what happened to her parents and community. 

There is no big mystery here that allows us to throw up our hands in helplessness. Front line workers are always the first to be blamed when the fault lies in underfunding so the system can't meet its objectives and/or corruption that siphons off money to the private sector. 

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
Her great aunt couldn't manage her so asked to have her taken into care.

What I read was that she wanted to go to Winnipeg to find her birth mother.

But what did you read? 

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

They knew her birth mother and where to find her. Tina was having difficulty dealing with the beating death of her father and wanted to get to know her mother, who had not been involved in her life for quite some time. This was ostensibly why she came to Winnipeg. 

Pondering

It doesn't really matter how she came to be in care. Families become dysfunctional. When they cannot care for their own the state becomes responsible for the welfare of minors. Once she was in care she wasn't helped or protected because we don't put enough resources into caring for these children. 

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
This was ostensibly why she came to Winnipeg.

Fair enough.  But why alone?

Quote:
Once she was in care she wasn't helped or protected because we don't put enough resources into caring for these children.

So they were unwilling to help her?

6079_Smith_W

It was discussed upthread, but the system is terribly underfunded. There was not adequate supervision in that hotel.

 

Pondering

Mr. Magoo wrote:

Quote:
This was ostensibly why she came to Winnipeg.

Fair enough.  But why alone?

Quote:
Once she was in care she wasn't helped or protected because we don't put enough resources into caring for these children.

So they were unwilling to help her?

Who are you referring to? I didn't say they were unwilling to I said they were unable to because the resources don't exist because the government hasn't funded them. She was in a hotel because that's all the government will pay for. 

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

Magoo, I don't know that detail. It seems she didn't want to go home and wound up in care instead. I'm sure her Aunt Thelma beats herself up about it every day. Does that help?

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
It was discussed upthread, but the system is terribly underfunded. There was not adequate supervision in that hotel.

But it's suggested upthread, from a CBC article:

Quote:
She was last seen leaving a downtown hotel, where she told the private contract worker employed by child welfare that she was going to a shopping centre to meet friends.

So it's not that there was no supervision.  It's that the supervisor was either unwilling or unable to say "sorry, no you're not".  Better training could have fixed that, in the first case, and more authority in the second.  But it's not as though the overworked and insufficient staff looked away for two seconds and she slipped out.

Quote:
It seems she didn't want to go home and wound up in care instead. I'm sure her Aunt Thelma beats herself up about it every day. Does that help?

I'm not looking to blame and shame here.  But if we're really talking about all the points of failure, I can't help but think that sending an ostensibly troubled fifteen year old to the big city on her own on a quest might be one of those.

6079_Smith_W

Mr. Magoo wrote:

So it's not that there was no supervision.  It's that the supervisor was either unwilling or unable to say "sorry, no you're not".  Better training could have fixed that, in the first case, and more authority in the second.  But it's not as though the overworked and insufficient staff looked away for two seconds and she slipped out.

That would be, as I said "not adequate supervision". The front line of a system that was so underfunded it had kids warehoused in a hotel. And the end result was a 15 year old hanging around unsupervised in the middle of the night on a known stroll.

Thing is, it doesn't matter how she came to the city. Once the province's child welfare system takes responsibility for a child it is their job to make sure she is safe. They failed. And the police also failed . That is why people are calling for action.

And it does actually sound like blaming and shaming of her family, disclaimer notwithstanding.

(edit)

There are now calls in Saskatchewan to reform the child welfare system in response to Fontaine's death. Over 80 percent of the 5,000 children in care here are Indigenous.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/saskatoon/indigenous-children-welfare-fost...

 

 

Pondering

Mr. Magoo wrote:

Quote:
It was discussed upthread, but the system is terribly underfunded. There was not adequate supervision in that hotel.

But it's suggested upthread, from a CBC article:

Quote:
She was last seen leaving a downtown hotel, where she told the private contract worker employed by child welfare that she was going to a shopping centre to meet friends.

So it's not that there was no supervision.  It's that the supervisor was either unwilling or unable to say "sorry, no you're not".  Better training could have fixed that, in the first case, and more authority in the second.  But it's not as though the overworked and insufficient staff looked away for two seconds and she slipped out.

Quote:
It seems she didn't want to go home and wound up in care instead. I'm sure her Aunt Thelma beats herself up about it every day. Does that help?

I'm not looking to blame and shame here.  But if we're really talking about all the points of failure, I can't help but think that sending an ostensibly troubled fifteen year old to the big city on her own on a quest might be one of those.

It doesn't matter what her family was or wasn't like. When a family can't manage it is up to CPS to step in. That is why CPS exists.

Once a minor is in care it is 100% the responsibility of the government to place her somewhere safe and appropriate. A downtown hotel near a prostitute stroll is not a safe appropriate place to put a teenage girl period.

Next you hire permanent trained staff not contract workers. CPS is not a department that should be privatized.

Pondering

This is about another outrageous case but it mentions a tribe doing it right. This is why I say the money needs to be turned over to FN. 

https://www.nationalobserver.com/2018/02/28/opinion/bc-supreme-court-ste...

The Huu-ay-aht First Nation is offering significant parenting support to the new mom, under a 2016 plan the community developed with the ultimate goal that no Huu-ay-aht child would be in foster care. Even the fact the mom got her day in court is due to that plan – it includes funding, paid for by the First Nation itself – for lawyers to advocate for and represent parents and children in court....

The Canadian Human Rights Tribunal has found that the Canadian government racially discriminatesagainst 165,000 First Nations children in terms of funding for child welfare...

The Huu-ay-aht First Nation has a goal that none of its children will be in care. That aspiration is backed up with a 127-page report that defines how it will get there. When the report was written, in May, 2017, there were 220 Huu-ay-aht children, with 34 of those in foster care, including 25 that were in care outside the First Nation. The report contains 30 recommendations, with a $1.8-million budget attached.

Twenty-three of the report’s 30 recommendations have already been implemented and the First Nation is footing the bill, Giltrow said.

The recommendations range from hiring family support workers, to providing addiction treatment, to food and shelter assistance for members of the First Nation. It also says the concept of “aging out of care” would be eliminated because the First Nation will support its people throughout their lives.

The nation is offering significant support to the young mom and her baby, including 24-hour emotional support, legal advocacy, cultural support, assistance with travel, accommodations, and food while she remains in Courtenay, counselling, parenting education, and supervision support for when she visits with her baby.

When asked if she is confident the baby would be safe with the supports being offered, Giltrow said yes.

“We do think Huu-ay-aht has the supports in place to keep the baby safe,” Giltrow said. “That’s even assuming that the baby is not safe with mom, which is something we heavily contest, because there hasn’t ever been any clear capacity assessment or report other than vague references to capacity.”

Seems to me we have a thing or two to learn from FNs on how to help troubled families. 

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