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Foster care in Labrador a major issue, Child and Youth Advocate says

The province’s Office of the Child and Youth Advocate is recognizing accessibility of foster homes in Labrador as a significant issue.

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A CBC report this week has brought to light concerns that children placed in foster care in Labrador are often sent a long distance from their home communities.

Child and Youth Advocate Jackie Lake Kavanaghs in Labrador this week on a previously scheduled visit to meet with community leaders, senior officials, service providers and youth. 

“There is a strong sentiment in many discussions that there must be more done when children cannot remain in their own homes and to keep young people in their communities and culture,” she said in a statement issued Thursday afternoon.

“There is a willingness within the communities to develop options to make things better. This was particularly clear in our meeting with Chief Hart of Sheshatshiu and Deputy Minister Michelle Kinney of Nunatsiavut."

Lake Kavanagh said her office encourages the provincial government to work with aboriginal communities to explore other solutions and associated supports.

She noted Article 20 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child provides every child who is removed from their parents care with the right to alternative care that respects their language, culture and religion.

“The current situation where children are removed from their communities and culture, sometimes for prolonged periods of time, makes it very challenging for these children to be reintegrated,” Lake Kavanagh said.  

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