BC’s representative for children and youth has released disturbing numbers about sexual violence against children in the care of the provincial government.
A report from Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond shows that at least 121 children and youth experienced sexual violence between 2011 and 2014.
Most of the victims are girls and 61% are Aboriginal, even though indigenous girls make up only about 25% of all BC youngsters in care.
Turpel-Lafond says the data is upsetting because, in many cases, the victims are already recovering from trauma and their protection is the responsibility of the government.
NDP MLA Melanie Mark is the opposition spokesperson for Children and Family, she says it’s all too common to hear about Aboriginal people being over-represented in negative contexts.
Mark says there’s a good framework for children in need, but the ministry lacks resources and leadership.
Children and Family Development Minister Stephanie Cadieux responded to the report by saying her ministry has rigorous standards to safeguard BC’s youth in care.
But she also says the ministry is revising its standards for social workers who assess, train, support, and monitor foster parents.
An expanded audit program will now cover the performance of those social workers, while Cadieux says the ministry is also overhauling how it responds to allegations of harm or poor quality of care for foster children.