Reports today indicate that contrary to what the Ministry in charge knew or was even told, more than one child in government care has been living in a hotel – in direct contravention to government policy.
The Minister herself, Stephanie Cadieux, is admitting the policy has been broken. So how can you have anything work properly if the people in charge aren’t kept in the loop?
Simi Sara asked this question earlier today and decided to check in with Mary-Ellen Turpel-Lafonde, BC’s Representative for Children and Youth.
Turpel-Lafonde says the ministry has been using hotels, despite their explicit assurances to her that none of the children who were displaced from group home closures would be in a hotel or SRO.
She says she’s determined between 30-50 children have been spending time in hotels over the past year.
“They thought they’d just park him in a hotel before showing him to the curb”
In regards to 18-year-old Alex Gervais, who fell to his death from the window of a Super 8 Motel last week, Turpel-Lafonde did not mince words.
“He was put there because of this reason, and I’m not 100% of the view that this could be accurate, but everything points to this. Which is, he was seven months from aging out of care, so they thought they’d just park him in a hotel before showing him to the curb. And that’s what they do with kids in care, they turn 19 and they’re done.”
Turpel-Lafonde lays the blame squarely on the Ministry, saying it’s allowed this to happen.
“The Minister needs to get to her cabinet colleagues, and the government needs to put enough money, and enough structure, into that ministry so that they can actually do their jobs, because kid’s safety is at issue.”