Skye’s legacy: Suggestions in report on dying of Indigenous teen in B.C. care

2021-06-11 00:27:00

A prolonged investigation into the circumstances of how and why an Indigenous teen died whereas below the care of the B.C. authorities has led to a number of suggestions on the right way to enhance the system.

The report, Skye’s Legacy: A Concentrate on Belonging, submitted by B.C. Consultant for Kids and Youth Dr. Jennifer Charlesworth, explored the lifetime of a youth named Skye, who died of an overdose on her seventeenth birthday in August 2017.

The report discovered that B.C.’s little one welfare system left Skye and not using a sense of belonging, significantly as an Indigenous individual, which contributed to her dying.

Skye was faraway from her mom’s care when she was 5 years previous. Within the 12 years that she was within the province’s little one welfare system, she was moved throughout the province 15 occasions, had 18 totally different social staff, lived in eight totally different foster houses and went to eight totally different colleges, in response to the report.

“Ostensibly, one of many causes she got here into everlasting care was to cease the sample of instability she had been experiencing and to supply her the bodily permanency that (the B.C. Ministry of Kids and Household Improvement) believed her mom was unable to supply,” reads the report.

“Nevertheless, the ministry additionally failed to supply any lasting sense of bodily belonging.”

Skye lived totally on Vancouver Island, between Campbell River and Nanaimo.

Throughout her frequent strikes, investigators stated that the province was largely involved with discovering Skye adoptive houses, slightly than working together with her household on the right way to return to her to her mom’s care, or prolonged household’s care.

The report additionally says that the province didn’t accommodate Skye’s needs to attach together with her First Nation tradition or go to her dwelling territory of the Teetlit Gwich’in Band in Fort McPherson, N.W.T., “regardless of clearly expressing her want to do each.”

“The cumulative consequence was that Skye wasn’t capable of notice the sense of belonging that every one people want and search,” reads the report.

“The deal with authorized belonging (adoption) got here on the expense of all the opposite components of belonging for Skye, together with connection to household, tradition, group and bodily place.”


The report consists of three suggestions for the B.C. authorities to think about.

The primary suggestion requires the Ministry of Kids and Household Improvement (MCFD) to conduct an evaluation of what assets are wanted to higher assist belonging for Indigenous and Metis youth in care.

As soon as full, a major funding also needs to be made to accumulate the assets by April 2022.

The report discovered that a number of social staff who labored with Skye stated that they’d few assets accessible, particularly within the northern areas of Vancouver Island.

The report provides that greater than 67 per cent of all kids at the moment in authorities care are Indigenous, although lower than 10 per cent of B.C.’s inhabitants is Indigenous.

The MCFD’s most up-to-date service plan discovered that Indigenous kids had been almost 18 occasions extra more likely to be faraway from their mother and father care than non-Indigenous kids, making the funding and evaluation of look after Indigenous kids within the province’s little one welfare system a precedence.

The report’s second suggestion requires a evaluation and replace of B.C.’s care-planning and case administration requirements for little one welfare to higher assist a way of belonging for youth in care.

The third suggestion encourages the federal government to share the report with any staff who plan look after youth, or who work with youth, and to “meaningfully have interaction” with the findings of the report.

“Skye wasn’t given the chance to understand the sense of belonging that she wanted and deserved. It’s the Consultant’s robust hope that sharing her story will allow different Indigenous kids and youth comparable to Skye to take action,” reads the report. 

On Thursday, B.C.’s Minister of Kids and Household Improvement stated the province was conscious of issues within the little one welfare system.

“I agree with the consultant that, past what we’re already doing to enhance the child-protection system in B.C., we will and should do extra to make sure kids and youth who come into care keep related to their households and their tradition, and really feel a robust sense of belonging in all points of their lives,” stated Minister Mitzi Dean in an announcement. “That is particularly necessary for Indigenous kids and youth,” she stated.

B.C.’s Consultant for Kids and Youth stated Thursday that whereas the province hasn’t formally accepted the report’s suggestions, it might take time for approval as a result of the report’s first suggestion includes price range prices.

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