Researcher: Sask. foster care system 'unethical'
It is assumed that when a child is placed in foster care, they are being taken away from harm and no longer at risk.
But a University of Saskatchewan researcher says kids experience abuse and neglect within the system because of the policies in place.
"I think we can all agree that a child who has moved ten, twenty, thirty times in care, that that's unethical," said associate professor Caroline Tait, a medical anthropologist who studies the role of ethics for children in foster care.
"When we look at what that does to a person's sense of self, it has a huge, enormous mental health impact," said Tait to an audience at the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations health conference in Saskatoon today.
Tait and her team of researchers have interviewed dozens of people who have been apprehended by social services and moved around. Their data shows that children are more likely to come in contact with an abusive foster parent when they are consistently uprooted.
And the trauma often extends into the classroom.
"We need to look at the stigma associated with being the child who is the foster care child who's coming in half way through the school year," she said.
While Tait does acknowledge there are positive changes happening, she said there are still a number of things that that are not being done well.
Her team combed through 50 years of child welfare reports and discovered that the recommendations submitted to the province by the Children's
Advocate Office earlier this year are nearly identical to a list of changes requested twenty years ago.
"What we're trying to do is to follow the life of those recommendations."
If we invest within these reports and invest money in coming up with policy recommendations, we want to see what happens to them, Tait said.