Think back to the time when you were a child. Now imagine that you were removed from your family and friends and forced to grow up without them- not because they were harming you, but because they struggled financially and couldn’t provide for you. Sadly, this is a reality that hundreds of children across Manitoba face when they are placed under the care of Child and Family Services; simply because their families live in a state of poverty. Although the side effects of poverty are well known and include everything from social and educational challenges to health and developmental challenges, the emotional trauma inflicted upon children separated from their families is also well documented.
In the 2016 Manitoba Report Card on Child and Family Poverty, it was found that 29% of Manitoba children live in poverty. The Report Card also found that 62% of children in single parent families and 76% of on-reserve Indigenous children live in poverty. This means that on average, approximately one in every three Manitoban children may be adversely affected by poverty.
Fortunately, on Thursday, November 8, 2018, the Manitoba Government took a huge step towards ensuring that child poverty rates are reduced in the province, while ensuring children can still remain with their families. Bill 223, an amendment to the existing Child and Family Services Act ensures that children can only be removed from their family if they are in need of protection- not because their families are struggling financially. Hopefully, the Bill will harken a new era where the province will provide greater support to families living in poverty, will encourage families to stay together and will foster familial unity.
This blog post was written by a CCLA Volunteer. Opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCLA.