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Nearly half of all foster kids aboriginal: Report

May 9, 2013

The Windsor Star - May 09, 2013

Nearly half of children under 14 in foster care in Canada are aboriginal - a number that exceeds even the grimmest estimates of a leading First Nations' child welfare advocate.

Newly released data from the National Household Survey suggest that, of the approximately 30,000 children in care in Canada in 2011, 14,225 were aboriginal.

Overall, four per cent of aboriginal children were in care, compared to a scant 0.3 per cent of non-aboriginal children, or 15,345.

"It's tragic, because these numbers far outstrip even our projections," said Cindy Black-stock, executive director of the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada.

Neglect, fuelled by poverty, poor housing and substance misuse, is the main factor behind the over-representation of aboriginal children in care, she said.

"Those are all things that child welfare can do something about," Blackstock said. "What we have here is a very dire statistic for children who, just like their parents in many cases, are being removed from their families because of state neglect," Blackstock said.

"The government is simply not giving these children the same opportunity to grow up with their families that all other Canadian children enjoy."

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