REGINA – One year since the pain and the unthinkable.
“Our community is in mourning,” Chief Sheldon Taypotat said in the days after Lee Bonneau, 6, was found brutally beaten to death outside a Kahkewistahaw First Nation recreation centre.
It was later learned the person responsible was a child himself, just a few years older than Bonneau.
Both the boys and their families had been referred to social services several times.
Recommendations that followed included a request for reports every three months from the social services ministry and Yorkton Tribal Council.
Saskatchewan’s child and youth advocate, Bob Pringle, says the first one was due August 14.
“We do not have that report, so I’m very concerned about and that and disappointed,” Pringle said.
The report is expected to be ready next week and Pringle says he has seen progress.
Pringle was visibly shaken in September 2013 when responding to the RCMP’s findings in the case.
Today, Pringle says the challenge goes beyond social agencies to the very problems that drive the child welfare and youth justice systems.
“This is a mental health issue, an addictions issue, a poverty issue,” said Pringle. “If you don’t reduce the risk factors then you run the risk of this happening again and that’s my biggest concern here.”
Pringle believes little will change until families have the support to full themselves away from those risk factors.
For now, he continues to challenge the government and other agencies to work together on tragedies that are entirely preventable.
“We need to make sure we improve the services from their deaths and I believe we’re not doing a good enough job on that.”