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New Winnipeg youth shelter inspired by Tina Fontaine tragedy

The province is funding a new stabilization unit at Marymound for girls in Child and Family Services care with complex needs.
The province is funding a new stabilization unit at Marymound for girls in Child and Family Services care with complex needs. Walther Bernal/Global News

WINNIPEG – There are hundreds of at-risk and ┬árun-away teenage girls in Winnipeg but experts say there hasn’t been a program to help the most troubled girls until now.

The province is funding a new stabilization unit at Marymound for girls in Child and Family Services care with complex needs.

The 6 bed unit on Scotia Street will cost $2 million dollars and open next month.

Family Services Minister Kerri Irvin-Ross says they saw the need for this program after Tina Fontaine, 15, was murdered a year ago. Fontaine had run away from foster care and was later found by paramedics downtown; but CFS workers placed her in a downtown hotel, which she fled. Her body was found in the Red River August 15, 2014.

“There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about Tina Fontaine and her family,” said Irvin-Ross.

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The program will start with 6 beds in a secure locked facility where the most at risk girls will receive emotional, psychological and spiritual care and counselling.

20 new staff have been hired and trained to help the six girls.

Currently there is no mental health care for the most at-risk girls in care.

“We hope to greatly reduce the risk and exploitation that these youth experience almost on a daily basis,” said Marymound CEO Jay Rodgers.