A new provincial program is aiming to connect more children in care with their families.
The province and the General Child and Family Services Authority are launching the Supported Guardianship Program which is for children who are permanent wards (children who have become eligible for adoption through CFS) or those in cases where a CFS agency intends to seek a permanent order.
The program will be offered to family members who have cared for the child for six continuous months.
If placement with a family member is not possible or in the child’s best interest, another adult who both the child and the family consider part of the family and has cared for the child for 24 continuous months could be offered supported guardianship as well.
“Connections to family, community and culture are vital to the identity, sense of belonging and well-being of children and youth in care,” Manitoba families minister Rochelle Squires said.
“We know this is critical to righting the past wrongs and helping the kids of today and tomorrow have a better future.”
Supported guardianship will have to be approved by the child’s culturally appropriate authority.
“We now have 20-and 30-year studies that show that if kids grow up in a loving, stable family home, they are more likely to have longer term positive health outcomes than if they don’t grow up with family,” Jay Rodgers, CEO of General Child and Family Service Authority said.
“We know that in supported guardianship programs, the research tells us they’re very stable. Kids very rarely come back into care, kids very rarely experience more maltreatment.”
Rodgers says there around 1,000 children in care, and close to 600 are in care as permanent wards.
The program is expected to be fully implemented in early fall 2021.