November 10, 2013 2:04 pm
Updated: November 10, 2013 4:28 pm

Adoption centre supports watchdog’s call for children’s rights

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SASKATOON – The B.C. representative for children and youth, Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond, says more needs to be done for adopted children’s rights in Saskatchewan.

Members of Saskatchewan’s Adoption Support Centre are welcoming the watchdog’s advocacy, hoping it will lead to change.

Happy, healthy children and teens gathered on Saturday at Saskatoon’s Shaw Centre with their adopted families to celebrate their success stories with a 5 kilometre walk.

Fourteen-year-old Kendra Deans was adopted as a baby.

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“My birth mom was really young when she had me,” said Deans.

“She just wanted the best possible life for me so she did what she thought was right, and I think it was a good choice.”

More than 200,000 people in Saskatchewan are connected by adoption and hundreds of success stories, just like Dean’s, come from those who’ve adopted.

But there are some children who were not so lucky.

In 2007, a two-year-old girl from B.C. was placed in the care of her maternal grandfather, who lived on a First Nation near Fort Qu’Appelle, Sask. The girl was found starved and abused.

“It is important to step back, and ask, how it is, that a grandfather with 70 criminal convictions, a deep child welfare history, who was unable to parent his own children and an active addict, could easily have a child passed to his custody,” said Turpel-Lafond.

The grandparents were sentenced to three years in prison in 2012.

The executive director for the Adoption Support Centre of Saskatchewan (ASCS) says she welcomes the two provinces working together to ignite change for children’s’ rights.

“We are working towards a legislative review,” said Cindy Xavier.

Though many family arrangements are successful, Xavier supports Turpel-Lafond’s mission in ensuring every child in the province has rights.

Turpel-Lafond said one of the major problems in the case of the two-year-old girl was that she was never checked on by a social worker.

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