Two years after a “stupid” incident brought child welfare workers to her door, a B.C. Mother is still fighting a system that all too often tears indigenous families apart. Every day in Canada 3 infants are taken into provincial care, an over whelming majority of them indigenous. 52.2% of all children in foster care are indigenous yet they make up 7.7% of the children country wide. In Manitoba 10,000 out of 11,000 children in foster care are indigenous. There are currently more indigenous children in foster care at this very moment then at the height of the residential school crisis. In Canada if your child is in the foster care system for longer then one year they are on a fast track to being permanent wards of the province, whether you have made the changes they deemed necessary or not. Once your child is in the system at all it is very difficult to get them out. When children are removed traumatically from their parents stress hormones spike dramatically, their little heart rates soar and blood pressure rises. Over time if things don’t change these hormones begin attacking the hippocampus and limbic system which regulates emotion. If too many cells die the child will have trouble in the future managing emotion and evaluating risk. It can affect everything from career development to personal relationships. There is no greater risk to a child’s emotional well being then being separated from their parent and should be considered the last possible option and yet, as is the case with “S”, it is done in the interest of “risk management”. For Indigenous children who are ripped away from their communities and culture, the physical and mental trauma is magnified and can span generations – something that has been well documented in survivors of residential schools.

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