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Preventing the use of social circumstances including poverty as a reason for taking a child from its parents.

Tuesday November 6th, I spoke in the Manitoba Legislature on Bill 223, the Child and Family Services Amendment Act.   This bill will ensure that no child will be taken into care solely as a result of the economic or social situation of the child's parent or guardian.   My comments are below:

Hon. Jon Gerrard (River Heights): Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the member for Point Douglas (Mrs.  Smith) for bringing this forward. It is an important bill. When I was first elected in 1999, I was told that about a third of the children taken from families didn't need to be in care because it was just an issue of social circumstances and poverty that could've been helped.

      Over the last 19 years it was very frustrating that this was never adequately addressed and so that we ended up with about 11,000 kids in care, and probably about 85 per cent of them on the basis of neglect, and many of those due to social and economic circumstances.

      There needs to be, clearly, from the govern­ment's side, a plan to support families who are in difficult economic and social circumstances, so that when you have a child not coming into care, there needs to be an alternative that needs to be vigorous and strong.

      I thank the member for Point Douglas and hope that we can pass this through.


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