Program helping aboriginal kids in foster care to be cut
|Chantal Douglas and a friend listen carefully to the story being told at Roots and Ties. (Darryl Hol and G.P. Mendoza)|
Chantal and Nora, now 12 and 9, were living in foster care because their parents couldn’t care for them.
Her family’s situation is all too common in the small Cheam First Nation - located about 100 kilometres east of Vancouver - where nearly every extended family has been affected by the child welfare system.
That’s why she started the Roots and Ties program four years ago. It’s an event that welcomes Cheam children living in foster care back to the community to visit their families.
“I feel that if there was no Roots and Ties, a lot of the children wouldn’t know their grandparents, even their parents sometimes,” says Stephenson.
|Eleanor Stephenson started the Roots and Ties program four years ago. (Darryl Hol and G.P. Mendoza)|
Held on the third Sunday of every month, foster parents are invited to bring children in their care to the community hall for a meal, birthday cake, and cultural activity.
Everyone is welcome, including parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, foster parents, and social workers.
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Our governments need a wake-up call that programs like this are necesssary and much-needed for the emotional health and stability of tribal children in care in Canada and the US...cutting funding hurts children. It should not be an option but a necessity....Trace