Minister criticized over Black kids’ care

By Gerald V. Paul

Children’s Minister Tracy MacCharles “needs to move faster” as she considers ways to fix systemic issues affecting Black families, including a separate CAS for the Black community, the executive director of the African Canadian Legal Clinic (ACLC) charges.

“It is no secret that youth in care do not fare well when compared to children in the general population,” Margaret Parsons told The Camera.

She said the provincial government needs to report on this and monitor future corrective measures to create powerful community-based solutions. Children’s aid societies must commit to collecting and releasing this data if they are seriously interested in correcting this issue, Parsons said.

An ACLC report entitled Canada’s Forgotten Children: Written Submissions to the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child 2012, offers statistics which affirm the cause for alarm, including that “while 81% of all Ontario youth graduate from high school, only 44% in care do.”

Parsons has called the care issue “a form of racial profiling. They are profiling Black parents in a negative way.”  Parsons said her clinic will push for an African Canadian Children’s Aid Society – an option she will present to MacCharles.

But MacCharles has said “children’s aid societies know their communities best. I just don’t want to overstep and get into their territory.”

This was seen as slow approach to change after her response to recommendations at the inquest into the death of Jeffrey Baldwin, 5, who died in 2002 after being kept locked in his bedroom, repeatedly beaten and rarely fed by his grandparents, who had a separate record of abuse that wasn’t checked by the CAS that placed him with them.

Gerald V. Paul
Gerald V. Paul