A much greater emphasis needs to be put on dual placements - whenever possible, mothers and children should be placed together
often feel like they are under constant scrutiny by their social workers and are always needing to prove to everyone that they’re able to parent.
Placement in care within the first week of life is sometimes associated with substance use in the birth mothers, which is more prevalent among adolescents in care. However, treatment for substance use disorder is less successful when women are separated from their children. Programs such as Portage’s Mother and Child Program in Montreal have found success by providing accommodations for mothers and their children in their rehabilitation program. More such facilities should be made available across Canada.
When a child is placed in care, the government takes on the role of surrogate parent to that child. By separating a quarter of young mothers from their infant within the first week of life, and almost half before the child turns two, the government is failing in its role of surrogate parent, and in these cases, surrogate grandparents.
A much greater emphasis needs to be put on dual placements - whenever possible, mothers and children should be placed together. This ensures that mothers and children have the chance to bond. This should be supplemented with specific supports to mothers (e.g., financial, housing, child care and education) to assist young mothers in their transition to motherhood.
Our study used data from Manitoba, which has the highest rate of children in care among the provinces. However, this is not an issue limited to Manitoba. Canadian provinces with relatively low rates compared to other provinces still have higher rates of children in care than many other countries, and Indigenous children are hugely overrepresented in the child welfare system across the country.
The tireless work of many children’s advocates has resulted in a renewed effort to address challenges in the Canadian child welfare system, specifically in Indigenous communities. Failing to support young mothers who are in care is contributing to what has become known as “the millennial scoop,” sadly analogous to the systematic removal of Indigenous children in the ‘60s Scoop.
Let’s make sure that these families get the support they need so they’re the last generation with this experience. -TROYMEDIA