The BC Teachers' Federation is renewing its call for the resignation of Stephanie Cadieux, Minister of Children and Family Development, following a devastating report from BC's Representative for Children and Youth about children in government care facing sexualized violence. The BCTF first demanded Minister Cadieux's resignation in March 2016 following the death of Patricia Evoy, an Aboriginal youth who had recently aged out of care.
“The BC government has had years to address the terrible conditions facing children and youth in care, but now the situation is even worse, particularly for Aboriginal children and youth,” said BC Teachers' Federation President Glen Hansman. “The inability of this government and Minister Cadieux to protect the lives of children and youth in care cannot be tolerated. Children and youth in care are dying, they're living in hotels and other places where they shouldn't be, and now we find out that over 100 of them have become victims of sexual assault while in the government's care. It is time for accountability and real action to protect these children's lives.”
The Representative for Children and Youth's report, Too Many Victims: Sexualized Violence in the Lives of Children and Youth in Care, shows “that at least 121 children and youth were the victims of sexualized violence while in government care. Of those 121 children and youth, 109 were girls. And of those girls, 74 were Aboriginal, confirming that this cohort is particularly vulnerable.” The report also states that the real number of victims is likely higher, but is not known because of under reporting.
These shocking statistics follow a 2015 report that found there were 245 critical injuries and 58 deaths of BC children and youth who were in care between June 1 and September 30, 2015.
“There has been a crisis facing children and youth in care for years, but the government has failed to take meaningful action,” said Hansman. “As teachers, we see the impact of government inaction in our classrooms every single day. These children and youth deserve so much more than they are getting and if Minister Cadieux isn't up to the job then someone else should take over. With a $1.9 billion surplus, there is no excuse for the government not to take immediate action to prevent violence, injuries, and deaths amongst BC's children and youth in care.”