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WINNIPEG, Canada- Two kids die in care in Manitoba
Two kids die in care in Manitoba
WINNIPEG - Manitoba's embattled child-welfare system is scrambling to
explain the deaths of two more children in care.
The first was an infant, the second a 16-year-old boy who committed
suicide at his foster home.
On March 26, five-month-old Samuel Luke Maytwaywashing died in his Lake
Manitoba reserve home.
His four siblings had been seized by Anishinaabe Child and Family
Services when his mother was pregnant with Samuel.
Officially, Baby Samuel died of natural causes and the RCMP say no
charges will be laid. However, sources close to the investigation say
the infant was dehydrated, had a high fever and was likely malnourished.
His mother, Candace Maytwaywashing, says he had pneumonia.
Maytwaywashing said Wednesday she was living in a shelter for abused
women when her four older children (aged 10, 9, 5 and 3) were taken.
CFS intended to take Samuel, she said, but inexplicably didn't.
There was a supervision order on her baby, a designation that means the
child is supposed to be visited often, but the 27-year-old mother said a
worker made only two visits in six months, each only for a few minutes.
"They don't know what they're doing," she said. "I had to ask them to
come see me."
In the second case, 16-year-old Will Trout Jr. hanged himself May 26 in
a Winnipeg foster home.
Child welfare sources acquainted with his case claim an accusation was
made to authorities that another child in the foster home was being
Trout was not removed during the ongoing investigation.
Family Services Minister Gord McIntosh said his department and the
Southern Authority are aware of the allegations.
Since 2003, at least 25 Manitoba children under the care of Child and
Family Services have been killed as a result of homicide and 39 others
have committed suicide.
McIntosh said Tuesday the two most recent deaths call for a close
examination of the system.
"This is difficult and there are far too many deaths here and
everywhere," he said. "That compels us to look closely. Many eyes will
be on these cases, including mine."
Difficult questions must be asked, he said.
"Are we routing out any shortcomings to get this child welfare system
where it needs to be?" he said. "We have to look carefully at any death
and see what we can learn."
The review into Baby Samuel's death will be completed within the next
week. His mother hopes to be reunited with her other four children, now
living in foster homes in Winnipeg and Volgarth.
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