More support needed for Manitoba foster parents, says Liberal Party

The Manitoba Liberal Party is calling on the provincial government to increase maintenance rates and service fees for foster parents in the province.

Interim Liberal Leader Cindy Lamoureux made the announcement on Thursday, saying the maintenance rates have not kept up with the rising cost of living.

“Resources have become incredibly strained over the last number of years,” she said at a Thursday news conference.

“One way we can help children in our province is by better supporting foster parents.”

According to the Liberals, maintenance funds cover the basic costs of living, including food, clothes and transportation.

In Manitoba, foster parents receive $8,000 to $10,000 a year, while Statistics Canada recently reported that the average cost of raising a child in Canada requires at least $17,000 a year.

“This is why it is long overdue that we have a debate that is focused on children, especially children in care and how we have a role to play,” Lamoureux said.

Echoing the Manitoba Liberal Party’s call to the government is the Manitoba Foster Parent Association, which sent a letter to the province’s families minister asking to schedule a meeting to discuss its concerns.

In the letter, the organization noted that Manitoba’s basic maintenance rate has not increased in a decade and the service fee hasn’t increased in more than 20 years.

The organization is concerned that foster children in Manitoba may be missing out on opportunities to improve their development.

“Manitoba has one of the highest rates of children in care in the world,” said Jamie Pfau, president of the Manitoba Foster Parent Association.

“With over 10,000 children in care and 90 per cent being Indigenous, Manitoba needs foster parents. Being a foster parent is a job. It is a job that requires one parent to stay at home.”

CTV News Winnipeg has reached out to the province for comment.

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