Manitoba judge calls for safe places for at-risk youth after hanging death of teen

Manitoba judge calls for safe places for at-risk youth after hanging death of teen

A Manitoba judge is calling for changes following the death of an Indigenous teenage girl who hanged herself after spending most of her life in government care.

Provincial court Judge Shauna Hewitt-Michta wants a review to see whether there are enough secure foster placements in the province for high-risk youth.

Hewitt-Michta examined the 2013 death of a 16-year-old chronic runaway, who cannot be identified because of a publication ban.

The girl was seized from her family at birth, ran away from foster homes and group homes and was exploited in the sex trade.

She was arrested for stealing from a drug store and put in jail in Brandon, where she hanged herself.

The judge’s report says while federal law forbids the incarceration of children as a substitute for child welfare, there should be ways to prevent high-risk kids in care from running away.

The issue was also highlighted following the 2014 death of Tina Fontaine, an Indigenous girl whose body was found in a Winnipeg river.

The trial of her accused killer, Raymond Cormier, heard that Tina would frequently leave hotels and a youth shelter where she had been placed by child welfare.

She walked away a final time from a hotel room after rejecting pleas from a social worker to stay in.

Cormier was found not guilty of second-degree murder.

Published at Wed, 11 Apr 2018 13:56:22 -0400