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Gerrard says too many kids in care, proposes overhaul in new report

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Manitoba Liberal Leader Jon Gerrard says he has a 10-step fix to overhaul the province’s child welfare system.

Gerrard released a 56-page report today that recommends ways to replace the current "apprehension first" model of Child and Family Services with a more focused way that supports families first.

"We need to recognize above all that we have far too many children in care in Manitoba--nearly 10,000," Gerrard said in a release. "We can use a different approach of supporting families first instead of apprehending children first, and working in an effective and meaningful partnership with families."

Gerrard said research from around the world demonstrates that effective alternative approaches already exist for helping children and their families.

"We have 10 times as many children in out-of-home care, in care of Child and Family Services, compared to counties like the United States, the United Kingdom, Sweden, Australia and New Zealand," Gerrard said.

The report also looks at individual Manitoban communities like the Nisichawayasihk Cree Nation Family and Community Wellness Centre.

"The system is broken and it is weakening our communities," Sagkeeng First Nation Chief Donavan Fontaine said. "This report provides some practical alternatives. It would be morally wrong and incomprehensible if we continue to operate under the status quo and expect better results."

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