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Percentage of kids in agency care nearly doubled in last decade: report

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The percentage of children in Manitoba who are in the care of child welfare agencies has almost doubled since the NDP took power in 1999.

In its 2012-2013 annual report released on Friday, the Department of Family Services and Labour said 3.5 per cent of children aged 17 and under are in care. That compares to 1.9 per cent in 2000-2001.

There were 9,940 children in care in Manitoba as of March 31. According to one estimate presented last summer during an inquiry into the death of Phoenix Sinclair, more than 80 per cent of kids in care in Manitoba are aboriginal.

More than 10,000 families (10,117) received services from child welfare agencies last year.

Although the number of children apprehended from their parents continues to rise, recent rates of increase indicate a slowing of this trend, the report noted.

It said the number of children apprehended is driven by many factors, including societal changes, economic conditions, employment rates and the composition and growth rate of the province’s population.

Of the nearly 10,000 kids in care last year:

— 73 per cent were in care for the first time;

— 88 per cent of those who were school age attended school;

— 80 per cent continued to go to school in their same school;

— 78 per cent of school age kids "met or exceeded" educational expectations; and

— 68 per cent of school-aged kids were involved in an extracurricular activity.

 

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