Reports of missing kids in CFS care on the rise

Minister to seek explanation from police for jump in stats

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The number of reports of missing children in the care of family services agencies has doubled in Winnipeg since 2008.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 07/05/2015 (2762 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

The number of reports of missing children in the care of family services agencies has doubled in Winnipeg since 2008.

According to the Winnipeg Police Service, there were 3,669 reports of missing persons under the age of 18 in the first 11 months of last year from group and foster homes as well as directly from Child and Family Services. On a prorated basis, the number exceeds 4,000 for the entire year.

In 2008, there were 1,904 reports of missing minors from these sources.

Liberal MLA Jon Gerrard tabled the numbers in the legislature Wednesday after filing a freedom-of-information request with city police.

The Winnipeg police crime analysis unit keeps detailed statistics on the source of missing children reports.

It knows, for instance, how many times it receives reports of missing kids from schools, shopping malls, group homes, family residences and hospitals.

The statistics do not reveal how many children the reports represent — a child may be reported missing several times in a year — or how long the children were missing.

Gerrard said the increased number shows “things are going in the wrong direction.”

“One would think that with all the attention that Child and Family Services is getting that you would be seeing better performance with fewer children running away,” he said.

“Clearly that’s not the case, and it is puzzling, to say the least, as to why this is happening.”

According to Winnipeg police stats, there were 2,567 reports of missing children from group homes in the first 11 months of last year, compared with 1,263 in all of 2008.

Last year, there were 629 missing children reports filed with city police from foster homes, compared with 354 six years earlier.

Since 2008, the number of missing-person reports involving kids in care has grown steadily, hitting a high of 4,085 in 2013.

Last year, the total levelled off.

A cabinet spokeswoman said Family Services Minister Kerri Irvin-Ross would not comment on the police figures until she received an explanation about what they mean.

In a statement, the spokeswoman said since 2006, the province has hired 400 more front-line child-protection workers to reduce caseloads.

During the last eight years, it has added 5,000 new safe places for kids in foster homes and shelters and other care facilities.

Winnipeg police did not respond to a request for more information about the statistics before deadline Wednesday.

larry.kusch@freepress.mb.ca

Larry Kusch

Larry Kusch
Legislature reporter

Larry Kusch didn’t know what he wanted to do with his life until he attended a high school newspaper editor’s workshop in Regina in the summer of 1969 and listened to a university student speak glowingly about the journalism program at Carleton University in Ottawa.

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