The Manitoba government will create 71 emergency foster home spaces and hire 210 child care workers as part of its plan to reduce its reliance on hotels as emergency shelters.

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The Manitoba government will create 71 emergency foster home spaces and hire 210 child care workers as part of its plan to reduce its reliance on hotels as emergency shelters.

Family Services Minister Kerri Irvin-Ross made the announcement today at Marymound in north Winnipeg.

Irvin-Ross said other key changes include the creation of secure residential care unit to work with girls ages 12 to 17 who have complex needs and increasing capacity within the system to help children with behavioural challenges, such as autism.

She said the hiring of more permanent child-care workers, over two years, will reduce the reliance on contract workers who currently fill that gap.

In 2012-13, these contractors received a total of $13.7 million — much more than some small Child and Family Services agencies get from government.

Irvin-Ross also said the province wants to increase emergency foster placements and supports in rural areas to care for children closer to their homes.

She added the majority of the changes are expected to be fully implemented by spring of 2015.

She said the long-term goal is to reduce the number of children temporarily placed in hotels.

However, she acknowledged that it may never be possible to rule out hotel placements entirely.