A practice without end

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This article was published 2/4/2015 (2393 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

A practice without end

A 17-year history of Manitoba's practice of placing foster children in hotels:

1998: During the waning years of Gary Filmon's Progressive Conservative government, concerns about the CFS placement of children in hotels leads the children's advocate to review the practice. At the time, an average of 37 kids per night stay in hotels.

1999: Gary Doer's New Democrats take power. Initially, the province experiences some success in reducing the number of kids in hotels. Four kids are in hotels by 2001.

2002: The children's advocate once again sounds the alarm as the number of foster kids in hotels increases to 10.

2006: The number of CFS kids in hotels jumps to 121 per night. In November, then-family services minister Gord Mackintosh promises to end the practice entirely by July 1, 2007, except under exceptional circumstances. "A hotel room is no substitute for a family room," Mackintosh said.

2008: The province concedes it had as many as 79 foster kids in hotels in July, citing the exceptions envisioned in 2006.

2014: In March, 65 CFS kids are staying in hotels. The August slaying of Tina Fontaine, 15, who escaped CFS custody while in a hotel, returns the spotlight to the practice. Investigations reveal CFS kids in hotels are increasingly under the oversight of private companies, whose employees have little training and earn little more than minimum wage. In October, Family Services Minister Kerri Irvin-Ross orders a review into hotel care.

2015: The number of CFS kids in hotels is 25 in February. In March, Irvin-Ross promises changes to reduce the numbers. On Wednesday, the severe assault of another foster child being cared for at a hotel leads the minister to pledge an end to the practice by June 1.

-- compiled by Bartley Kives