Families Minister Scott Fielding says the province will work toward a plan to keep the public safe from a 10-year-old Winnipeg boy who is chronically violent.

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Families Minister Scott Fielding says the province will work toward a plan to keep the public safe from a 10-year-old Winnipeg boy who is chronically violent.

Police have cautioned the boy at least 22 times since 2013 but cannot criminally charge him because of his age. The most serious incident was a stabbing last year in which the child’s victim was critically injured.

The child is in the care of Child and Family Services but repeatedly flees the residences where he is placed.

"We’re not into making policy on the fly," Fielding told reporters Wednesday when asked about the province’s responsibilities to curtail the child. "The individual case, I can’t comment specifically on that.

"We’re obviously going to work with the authorities," including the police and Child and Family Services. "We need to develop a plan for this individual."

Fielding noted a child under 12 cannot be charged criminally but said the province has programs and foster care. He would not discuss if the province would, or even can, place the child in a secure facility.

"At the end of the day, public safety is extremely important," Fielding said.

The Free Press wrote about the troubled boy in March. His father is a convicted killer.

The Winnipeg Police Service is very familiar with the boy, but they can’t charge him.

The youth has been involved in a near-fatal stabbing, assaults, arson, car theft and break-and-enters, and he’s possessed weapons and uttered death threats.

 

Fielding on...

Families Minister Scott Fielding was questioned by reporters Wednesday about several ongoing issues:

He said is not aware if anyone in Child and Family Services will be disciplined in the case of a 15-year-old boy who brutally beat and seriously injured a 16-year-old girl in a parkade in April, 2015.

Both were in the care of Child and Family Services and had been housed at the time in the same downtown hotel.

"I can't speak specifically on the case, of discipline. Nothing has been reported to me," Fielding told reporters.

Fielding said his government is "absolutely committed" to not placing children in care in hotels, and said no child is now housed in a hotel, even in emergency situations: "Our officials have indicated that is not the case."

Fielding would not make comment on the possibility of the government's increasing funding to MacDonald Youth Services so that workers who went on strike for two weeks earlier this month could get a raise. MYS hasn't had a funding increase in four years.

"It's an employer/employees discussion going on. That's obviously a decision happening right now with MacDonald Youth Services."

However, a senior aide to Premier Brian Pallister said immediately after the interview that the government does not want to see any money targetted for programs being diverted into wage increases.

Fielding said he will release his implementation plan for improving access to day care this fall. It will include less red tape, more home-based day cares, and more day care spaces in schools.

The NDP approach to day care was neither sustainable nor pragmatic, Fielding said.

"We need to make it easier for people to get access" and easier to start a home-based day care, he said, though Fielding quickly noted, "We're not looking to reduce standards. There are rigourous standards in place now."

-- with files from Mike McIntyre

nick.martin@freepress.mb.ca