Newspaper article The Canadian Press

N.S. Premier Orders Review as Former Foster Child Faces Deportation

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

N.S. Premier Orders Review as Former Foster Child Faces Deportation

Article excerpt

Premier orders review of children in care

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HALIFAX - Nova Scotia's premier has told child welfare officials to review how they handle complex cases, as a former foster child in the province faces deportation to a country he has no connection to.

Stephen McNeil said Wednesday he asked the Community Services Department to complete a review of any cases that would require supports similar to those needed by Abdoul Abdi.

The 24-year-old man was recently released from prison after serving a five-year sentence on multiple charges. He was put in segregation in a New Brunswick jail by the Canada Border Services Agency upon his release and is now awaiting a hearing on deportation to Somalia.

Abdi arrived in Canada as a six-year-old child refugee and was shortly after apprehended by the Nova Scotia government and placed in foster care but never obtained citizenship.

McNeil said all children in the province's care who require extensive support are offered a "myriad of options," but he said the province can't force them to take on the options.

While refusing to speak to any specific case, he said the province can provide children in its care legal advice or "options to gain citizenship" but cannot force them to pursue citizenship.

"I can tell you since this has come out there will be a complete review of not only this case but any cases that would require the kind of support that I'm hearing about with this particular gentleman," McNeil told reporters.

"I've asked, not specific to this case but all children in care, what are the options that we are providing and laying out to all children in care, and then it is up to those children as they grow into teenage years to decide whether or not they take advantage of those options," he said.

Abdi was born in Saudi Arabia in 1993. After his parents divorced, his mother -- fearing persecution if she returned to Somalia -- fled to Djibouti, where the family obtained refugee status.

His biological mother died in the refugee camp when he was four, and two years later he came to Canada with his sister and aunts.

But shortly after arriving, the children were apprehended by the province of Nova Scotia. …

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