Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Manitoba to Look at Connection between Youth Incarceration and Child Welfare

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Manitoba to Look at Connection between Youth Incarceration and Child Welfare

Article excerpt

Approach to youth justice not working: minister

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WINNIPEGOSIS, Man. - Manitoba is taking a hard look at youth justice and its connection to child welfare after a study found more than half of kids incarcerated had also been in care.

Justice Minister Cliff Cullen announced Friday that the province will review why youth are bouncing between the two systems without having positive outcomes.

"We have to end that cycle," he said during a news conference.

"The sooner we end that cycle, the better the outcomes for kids and hopefully (it will) keep them out of the adult justice system as well."

Cullen said the province has the highest rate of youth in custody in the country -- four times the national average -- and up to 90 per cent of them are Indigenous.

The study of admissions at the Manitoba Youth Centre in October 2018 showed about 60 per cent of youth charged were also involved with child welfare services.

"We know that youth in child and family services are far more likely to become involved in the criminal justice system, and they are more often to become repeat offenders as well," Cullen said.

There are more than 10,000 children in care in Manitoba and about 90 per cent are Indigenous.

Cullen said a review will provide recommendations for reducing the rates of incarceration and recidivism. In addition, it will tackle how to better get treatment and support to youth.

The review and recommendations are expected to be released by the end of 2019.

Daphne Penrose, Manitoba's children's advocate, said the review must recognize that many youth are running into conflict with the law because there are not enough treatment options for addiction and mental health issues. …

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