A system that “undermines the stability of African Canadian families and can, in fact, destroy them” needs sweeping reforms, says a hard-hitting report on reducing the number of black kids in the care of children’s aid.
The two-volume report, obtained by the Star ahead of its release, is called “One Vision One Voice: Changing the child welfare system to better serve African Canadians.” It demands that every aspect of child protection in Ontario be transformed by “anti-black racism” structures and practices.
The report was triggered by an ongoing Star investigation, which revealed that 42 per cent of children in the care of the Children’s Aid Society of Toronto were black, in a city where only 8 per cent of children are black.
“Throughout the consultations, participants reminded us of the enormous human suffering caused by the systemic racism in the child welfare system,” says the report, written by a committee struck by the Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Societies and funded by the Ministry of Children and Youth Services.
“We can’t tinker with the system while African Canadian children and families continue to suffer.”
The committee, made up of 18 African Canadian community leaders, calls for changes to provincial child protection laws, the children’s ministry, Ontario’s 47 privately run children’s aid societies, and to the way educators, police and medical staff refer children suspected of being at risk of abuse or neglect.
“The goal is to achieve equity in outcomes for African Canadian children and families,” the report says.