The Journey Begins

A good journey takes you back to where you started from but now with new eyesight.

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22people. 11 youth, 11 adults. Off to New Zealand for a Maori cultural tour.

2hrs at Nanaimo airport, 13 minute flight. 2 hours in YVR, 14 hour flight. Watched Whale Rider on the plane. Great movie based on Maori culture. The youth also recommended We were once Warriors and Hunt for Wilderpeople (on Netflix).

I am going to do a bit of a different blog, focusing on culture, both Maori and First Nations and some issues I am learning about.

Today I learned a little about youth under care by the Ministry of Children and Family Development. One of the adults told me about a youth who was 15 and taken out of foster care and put in his own apartment. so the foster care must have been pretty bad to remove him from there. Think about this for a moment…, a 15 year-old with no parents, no adult to provide guidance on life, no one other than a social worker who visited once a month.

He didn’t know how to manage money so his social worker cashed his monthly payment cheque for him and each month gave him cash. The woman telling me this worked at a bank. When she met the youth she offered to teach him money management. The social worker threatened her saying what she was doing was illegal. But she knew it wasn’t and soon she and the youth discovered the social worker was siphoning $125 a month. She asked the youth what he wanted to do about it–report it to the Ministry? “Why?” he said “the system won’t do anything.” But from then on he cashed his own cheques.

The social worker was eventually caught but in another town. I looked it up and found an article about this. You can read it here.

I asked another adult to tell me about the kids-in-care program and he quickly corrected me. No. That is making it sound warm and fuzzy. It is not. Imagine a child being taken away from their parents, probably their community, put in a foster care home. Some homes are doing this for love and some for love of money.

We have two youth with us who are under Ministry care. One is in a group home with three others. One doesn’t get along with the house manager and has a rough time there. At that home the fridge and the food cupboards have locks on them. One punishment is having the power to your room turned off. It doesn’t sound like a home. One who is 19 and who has ‘aged out’ meaning given $1500 and is now on his own. No support, no guidance, no one giving him life skills.

2 thoughts on “The Journey Begins

  1. It is so maddening to see children, seniors, the ‘vulnerables’ in a population being abused financially, emotionally, intellectually, physically. The system does not spend money on creating standards, guidelines, etc. and having accountable personnel monitoring and reporting of these. Tristan and I had many interesting conversations on aboriginal children and their needs.

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