Studying how Inuit kids ended up in unlicensed care home could take month: Premier

Akeeagok faces questions from MLAs on the performance of Family Services Department

Premier P.J. Akeeagok faced questions at the legislature Tuesday on the release of two auditor general performance reviews. (File photo)

By Nunatsiaq News

Premier P.J. Akeeagok was questioned in the legislature Tuesday over what the Government of Nunavut is doing to investigate circumstances that led to several Inuit children being placed in an unlicensed group home in Alberta.

Baker Lake MLA Craig Simailak told Akeeagok that news reports from late March “indicate that a lawyer in the south has been hired to conduct the review of what happened with these young children.”

Responding in Inuktitut, Akeeagok said, “As I indicated last month, there was going to be an investigation [into how] they were placed there.”

Akeeagok said the government was told the investigation would take up to one month to conduct.

“Once the investigation is complete, we will know the results of the findings,” he said.

CBC reported May 3 that a spokesperson for the premier said a third party had been contracted to review the incident with the Family Services Department.

Simailak’s questions in the legislature came as Canada’s auditor general, Karen Hogan, was set to release results of her audit of the Family Services Department.

“There have been two previous reports on this same topic, and it was felt that a third audit of these services was warranted,” Simailak said. “I anticipate that we will have some serious discussions in the near future.

“Can the premier explain what factors he took into consideration when determining the need for a formal investigation into this specific incident?”

Referring to the auditor’s report in general, Akeeagok said, “We will take [this under] serious consideration and the government as a whole will have to deal with this issue.”



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(7) Comments:

  1. Posted by Righteous Wrongthinker on

    So did anything bad happen to the kids there? Or was it just a bureaucratic glitch, that a home didn’t have its paperwork renewed properly or on time or something? I need more info to properly titrate my outrage.

    • Posted by Deep reading on

      Essentially, yes. The kids were placed in a group home that didn’t have a licence to care for kids. But the issue is indicative of the ultimate failings of the GN by not having any idea how many kids it has placed down south, where they’re played, and whether they’re facing abuse or not.

      CBC’s follow up to that story highlights cases of abuse kids have faced in placements down south, with little to no oversight.

      And so while the kids placed in the Alberta group home may not have been in imminent danger, it’s just another example of how poorly the GN actually keeps track of the wellbeing of the children it sends south.

      • Posted by Random Thoughts on

        When someone takes kids (not theirs) from their home to another province and puts them in a different home that is usually called kidnapping and is a criminal charge.

        Child Protection can legally remove children from homes when they are at risk or are being abused; after an investigation, usually a court order, and then they can place them with a properly approved person, agency or home.

        In this case, and in the ones pointed out by the OAG, this does not seem to have happened as outlined under the Child and Family Act.

        My question is: how is this not kidnapping:

        When is the Premier and/or others going to ask the RCMP to do an investigation into the possible criminal actions of those at Family Wellness who allowed these things to occur? The responsibility falls to the Deputy Minister at the time and the person who was delegated as the Director of Family Services and the Regional Director who approved as they all need to approve out of territory placements.

        I agree with the OAG that this is a crisis. I just hope it is not ignored.

  2. Posted by ArrowJohnny on

    Studying? I’d just ask?
    Wouldn’t your department do the same? SOOOO who’s fault is it……
    No how easy was that!

  3. Posted by 867 on

    Study why unlicensed teens become parents. Has NU’s abnormally high birth rate and the cost associated with poor family planning ever been studied? Just another big problem that our leaders consistently ignore or fail to address.

  4. Posted by iThink™ on

    You’re not going to change a damn thing, PJ… and we all know it. To be fair it is not “you” that caused this, but it will not be you to solve it either, because it is an intractable problem, unsolvable by any individual or government.

  5. Posted by What?!?! on

    It’s only going to take a month?? In other jurisdictions it could take months or it would be swept under the rug and forgotten. Let’s hope the investigation is done properly, that it isn’t rushed and that it has all the proper information that is needed.

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