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Halt Metis girl’s transfer to Ontario: Advocate

By Michael Mui, 24 Hours Vancouver

Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond, the B.C. representative for children and youth.
POSTMEDIA NETWORK

Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond, the B.C. representative for children and youth. POSTMEDIA NETWORK

B.C.’s child advocate is asking the provincial attorney general to intervene in the case of a three-year-old girl living with her Vancouver Island foster parents — but who could be sent to Ontario to be with her siblings.

 

The girl, of Metis heritage and identified as S.S. by the courts, had been raised by her foster family in B.C., one of whom is also Metis, since two days after her birth. But the provincial director of child and family services, who has jurisdiction in these matters, hopes to send the girl to live with her two siblings in Ontario, who currently reside with non-Metis parents.

Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond, the B.C. representative for children and youth, is urging that the child’s status with her current foster parents be preserved for a month, until cultural input by Meti experts is considered.

Turpel-Lafond wants the provincial government to seek advance from three First Nations experts, Nicolas Vrooman, Maria Campbell and Paul Chartrand, before allowing any decisions with the child.

“S.S. has been the subject of a court dispute involving her Metis foster parents, who want to adopt her, and the non-Metis family in Ontario with whom her siblings reside,” Turpel-Lafond’s office said in a statement.

“Courts in B.C. have twice ruled that the provincial Director of Child Welfare has the authority to move the child to Ontario, but the foster parents are appealing that decision to the Supreme Court of Canada.”

Turpel-Lafonde said intervention needs to happen to protect the child’s cultural rights.