The government of Alberta says it must do a better job placing foster children within their community.

"My number one priority is to make sure children are placed in kinship relationships as much as possible," says Human Services Minister Manmeet Bhullar. "We need to do better."

An Edmonton Somali-Canadian woman who is fighting for custody of her niece and nephew now living in Fort McMurray with a non-Somali foster family.

The woman cannot be named here in order to protect the identity of the children.

"They placed them with strange people," she said. "They don't have the same culture, the same religion."

The woman is fighting the order in court.

"We were trying to tell them, 'Please ... let the children be part of the community. Don't take the kids away.'

"They ignored all that."

There are many other similar cases, said community leader Mahamad Accord.

"Safety is paramount. but second to that is the kid's identity," he said. "Because when he grows older, that's what matters."

Bhullar said he intends to introduces changes soon.

With files from CBC's Andrea Huncar