Seized children returning to Manitoba Mennonite community
More than half of the 41 children seized from a Mennonite community in rural Manitoba over allegations of child abuse have been reunited with their families.
Jay Rodgers, CEO of the General Child and Family Services Authority, said 23 children are now home and he expects almost all will be back in the community by the end of summer.
The children were taken from the Old Order Mennonite Community by welfare officials last year —some in February and the rest in June. A number of adults were charged with multiple counts of assault, including assault with a weapon, stemming from how the children were disciplined.
- Mennonite community regrets harshly disciplining children
- Child abuse charges stayed against 5 in Mennonite community
- Mennonite child abuse arrests have community reeling
- Dozens of children seized from Manitoba Mennonite community
“It's been a process of working with these families around parenting capacity, parenting techniques, learning about child development learning about appropriate discipline approaches,” said Rodgers.
Court documents claimed the assaults took place between July 2011 and Jan. 31, 2013, and involved the use of cattle prods and straps. The youngest of the alleged victims at the time was less than a year old, and the oldest was 17.
The province's child and family services authority removed all children but one while the matter was investigated.
Many of the charges have now been stayed but a community member told CBC News seven people still face charges.
"We desperately want to do things differently," a man from the community told CBC.
Nobody from the community, or its location, can be named to protect the identity of the children who were apprehended.
"We are very committed to trying to stay here, build here and put our community back together again," the man said.