Foster homes should be 'open books', association says
The head of a group representing foster families in Saskatchewan says all homes that take in children should disclose everything about their situation, including details on who else is in the home.
Deb Davies, with Saskatchewan Foster Families Association, an organization that represents foster families, was responding to information relating to the recent death of a child in a foster home on the Onion Lake First Nation.
Genesis Parenteau-Dillon was killed last November, two months after being removed from his mother's custody.
The 13-month-old suffered severe brain damage and died after his foster mother asked her live-in boyfriend to babysit while she was away at a course.
The boyfriend, Allen Charles Davidson, has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for manslaughter.
CBC News has learned that the foster mother did not tell anyone about Davidson, who had a violent criminal past.
Davies told CBC News that foster parents have a duty to disclose information about the people in their homes.
"Even having family come and stay, you have to be very conscientious about who's entering your home," Davies said. "Your home is an open book. Your life is an open book."
The association does not represent all foster families in the province, and the placement of Genesis was arranged by a First Nations agency.
In most of the province, the Saskatchewan Foster Families Association does background checks on homes. That happens when someone new moves in, or there's a major change in the dynamics of the foster home. However, they are not involved in placements by reserve agencies.
Davies maintains, however, that all foster families should meet high standards for care.
The province's social services minister, June Draude, also noted that agreements with foster families include requirements for reporting who is in a home.
"Report anybody that's in the homes, anybody that's in contact with the homes," June Draude said. "And that is part of the agreement that they've signed as being part of foster parents as well."
The office of the Children's Advocate in Saskatchewan said it has four current investigations into the deaths of aboriginal children who were in foster care.