British Columbia

Indigenous children in B.C. have twice the rate of injuries compared to other kids in care, report finds

Indigenous children and youth suffered more than two times the number of injuries than non-Indigenous children and youth under continuing custody orders.

Majority of injuries reported for First Nations children and youth were for those in government care

Jennifer Charlesworth is British Columbia’s representative for children and youth. (Office of the Representative for Children and Youth)

A new report by B.C.'s representative for children says the majority of injuries reported for First Nations children and youth were for those in the care of the Ministry of Families and Children or a Delegated Aboriginal Agency.

The data presented also shows that the highest number of injuries were reported for First Nations children in permanent care under a continuing custody order, and that Indigenous children and youth suffered more than two times the number of injuries of the non-Indigenous in the same circumstance.

Entitled Illuminating Service Experience: A Descriptive Analysis of Injury and Death Reports for First Nations
Children and Youth in B.C., 2015 to 2017
, the report is the result of an aggregate review of injury and death data designed to be useful to the communities affected.

B.C.'s Representative for Children and Youth Jennifer Charlesworth said past research hasn't served First Nations, Métis, Inuit and urban Indigenous communities well. 

"With this report, we are aiming to disrupt that trajectory and work in respectful collaboration with First Nations communities to produce research that they have said they need and that will be useful to them as they prepare to resume jurisdiction over their own child welfare systems," she said.

Other findings in the report include:

• One-third of deaths reported for First Nations children and youth were unexpected (due to accident, suicide, or homicide.)
• Most injuries reported for First Nations youth were for female-identifying youth.
• Injuries reported for First Nations youth were most commonly reported for those placed in foster homes.
• Injuries were most commonly reported for older youth.
• Sexual assaults and suicide attempts were most commonly reported for both First Nations children and youth and non-Indigenous children and youth.
• Physical assault injuries and caregiver mistreatment were reported more commonly for First Nations children and youth than non-Indigenous children and youth.

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