No children to be placed at B & L foster homes pending provincial investigation
Moratorium announced Monday following CBC News story
No additional children will be placed with a Manitoba for-profit foster-care agency while the province investigates allegations of sexual abuse at a foster home.
Families Minister Heather Stephenson ordered a review of B & L Resources for Children and Youth on Saturday, following a CBC investigation that revealed children were left in the same home as a minor who was sexually abusing them.
The provincial review is being led by deputy minister of Families Jay Rodgers.
The "review is proceeding on an expedited basis," a provincial spokesperson said Monday. "We have placed a moratorium on new placements with B & L at this time during our review."
During question period at the Manitoba Legislature on Monday, NDP Opposition Leader Wab Kinew and NDP MLA Bernadette Smith asked the Progressive Conservative government multiple times when the government learned of the allegations.
Neither former Families minister Scott Fielding (now finance minister) nor Sport, Culture and Heritage Minister Cathy Cox answered that question. Premier Brian Pallister and current Families Minister Heather Stefanson were both away from question period at other engagements.
"When all information came, further information came to us, we took immediate action as a government to call a review," Fielding said.
Kinew and Smith both suggested the government may have known about the incidents prior to the allegations becoming public.
"Manitobans need answers. This family need answers," Smith said.
'We dragged our heels big time': secret recording
In 2016, there were 275 children in B & L foster homes, according to information obtained by CBC News. More than a dozen agencies sent children in care to B & L foster homes at that time, including Winnipeg CFS, West Region CFS, Metis CFS and Dakota Ojibway CFS.
The biological parent of the children who were victimized would like to see the review extend to the Metis Child, Family and Community Services Agency, the children's legal guardian. The parent says they told Metis CFS about abuse allegations months before B & L got involved.
In an statement emailed to CBC News last week, Bruce Bertrand-Meadows, managing director of B & L, said: "The safety and well-being of children entrusted to our care has always been and remains B & L's primary focus."