Manitoba

Manitoba outreach program searches 3,000 homes for runaway teens in 1 year

A province-run program has searched for more than 200 missing Winnipeg children in the last year.

StreetReach can search as many as 30 addresses in a single day

'Often we find kinds in pretty bad condition, sometimes we do have to take them to the hospital,' Jennifer Richardson, the acting manager of StreetReach tells CBC News. (CBC)

A provincial outreach program has searched for more than 200 missing Winnipeg children in the last year.

Since Tina Fontaine's death in August 2014, Manitoba's StreetReach Teams have searched about 3,000 residences to locate and help missing kids, 12 to 18-years-old, on Winnipeg streets.

"We were able to return the 224 children safely 504 different times. You get very good at identifying children's patterns and where they're going and who the offenders are that are offending against them. Last year we identified 96," said Jennifer Richardson, the acting manager of the program. 

Kids of all backgrounds

The group is primarily looking for runaways, at risk of being exploited. It's not just an inner city issue, they're looking for kids from all backgrounds, all over the city, Richardson told CBC News.

"Every ethnicity, every social class. Really when it comes to exploitation you know it touches everyone," Richardson said. 

"Often times we find kids in pretty bad condition, sometimes we do have to take them to the hospital. Other times kids are just calling us and saying, 'Hey, you know, can you come and get me? I need someone to help me.'"

StreetReach can search as many as 30 addresses in a single day. 

"We find that a lot of people are quite cooperative because we are looking for children. Especially some of the older, exploited women, you know they don't want the kids to end up in the same situation that they've suffered or in places that they've been," Richardson said. 

StreetReach goals:

  1. To operate every day. 
  2. To locate children that have been reported missing and return them to the place they're living.
  3. To identify and address offenders who are preying on children.

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.