REGINA – A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Social Services says despite a damning report by the Children’s Advocate over a baby’s death, they are continuing to work with the Saskatoon Tribal Council.
Natalie Huber tells radio station CJME that working with the seven bands that comprise the council has been “very good and very positive.”
Earlier this summer, the government took the council to court for failure to provide basic reporting information and then took back control of child welfare.
Huber says the two sides are working to resolve their ongoing issues.
Earlier this week, Saskatchewan’s child advocate said a 2 1/2-month old boy who died while under the watch of the council needed more protection.
Bob Pringle said there were significant concerns about the care the premature baby and his eight siblings were getting before he died of bronchopneumonia, which arose from a bacterial infection, in October 2015.
Pringle said the agency didn’t do proper risk assessments, didn’t properly document what it was doing and didn’t properly investigate to know whether the children were safe.
The investigation was described as challenging because the tribal council initially denied having involvement with the baby and his family.
The council also argued that the advocate had no powers to investigate on reserve, so its co-operation was “reluctant and selective,” said Pringle.
Saskatoon Tribal Council Chief Felix Thomas said in a statement that the agency was working with the family but the child was not in care.
“The advocate and the ministry may not agree with our techniques but the fact remains that STC is amongst the lowest in apprehensions but more importantly, in this case, applying and following the ministry’s procedures would not have changed the outcome,” he said.
He said the agency made significant changes before the advocate’s report was released and remains committed to continuous improvement.
(CJME, The Canadian Press)
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