Manitoba kids in care struggle in school; less than one-third graduate: study

A study has found Manitoba children who have been taken into care struggle in school and the majority never finish high school.

WINNIPEG — A study has found Manitoba children who have been taken into care struggle in school and the majority never finish high school.

The study from the Manitoba Centre for Health Policy at the University of Manitoba compared kids who have been taken into care for any length of time with peers who have had no involvement with child welfare.

Researchers say those in care scored lower on math and reading assessments from Grade 3 through to high school. The study found less than one-third earned a high school diploma.

It also found that kids in care were more likely to have a developmental disability, a mental disorder or to come from a poor family.

“Problems with school begin at an early age. Among kids in kindergarten, children in care are less likely to be ’ready’ for school learning than those who aren’t in care,” the study said. “The overwhelming story from this analysis is that children in care have fewer successes in school than children who have not been in care.”

Researchers found Manitoba’s rate of 10,000 children in care is one of the highest in the world. About one-quarter of the province’s population are aboriginals, but native children make up almost 90 per cent of kids in care.

The study found 22 per cent of all First Nations children in Manitoba end up in the care of Child and Family Services at some point in their lives. That’s compared with just over 1.5 per cent of non-aboriginal children.

Marni Brownell, associate professor and lead author, said families need better support services, housing and anti-poverty programs that address some of the reasons children are apprehended. Almost three-quarters of kids in care received income assistance and 40 per cent were born to a mother under the age of 18.

“The very factors that lead to children entering into the care of CFS — from neglect to abuse to exposure to violence — are the same ones that put them at risk for poor outcomes throughout school,” the study said.

“The residential school experience has shown us that removing indigenous children from their families doesn’t eliminate the issues of racism, insufficient housing, and poverty in the indigenous communities.

“Without changing the living conditions and challenges faced by these families, the problems are likely to continue into future generations.”

The province has responded by appointing a task force to examine the educational outcomes for children in care. Education Minister James Allum said the task force will look at implementing recommendations from the study so “children in care get a quality education.”

Although the study found kids in care start school at a disadvantage because of broader social problems, Allum said the task force will be confined to examining what schools can do to once the kids walk through the door.

“At the end of the day what we want to do is to find good solutions for productive educational outcomes,” he said. “This is our proactive response to making sure that those kids have every opportunity to be successful learners.”

The task force is due to report back by the end of the year.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

According to the city, trees are the main solution to improving urban canopy cover in downtown areas.
Tree care focus of free webinar

Red Deer and Lacombe Counties hosting March 11 webinar

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney speaks during a news conference in Edmonton on Feb. 24, 2020. It’s budget day in the province, and Kenney’s United Conservative government is promising more help in the fight against COVID, but more red ink on the bottom line. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta’s budget promises more help for COVID-19 with a hard deficit

EDMONTON — Alberta’s COVID-19-era budget made a hard landing Thursday with an… Continue reading

The expansion of the Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre has been discussed for over a decade. (File photo by Advocate staff)
Red Deer hospital expansion gets about $6 million in 2021 provincial budget

According to the government’s three-year plan, the project will get $59 million by 2024.

The Town of Sylvan Lake has launched a new contest to attract a new business. (File photo by Advocate staff)
Sylvan Lake offering rent-free storefront space to lure new businesses

Winning business proposal will get a storefront space rent-free for a year

An arrest by Red Deer RCMP is facing online scrutiny. No charges have been laid and the incident is still under investigation. (Screenshot of YouTube video)
Red Deer RCMP investigating violent arrest caught on video

Police say officer ‘acted within the scope of his duties’

Calgary Flames defenceman Mark Giordano tries to help goaltender David Rittich stop a shot from Ottawa Senators right wing Drake Batherson during first-period NHL action Thursday, February 25, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Colin White scores two goals to lead Ottawa Senators to a 6-1 win over Calgary Flames

Colin White scores two goals to lead Ottawa Senators to a 6-1 win over Calgary Flames

Commander of the Royal Canadian Navy Vice-Admiral Art McDonald is seen during an interview with The Canadian Press in Ottawa, Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Military reeling as new defence chief steps aside amid allegations of misconduct

Military reeling as new defence chief steps aside amid allegations of misconduct

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney speaks during a news conference in Edmonton on Feb. 24, 2020. It’s budget day in the province, and Kenney’s United Conservative government is promising more help in the fight against COVID, but more red ink on the bottom line. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta’s budget promises more help for COVID-19 with a hard deficit

Alberta’s budget promises more help for COVID-19 with a hard deficit

‘Black box’ in Woods SUV could yield clues to cause of wreck

‘Black box’ in Woods SUV could yield clues to cause of wreck

Team Saskatchewan skip Sherry Anderson reacts to her shot against Team Quebec at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Calgary, Alta., Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Peterson’s wild-card team edges N.W.T. skip Galusha to qualify for championship pool

Peterson’s wild-card team edges N.W.T. skip Galusha to qualify for championship pool

No-size-fits-all residence approach a reality for Canadian Hockey League teams

No-size-fits-all residence approach a reality for Canadian Hockey League teams

FILE - New York Rangers' Henrik Lundqvist reacts after a save during the third period of an NHL hockey game against the Philadelphia Flyers in New York, in this Sunday, March 1, 2020, file photo. The Flyers defeated the Rangers 5-3. Star goalie Henrik Lundqvist will sit out the upcoming NHL season because of a heart condition, announcing the news a little more than two months after joining the Washington Capitals. Lundqvist posted a written statement and a videotaped one on social media Thursday, Dec. 17, 2020, saying it was a "pretty tough and emotional day." The 38-year-old from Sweden was bought out by the New York Rangers after 15 seasons and signed a $1.5 million, one-year deal with Washington in October. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)
Lundqvist back on ice, ‘months’ away from deciding future

Lundqvist back on ice, ‘months’ away from deciding future

Kiiwetinoong MPP Sol Mamakwa holds up water collected from Neskantaga First Nation, where residents were evacuated over tainted water in October, during a rally at Queen's Park in Toronto on Friday, Nov. 6, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Carlos Osorio
Feds didn’t supply enough resources to end water advisories on First Nations: auditor

Feds didn’t supply enough resources to end water advisories on First Nations: auditor

Most Read