Political will there to solve child welfare crisis for Indigenous kids: Philpott

OTTAWA — Gerald Lavallee was just three months old when he had his first contact with the child welfare system.

By the time he was eight he was a permanent ward of the system in North Bay, Ont. By 14, he had been in more than 40 foster homes.

Lavallee, now 25, says all he ever wanted was someone to love him.

Looking back now, he realizes if the system had been equipped to help his family he might have had that in spades.

“My mom didn’t do drugs, she didn’t drink but she had crippling depression,” he said Thursday.

His family was suffering from the impact of residential schools which had scooped up his grandparents, who in turn passed on their anger to his mother.

Mental health care was not accessible to her. When the child welfare authorities came calling, family members were willing to take him in but they didn’t have the financial means. Instead of foster care funding going to them so they could take him in, Lavallee went to foster care.

“My great grandma, my grandpa and my aunt, to this day still say they would have taken me in if they’d had the chance,” he said.

It is exactly the kind of situation Indigenous Services Minister Jane Philpott says the system has to be able to address

Philpott is hosting a two-day emergency meeting on Indigenous child welfare, a system she says is in a “humanitarian crisis” that is reliving the residential schools legacy under the guise of child protection.

Indigenous and non-Indigenous politicians from provincial governments, along with social workers and former foster kids like Lavallee, are spending two days trying to come up with a way to fix it.

Just Posted

People hurt in rollover near Red Deer

Occupants of a vehicle that rolled south of Hwy 11A were airlifted… Continue reading

Eager-beaver cannabis entrepreneurs already waiting outside Red Deer City Hall

Appications will be accepted on a first-come basis starting on Tuesday

Like father like son: Red Deer area Dreeshen family dedicates life to public service

There are three jobs that could be considered the Dreeshen family business:… Continue reading

Restaurant owner concerned about Gasoline Alley road changes

Nearly 20 trucks were lined up on the service road in front… Continue reading

Preliminary hearings set for two men charged in weapons and drugs bust

A Red Deer man and Sylvan Lake man are facing 80 charges

WATCH: Hypnotizing show at Westerner Days

Hynotist and mentalist Joshua Seth performs three times a day at Westerner Days

Evacuation numbers remain at nearly 1,000 as B.C. wildfires rage on

SUMMERLAND, B.C. — Officials in British Columbia’s Okanagan region hope that fire… Continue reading

WWII hero’s lost Purple Heart returned to his family

NEW YORK — A lost Purple Heart medal has been returned to… Continue reading

California girl, 2, accidentally shot and killed by boy, 4

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. — Authorities say a 4-year-old boy accidentally shot and… Continue reading

A hairy issue: Sailors tell the US Navy, ‘We want beards’

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Now that women in the Navy can wear ponytails,… Continue reading

PHOTOS: River Town Saints rock Red Deer

River Town Saints play Westerner Days Friday in Red Deer

PHOTOS: Dogs, horses and more animals at Westerner Days

Westerner Park’s pavilions were filled with animals during Westerner Days

Red Deer residents can’t get enough mini-doughnuts

Mini-doughnuts were the biggest draw to Westerner Days according to a Red… Continue reading

Four-car crash, including RCMP vehicle, on Highway 2

Two sheriff vehicles were also involved in the collision

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month