Nation to Nation
There have been no less than seven investigations that verified baby safety considerations into a firm working three foster homes in Thunder Bay earlier than the Ontario authorities shut them down within the weeks following the demise of Tammy Keeash in Might 2017, Nation to Nation has uncovered.
The 17-year-old’s physique was present in a Thunder Bay waterway two months after she was positioned in one of many three homes owned on the time by Johnson Youngsters’s Providers.
When Keeash first arrived on the residence there was an lively investigation after an Indigenous boy complained about being “required” to sleep on his bed room flooring utilizing his jacket as a blanket when a mattress bug infestation broke out within the house through the winter.
Every of the investigations have been undertaken by Dilico Anishinabek Household Care, an Indigenous youngster welfare company working within the metropolis.
Dilico confirmed a number of complaints, within the seven investigations, of insufficient supervision as a number of youngsters have been consuming alcohol, one to the purpose of hospitalization, and one other ended up in Winnipeg unbeknownst to employees at one of many homes.
Every day logs weren’t being stored that help police if a baby went lacking and in a number of instances employees have been discovered to lack coaching, in accordance with notes of Dilico’s investigations.
Dilco first warned the Ontario authorities of its “serious concerns” July 5, 2016, after pulling six of their youngsters from Johnson’s homes, in accordance with minutes of a convention name between Dilico and the province.
It additionally expressed considerations throughout that phone name about Tikinagan Baby and Household Providers, one other Indigenous baby welfare company.
Dilico stated Tikinagan wasn’t respecting Dilico’s jurisdiction of the Thunder Bay space by putting youngsters in foster homes with out permitting Dilico to oversee them whereas within the metropolis, which it felt was placing them in danger.
Shortly after that decision, Dilico filed for an emergency injunction towards Tikinagan and the province asking the courts to cease Tikinagan from ignoring Dilico’s jurisdiction.
The matter was adjourned to permit time to check proof.
Whereas this was unfolding, Dilico advisable Tikinagan take away their youngsters from Johnson’s homes in October 2016.
But Tikinagan stored their youngsters within the homes and continued putting new youngsters, together with Keeash.
When Keeash died, Dilico filed a second emergency injunction.
The dispute was in mediation by then, with Sen. Murray Sinclair presiding over it.
“Dilico has investigated and verified instances of actual, demonstrable harm to Indigenous children in the care of Tikinagan in the City and District of Thunder Bay since the dates of my prior affidavits (in July 2016),” wrote Carmela Hardy, Dilico’s director of kid welfare on Might 19, 2017.
“My department at Dilico, Child Welfare, provides all services to Indigenous children and families related to protection, and which are authorized by the Robinson Superior Treaty First Nations under the terms of the Kitchi-Gaa-Ming Anishinabek Ogemagg and by Ontario pursuant to the provisions of Ontario’s Child and Family Services Act.”
Tikinagan efficiently sought to once more have the matter adjourned.
It nonetheless stays unresolved in mediation but documents filed within the case, whereas closely redacted and amongst giant volumes of filings, supply a glimpse into the of care offered to Keeash on the time of her demise, in addition to a number of different youngsters, that usually by no means make it to the general public realm and is a part of particular look into the kid welfare disaster on Thursday’s Nation to Nation.
The documents identify 5 different youngsters, that Dilico alleges have been put in harms means, but the knowledge was redacted on the request of Tikinagan.
“There is no immediate urgency to proceeding with Dilico’s motion,” stated Judy Angeconeb, Tikinagan’s assistant director of providers in a Might 26, 2017 affidavit.
“The status quo has existed for years.”
Seems each businesses had been arguing for years over who has jurisdiction of youngsters in care whereas within the Thunder Bay space.
Tikinagan maintains if the kid comes from one of many reserves it supplies youngster welfare providers to, then regardless of the place they find yourself they’re nonetheless underneath the care of Tikinagan, not one other company like Dilico in Thunder Bay.
But any investigations or apprehensions in Thunder Bay are nonetheless executed by Dilico in Thunder Bay, Tikinagan confirmed in court data.
That features at the very least one of many seven investigations carried out by Dilico, as one of many complaints was filed by a Tikinagan employee.
As for protecting youngsters in Johnson’s homes after Dilico verified complaints, Angeconeb provided a number of causes.
“Dilico was making recommendations only, and Tikinagan was not obliged to follow them,” she stated.
Johnson’s continued to be licensed by the Ontario authorities to be a foster residence supplier, she stated.
“The children in the (Johnson homes) were generally doing well, they were happy, and there were no serious occurrences reported,” she stated. “There were a very limited number of placements available for these older, hard to serve youth, especially in Northern Ontario.”
Angeconeb additionally stated Johnson’s had “undertaken improvements to address these concerns” that have been present in Dilico’s seven investigations.
Dilico would launch an eighth investigation into Johnson’s homes when Keeash died.
Keeash was moved to Thunder Bay in March 2017 after she tried to hold herself in her grandmother’s house.
She additionally battling a number of psychological sicknesses, together with post-traumatic stress dysfunction, in addition to conduct, borderline character, main depressive issues.
Keeash didn’t go to high school whereas dwelling at Johnson’s house and spent most of her days enjoying video video games on the residence in line with the coroner’s report into her demise.
“It was from this location that Tammy left the night she passed away,” wrote Dr. Dirk Huyer, chief coroner of Ontario, in his report.
She was pushed by a employees member to satisfy household who have been on the town, nevertheless, in line with additional documents, Keeash was imagined to be beneath 24-hour supervision based mostly on her psychological state and former suicide try, but that wasn’t occurring.
Keeash and two cousins, together with a male pal, went and drank in Chapples Park close to Ford Road in Thunder Bay. It was a secluded space and Keeash would by no means depart alive.
Huyer stated her demise was finally dominated an unintentional drowning after two police investigations. Her two cousins and the pal left her handed out within the park and it’s believed she one way or the other discovered her method into the waterway and drowned.
When she didn’t make it again to the foster residence that night time by her 11 p.m. curfew employees there didn’t report her lacking but referred to as police to say she was breaching her probation circumstances from a earlier conviction.
(Ontario chief coroner Dr. Dirk Huyer)
It wasn’t until the subsequent day that she was reported lacking round 1 p.m.
Her physique was discovered later that night time within the Neebing-McIntyre floodway by a church youth group enjoying within the park.
Dilico stated it has a protocal with Thunder Bay police and believes it might have assisted in Keeash’s case.
“Had Tikinagan entered into an Interagency Service Agreement with Dilico, the investigation into (Keeash’s) disappearance could have been more timely and comprehensive, conducted in accordance with the established protocol with the Thunder Bay police,” wrote Hardy within the Might 19, 2017 affidavit.
Court documents element how the homes have been shutdown by the province after Keeash’s dying and the closures have been first reported by the Toronto Star newspaper in June 2017.
Nation to Nation reached out to Johnson Youngsters’s Providers two week in the past detailing in an e mail the court case and documents discovered within it but by no means acquired a response.
On its web site it says the corporate is predicated out of Vaughan, Ont., within the Toronto space.
“Johnson Children’s Services is a treatment foster care agency located in East-Central Region of Ontario, providing individualized services to foster children with special needs,” it says on their web site.
Nation to Nation reached out to Tikinagan’s lawyer but by no means acquired a response. The Ontario authorities stated it couldn’t remark.
“The Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services continues to focus on creating better outcomes for children and youth receiving services under the Child, Youth and Family Services Act, 2017. The ministry is unable to comment further on matters that are, or may be before the court,” stated ministry spokesperson Genevieve Oger.
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