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National Inuit Leader: We Must Protect our Children Better

President’s Statement

Wed, 2011-03-16

National Inuit leader Mary Simon commends the Auditor General of Canada for focusing on the situation of children and youth in the Arctic. The recent Auditor General’s report on Children, Youth, and Family Programs and Services in Nunavut, issued on March 8th sheds light on many shortcomings in services to protect the most vulnerable in our society – our children and youth.“I wholeheartedly agree with the comment from the Auditor General, ‘These children represent the future of Nunavut, and they have a right to expect protection from harm and neglect. Fixing the very serious problems we saw will require the immediate attention, leadership, and commitment of government, working with parents and communities to find solutions.’”

As national Inuit leader Mary Simon stated further, “Nunavut is not unique in this situation. Other Inuit regions face similar situations. We must do better when it comes to protecting our children. The prime responsibility is of course with us as parents. Family services must be there, and dependable, when parents are experiencing hardships and going through difficult times. We are also experiencing situations where our children are being taken out of our regions, which is very hard on the children and families.”

“While it is hopeful to read that the Government of Nunavut has agreed with all of the recommendations in the report, and providing detailed responses, we are facing a situation where one third of social worker positions are unfilled in Nunavut, meaning the workload is being managed by a few people who are severely overworked. I would like to express my support for these workers who are valiantly serving our children and youth, and stress that we must take our responsibilities seriously as parents, and our respective governments must make child and youth protection a continuing priority as this is more than 50% of our population.”

Media Enquiries: Stephen Hendrie, Director of Communications, Tel: 613.277.3178, [email protected]