CFS stops using Winnipeg hotel that housed hundreds of children
Published Tuesday, April 7, 2015 10:21PM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, April 7, 2015 11:25PM EDT
A downtown Winnipeg hotel that hundreds of toddlers and teens called home is no longer in use by the province’s Child and Family Services.
It’s the hotel where 15-year-old Tina Fontaine was staying before she ran away last August, and before she was found dead in the Red River. It’s also the hotel that housed a girl who was viciously attacked last week, and who had to be put into a medically induced coma.
It’s this latest attack that prompted CFS to stop using the hotel. Meanwhile, the Manitoba government bumped up their deadline to stop using hotels everywhere to house children under the care of protective services.
But though changes are coming, many of those who’ve grown up in this environment say it’s too late for them.
“When I was 12 years old I started working the sex trade,” said one teen, named Heather, who was taken into CFS at the age of seven.
“I never wanted to stay where I was put,” she said. “So I would go out all night and find parties.”
Heather says she was taken due to an unstable home life -- but says things didn’t get better once she was taken into protective care.
The kids can come and go as they please, and curfews aren’t enforced. Though these hotels aren’t meant to be a prison, the environment isn’t a welcoming one. Places to find cheap drugs are right around the corner -- within walking distance of a place no one wants to stay.
CFS estimates there are 10,000 children in care, with 90 per cent of them aboriginal. Hotels are considered a last resort for the strained system, and will no longer be an option after June 1.
But as things move forward, some still harbour resentment.
“I blame nothing but CFS. They're the ones who are accountable,” said the uncle of the teen attacked last week. “They are the ones who had care of my niece. They allowed this to happen.”
With a report by CTV’s Jill Macyshon in Winnipeg