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Ontario coroner's report highlights need for changes to child welfare system

Chief Coroner for Ontario Dr. Dirk Huyer is shown in this file photo taken on Friday, April 27, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Galit Rodan

Ontario’s chief coroner says a new report from his office highlights the need for changes in how the province’s child welfare system handles kids in its care.

Dr. Dirk Huyer says he will be urging federal and provincial governments to take action on the report, which examined the deaths of 12 children in the care of children’s aid societies between 2014 and 2017.

The report found that while agencies were trying to keep children safe, they made decisions focused on short-term goals rather than focusing on longer-term outcomes.

It said the 12 youth, eight of whom were Indigenous, had little to no say in their own care plans and were not provided with plans that took their cultural and emotional needs into account.

Huyer says the report also highlights disconnects between governments and child welfare agencies, and says there’s a clear need for everyone involved in protecting kids to work together more closely.

The report found that eight of the children died by suicide, one by homicide, two by accident and one in a manner that has not been determined.