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News Release - Manitoba

June 9, 2015

Province Launches New Task Force to Improve Educational Outcomes of Children in Care

The Manitoba government is continuing its efforts to close the education achievement gap by launching a provincial Task Force on Education Outcomes for Children in Care in response to the recommendations of a new report from the Manitoba Centre for Health Policy (MCHP), Education and Advanced Learning Minister James Allum announced today.

“Nothing is more important than ensuring bright futures for our young people, especially those facing the additional challenge of being in care,” said Minister Allum.  “We commissioned this report from the Manitoba Centre for Health Policy in order to provide important context and insight on education outcomes for children in care and we fully accept the recommendations they provide.  This new task force will work to implement these recommendations by bringing education and child welfare experts together to develop concrete actions we can take in our schools and communities so that children in care get a quality education.”

The minister announced the task force will be co-chaired by TammyChristensen, executive director of Ndinawemaaganag Endaawaad Inc., and Kevin Lamoureux, an instructor and Aboriginal education expert at the University of Winnipeg.  The task force will include representatives from the departments of education and advanced learning and family services, along with representatives from community partner organizations.

“I am grateful for the authors of the report for giving voice to the experience of some of Manitoba’s most vulnerable citizens,” said Lamoureux.  “It is in the spirit of care for our children in care, and a deep respect for the professionals who work tirelessly to provide the best possible supports for them that we begin this task force.”

The task force will consult with education experts, teachers, social service providers and other interested parties to develop an action plan for both immediate and long-terms steps to improve outcomes for children in care, Minister Allum said.  The task force will focus on actions that will increase communication between the education and child welfare system, developing programming to address the particular education needs of children in care, and identify best practices, resources and strategies that can be used to teachers and social workers in the field.  The task force is expected to report back to government by the end of 2015, the minister added.

“As a front-line service provider with 21 years of experience working with Aboriginal children and youth, I have seen first-hand the barriers to success kids in care face,” said Christensen.  “Education is crucial to overcoming these barriers, improving their future and breaking the intergenerational impacts of poverty and colonization.  I am looking forward to getting social workers and educators around the table to find solutions.”

“This MCHP report makes it clear that improving education outcomes for children in care requires addressing the social challenges that lead to family breakdown and children coming into care,” said Family Services Minister Kerri Irvin-Ross.  “While we remain focused on innovative approaches that strengthen families, this new task force will provide practical steps to help children in care succeed in school.”

Minister Irvin-Ross noted the province is also being guided by the work of the Hughes commission and AMR Planning & Consulting, which recommended shifting emphasis to prevention and support services from protection measures.

The Manitoba government has initiated a number of prevention programs including:

  • increasing funding for preventative supports by 60 per cent;
  • expanding Families First, a home-visiting program that offers support to families from conception to kindergarten;
  • implementing the Healthy Baby program, which focuses on improving birth outcomes for babies born into low-income families;
  • beginning the process of hiring an Indigenous deputy children’s advocate to ensure that Indigenous families and children are treated fairly; and
  • supporting the Circle of Care pilot project with the Sagkeeng First Nation.

Minister Irvin-Ross noted other efforts to reduce poverty include:

  • investing $22 million this year to fully implement Rent Assist, subject to the passage of Budget 2015, to provide stability to low-income families by bringing many of them above the poverty line and reducing the depth of poverty for those unable to work;
  • introducing the Manitoba Child Benefit, which provides up to $420 tax free per child, per year, to help low-income, working families pay for their children’s needs;
  • ending the clawback of the national Child Benefit from low-income families and increased supports through the Prenatal Benefit, Manitoba Child Benefit, Children’s Opti-care and Nourishing Potential;
  • increasing funding to schools at the rate of economic growth every year since 1999;
  • helping young parents leave social assistance by providing targeted supports and training;
  • building 1,000 more social and affordable housing units in addition to 3,000 units completed by 2014;
  • expanding the COACH program for children and youth with complex needs; and
  • introducing the Tuition Waiver Program, which provides tuition waivers to youth in care and saw  over 40 tuition waivers in 2013-14 granted by six post-secondary institutions in Manitoba. 

The report, Manitoba Can Do Better for Kids in Care, was commissioned by the Province of Manitoba to examine the educational outcomes of children in care and provides recommendations on how they can be improved, Minister Allum said.

The full MCHP report is available online at

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