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October 27, 2021 76 min

According to a report by the Ontario Human Rights Commission, more than half of children under the age of 15 in foster care in Canada, are Indigenous. Being a foster child, and especially a racialized foster child, comes with its own set of challenges including stigma, lack of resources, navigating placements with different foster families and the impact on mental health including post-traumatic stress disorder, panic, anxiety disorders, major depression and drug/alcohol abuse. Black and Indigenous children are over-represented in the child welfare system and in today’s episode we are looking at some of those stories – where we hear from BIPOC adults who had to navigate the child welfare system and the impact on their mental health. We speak with one of the former residents of the Nova Scotia Home for Colored Children, Tony Smith, and the founder of a peer-support group for individuals raised in foster care, Foster-Up, Natasha Reimer Okemow. Natasha was a trans-racial adoptee, who also navigated the system from a very young age and is now reclaiming her Indigenous and Jamaican heritage. We also have insights from psychotherapist, Kosu Boudreau, who has personally experienced being in the child welfare system as a former crown ward.

 

Here are their stories:

 

Tony Smith: 05:47

 

Natasha Reimer Okemow: 29:19

 

Kosu Boudreau:  53:39

 

 

Other Resources:    

The Child Welfare Political Action Committee

 

Youth In Care Canada

 

Kosu Boudreau

 

Bell Let’s Talk

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