Fearful of his group home, boy faces the cold

Steve Cardiff had a disturbing conversation with one of his constituents. About a week ago, a Mary Lake woman found a young boy huddled under a bush…

Steve Cardiff had a disturbing conversation with one of his constituents.

About a week ago, a Mary Lake woman found a young boy huddled under a bush in her yard.

He was so cold his lips were blue.

The 15-year-old told the woman he’d run away from the local group home, where he’d been mistreated.

The boy said he’d been at the group home for a month and hadn’t attended school during that time.

“He was afraid to go back to the group home,” said Cardiff.

The woman offered the boy her phone, to call his parents or his social worker.

But he was afraid to do that.

He was also reluctant to call the RCMP.

Finally, the boy agreed to call 911, said Cardiff.

“Apparently he was advised to walk back over to the group home,” Cardiff told the legislature on Monday.

“I’m appalled, because there was no follow-up to the 911 call by the RCMP, the group home or by social workers.”

The incident leaves many unanswered questions, said Cardiff.

“How long does a kid have to be missing before there is a response — one or two hours? Overnight?

“At what point would they come looking for him?”

Why is the boy afraid of living in the group home?

And why isn’t he in school?

“Young people in society need a safe place to go,” he said.

The issue also raises concerns with the territory’s 911 service, said Cardiff.

“The public needs to have confidence that when they call 911 they will get a response.”

In the end, the woman walked back to the home with the boy.

“The workers told her they knew he was missing,” said Cardiff.

“So why weren’t they looking for him?”

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