Few people know Ontario’s child welfare system like leading expert Dr. Kim Snow.
She’s seen a lot of heartache over the years.
That doesn’t mean reading internal death reports like Sacha Raven Bob gets any easier, but she did so for Nation to Nation.
“My immediate reaction was ‘not again,’” said Snow, who is professor at Ryerson University, on N2N Thursday.
“As I went through the report it was heartbreaking. This is a 12-year-old little girl and it detailed multiple failures to protect. There was physical neglect, there’s educational neglect, there’s medical neglect. There was an utter failure to protect this 12-year-old girl for many, many years.”
Sacha died by suicide on Sept. 10, 2014.
She had been in care of Weechi-it-te-win Family Services for almost her entire life.
Sacha suffered all sorts of abuse, including being sexually assaulted by young boys, twice.
There was no record of how this was followed up to help Sacha.
“If the general public read this report they would be shocked at how many opportunities there were to intervene and how few attempts they did make to provide more stability,” said Snow.
Three weeks before Sacha died, her sister, Arizona Bob, also died by suicide and seven months earlier another of her sister, Shania Bob, also died by suicide, even though her death is now being investigated as a suspicious death.
“Sacha wrote in her suicide note that she missed her sisters and that life was hard. She’s a 12-year-old little girl. Life was too hard at 12. That speaks to the lack of basic care and safeguards,” said Snow.
N2N producer Kenneth Jackson broke the death report story last week with fellow APTN journalist Cullen Crozier.
Jackson appeared on N2N this week to provide more insight considering he has written about death after death connected to Ontario’s child welfare system over the last several years.
Despite all that work he has never seen an internal death report.
“It’s telling that even though I write about this all the time I’ve never come across one before. They’re hidden. They’re very hard to get. They basically exist in secret,” said Jackson.
Catch both of those interviews below, as well as an update on the federal government’s response to COVID-19 on reserve.