(“Our government has not acted with any sense of urgency,” says Irwin Elman, Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth. Photo: Jason Leroux/APTN)
APTN National News
Ontario’s advocate for children and youth is calling out Premier Kathleen Wynne for not doing enough to protect children in care after 17-year-old Tammy Keeash was found dead in a Thunder Bay waterway Sunday.
Keeash was living in a group home and is the fourth First Nations girl to die in care since late October.
“The latest reports of the death of a child who was living in group home care in Ontario is beyond concerning, and frightening,” said Irwin Elman. “Tammy was living in the care of the province because our government decided, on behalf of all of us, that she needed protection and support. She obviously did not find what she needed, and she is not alone.”
Keeash was from North Caribou Lake First Nation about 500 km north of Thunder Bay.
Police said she was last seen in the early evening Saturday in the 300 block of North Edward Street. Her body was found Sunday at 9 p.m.
Keeash’s death comes as First Nations leaders have been calling for an inquest into the deaths of three other First Nations girls that died in group homes.
Courtney Scott, 16, of Fort Albany First Nation, died in an Ottawa group home April 21 after a fire broke out.
Four days earlier on April 17 Amy Owen, 13, of Poplar Hill First Nation is believed to have died by suicide in a different Ottawa group home.
In late October, Kanina Sue Turtle, 15, also of Poplar Hill, is believed to have died by suicide in Sioux Lookout.
Like Turtle and Owen, Keeash was under the care of Tikinagan Child and Family Services based in Sioux Lookout.
“In the past six weeks, the deaths of other young people in group homes across the Province make that absolutely clear, and our government has not acted with any sense of urgency,” said Elman. “It is time for the Premier of Ontario to demonstrate with immediate action our collective concerns as Ontarians to ensure that all children in need of protection — no matter who they are or where they live — will receive the care, support, and assurances of safety under Ontario’s care.”
Police are asking anyone who may have seen Keeash on Saturday or have information regarding her whereabouts over the weekend to call 807-684-1200.