Children in Canada’s foster care homes have gone weeks without being able to see their parents in person and plans for safe reunions are still uncertain, according to child protection lawyers, even as stores, hair salons and some day care centers begin to reopen.
Provincial governments, which suspended most visits in late March and early April to fight the spread of the coronavirus, say they have been allowed in exceptional circumstances.
But in practice, lawyers from across the country told Reuters there have been few exceptions to the social distancing measure, which has hit the country’s indigenous population especially hard.
Community Interviews with Moose FM
One mother who usually sees her 4- and 8-year-old children twice a week has been unable to do so since British Columbia halted foster home visits on March 26. The kids were heartbroken, she said.
Story continues below advertisement
The province’s 24-page restart plan mentions museums, massage therapy and the film industry, but not visits for children in care.
“I don’t know how I can be deemed an essential worker, but I’m not an essential parent,” said a British Columbia father of two who works in the trades.