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The provincial government's implementing a new, computerized system to keep track of children in care, and it appears the number of kids in care dropped by about 372 last year, to 10,328, after removing what are called non-paid care kids from their list.

It means the province is moving away from reports submitted by child welfare agencies. Those agencies say the number's closer to 11,150.

ian wishart jan212019Ian Wishart.

Portage la Prairie MLA Ian Wishart says the new system was in process when the Tories came into government.

"And that number is more accurate," he says, "Every agency was keeping their own number, and submitting it in an annual report. This process now gives us better information, so we can track the kids in care when they move from agency to agency. We have a process in place where we're trying to leave the kids with their families and provide support to the families. They're still being tracked by the agencies, but they're not actually being supported by CFS."

Wishart points out this system was one of the recommendations of the Phoenix Sinclair Inquiry.

"First, we would computerize the system so that we wouldn't lose track of the kids," he says, "Because, in the Phoenix Sinclair situation, she was lost. And also that would provide additional support's for the families, so that the children would not be taken away from the families, and put with another family. And we're doing more of that as well. It's not about changing the numbers, it's just a reflection of the fact that we're actually more upstream in terms of our prevention."

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