THUNDER BAY – “Dilico continues to say this is not affecting the clients,” states Tannis Smith. I work with over 60 families involved with Dilico and most of them do not get to see their children! This is most definitely affecting the families, their children are held captive by Dilico, the children are the pawns in this strike, abusive to not let children see their parents!”
On Friday, families impacted by the Dilico strike are gathering in a peaceful protest at the Dilico offices on the Fort William First Nation.
Families Cannot Afford to Pay the Price
Smith works with sixty families, and is their advocate. She states “Families cannot afford to pay the price any longer”.
“Many parents are not getting their visits with their children,” comments Smith.
Smith, who is from Lake Helen First Nation has been a foster parent for twenty years, and has cared for over sixty children during that time. She states that for many families, especially those with newborn children, there are too many instances where visitation is only for two hours per week. That means that the critical parent child bonding is being broken. “Perhaps it’s time to restructure ! Get rid of half of management, hire more front-line workers with a focus on family reunification! states Smith.
For family members, standing up for their rights is often difficult. Many are worried that they might have ramifications from case-workers.
Smith is standing up for the families she knows. She relayed how for one single mother, this August will mark the two year anniversary since she has seen her children.