N.S. teen accuses foster family of abuse

A teenage boy in Nova Scotia, who has run away from foster care, tells CTV News life with his foster family has become unbearable.

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He’s run away before, and police are looking to find him and take him back again, but the 15-year-old says he’s never going back.

“The foster father, four years every single day, there wasn’t a single day that went without him yelling at my face,” he explains.

His story is of a childhood lost, taken from his birth father when he was 8-years-old.

He’s been in a handful of foster families for almost half his life.

He was adopted once, but returned to care.

He says his foster brothers regularly intimidate him, and one even punched him.

He says his social worker knew he felt verbally and emotionally abused, yet he says, did nothing.

“The social worker is aware of everything that’s happening,” he explains. “When I got hit, she was fully aware, she got the police involved for maybe two days and then she called it off and said it was fine, don’t worry about it.”

The teen says he first ran away a month ago.

The police came to get him and as he neared closer to the home he fled, he jumped out of the vehicle.

“I will not go back. I would rather live on the streets than be in care,” he says. “It’s not what everybody makes it out to be, they’re not helping kids at all. Maybe there are some that are but for the most part, no. I consider it a big prison for kids basically.”

Officials with the province’s Department of Community Services say that’s the opposite of what the system is supposed to be.

“When we receive concerns from a child in care, we respond,” explains Wendy Bungay, director of child protection. “We take the safety of our children in care very seriously and we have processes in place to respond.”

The teen says he is caught in a catch 22.

He needs a lawyer to help him return to his birth father.

“I love my family to death.”

But he can’t get legal help until he is found by police, which means he would be returned to his foster family, and that he says, isn’t an option.

With files from CTV Atlantic’s Kelly Linehan.


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