“We are rallying to demand justice for the babies in foster care who never made it home, and to bring my daughter home. May the rest follow to be returned to families.” – Ali Colligan (Anishnaabe)
Georgia is five years old and about to be moved to her fifteenth foster home. In three of these homes, provided by the Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD), Georgia was mentally, physically, and nutritionally abused. There are also signs she has experienced sexual abuse. Her mother, Ali Colligan, holds MCFD responsible and says they have attempted to cover up the abuse. “I want them exposed,” she says. “Bring it to light and bring Georgia home. Let her heal.”
A report from BC’s Representative for Children and Youth found that 98 children in foster care or receiving reviewable services died during a ten month period, from June 2017 to March 2018. Of the 98 deaths, 35 were Indigenous. “I don’t want Georgia to be the thirty-sixth. I don’t want her to be the one that sparks the change because she lost her life,” Ali says.
“This is not just about Georgia,” Ali says. “We need healing for the ones that have passed on, for the ones that are still stuck. We need safety for the babies in care now.”
While there are immediate reforms the provincial government could implement to begin to address the problems with the foster care system, MCFD itself is beyond reform: it is a colonial apparatus that breaks up Indigenous kinship networks and punishes single mothers for their poverty. Justice for Georgia, and for all children in foster care, means fighting to abolish MCFD.
On May 21st, Ali launched a public campaign to demand justice for Georgia and all children in foster care, with a rally in front of the MCFD office in Surrey and a march down King George Boulevard. Since then, she has been organizing tirelessly. After the discovery of 215 unmarked graves of children killed at the Kamloops Residential School, she set up a memorial in Surrey’s Holland Park, which is still ongoing.
To continue this decolonial work, Ali needs financial support. We are hoping to raise $3,250 so that Ali can focus on the fight for justice.