The London-Middlesex Children’s Aid Society is flagging concerns that teenagers who are being placed in hotels in the city’s south-end are at risk of being exposed to sex traffickers. According to the CBC, the agency says a lack of resources, including staff shortages, underfunding, and capacity limits due to COVID-19 over the past year has led them to resort to hotels.
Laurie Nancekivell, president of Local 116 Ontario Public Services Employee Union told the CBC it’s always a better service for youth when they can have appropriate housing. “Having anybody placed in a hotel is not an ideal setting, it’s not an appropriate environment to feel safe, secure, and have consistency in your life.”
Nancekivell added that prior to COVID, youth would temporarily be placed in group homes run by CAS, which were much safer environments and had more staffing. She says CAS facilities are underfunded and that the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services needs to be held accountable for that.
“It’s problematic when the ministry doesn’t provide enough funding to the CAS, so it creates some really difficult decisions for local agencies to make with regards to where to spend the money when there isn’t enough money,” she said.