Virtual Library of Newspaper Articles


Counting the cost of child poverty

The Toronto Star, April 30, 2007

Child poverty in Canada is a national disgrace that shames us on the world stage and offends our international legal obligations. That was a central message put forward last week by Canadian senators and physicians who are lobbying Ottawa to take the rights and needs of children far Read More ..riously than it has in the past.

In a report called Children: The Silenced Citizens, the Senate human rights committee faulted Ottawa for failing miserably to live up to its obligations to protect the rights and freedoms of children. One of its key recommendations calls for a federal strategy to combat child poverty with clear goals and timetables, including preventive measures for high-risk families and a coherent housing strategy. All are measures the Star has urged in our War On Poverty campaign.

Meanwhile, a Child Health Summit sponsored by a coalition of physicians lobbying to improve health outcomes for children met in Ottawa to discuss how to improve Canada's unacceptably mediocre international ranking on child health.

Both groups' conclusions underline the stark fact that children's rights and health are inextricably linked to poverty, and often are neglected.

"Children's voices rarely inform government decisions, yet they are one of the groups most affected by government action or inaction," the Senate report found. "Children are not merely under-represented; they are almost not represented at all."

In addition to calling on Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Conservative government to address poverty and housing issues directly, the all-party Senate committee urged Ottawa to work with the provinces to establish standards and guidelines for improving early childhood development programs and child care, matched with adequate funding. Child care has fallen off the federal agenda since the Conservatives cancelled a federal-provincial agreement.

At the same time, the physicians cited our dismal ranking on everything from infant mortality to youth suicide, all linked to poverty. Canada ranks 21st among 29 wealthy nations on infant mortality, 22nd on youth suicide and 19th of 20 on childhood obesity.

And the health of aboriginal children is so abysmal it ranks with that of developing countries, which concerned senators and physicians alike.

How little does Canada care about children, despite Parliament's unanimous vote in 1989 to end child poverty by 2000? Today, 18 years later, among 26 wealthy nations we rank 22nd in terms of children living in relative poverty. By any standard, these are dismal statistics.

Consciousness-raising is an important first step toward turning things around. That is no doubt why both groups have urged Ottawa to create an independent commissioner for children and youth, to give them a voice on the national stage and to promote their issues on the government agenda. It is an idea well worth exploring.

As Sir Albert Aynsley-Green, the Child Commissioner for England, put it at the health summit: "The badge of honour of a civilized society is to protect its most vulnerable." We are nowhere close.

Mothers Who Kill Their Own Children


Affair led to mother murdering her own kids

Days after buying another woman Valentine's Day flowers, a Sydney father came home to find a trail of blood leading him to the bodies of his two young children lying next to their mother, a court has been told.

Australian Associated Press
Aug 24 2009

The woman had given the couple's three-year-old daughter and four-year-old son rat poison and an unidentified pink liquid before smothering them and killing them, court papers said.

She then tried to take her own life, the NSW Supreme Court was told.

Doctors agree the mother, from Canley Heights in Sydney's west, was suffering from "major depression" when she poisoned her children on February 19 last year.

She has pleaded not guilty to the two murders by reason of mental illness.

As her judge-alone trial began, the mother's lawyer told Justice Clifton Hoeben his client didn't think life was worth living after learning about her husband's affair.

American Psychological Association

American Psychological Association
Dating Violence Statistics in the United States

Nearly one in 10 girls and one in 20 boys say they have been raped or experienced some other form of abusive violence on a date, according to a study released Sunday at the annual meeting of the American Psychological Association.

Teen depression on the increase in U.K.- teen suicide statistics

Teen depression on the increase

More and More teens are becoming depressed. The numbers of young people suffering from depression in the last 10 years has risen worryingly, an expert says.

BBC, UK, August 3, 2004

Government statistics suggest one in eight adolescents now has depression.

Unless doctors recognise the problem, Read More ..uld slip through the net, says Professor Tim Kendall of the National Collaborating Centre for Mental Health.

Guidelines on treating childhood depression will be published next year. Professor Kendall says a lot Read More ..eds to be done to treat the illness.

Associated Press logo

Woman convicted of killing 3 kids after custody battle


HELSINKI, Finland - A court in Finland has convicted a woman of murdering her three young children and has given her a life sentence.

The Espoo District Court says Thai-born Yu-Hsiu Fu was found guilty of strangling her 8-year-old twin daughters and 1-year-old son in her home.

She tried to kill herself afterward.

The verdict on Tuesday says the 41-year-old woman was found to be of sound mind at the time of the murders.

Court papers show the murders were preceded by a bitter custody battle with her Finnish husband who was living separately from her at the time of the murders.

A life sentence in Finland mean convicts usually serve at least 11 years in prison.

Canadian Press - New Brunswick woman ruled responsible in burning of baby's body

New Brunswick woman ruled responsible in burning of baby's body

ST. STEPHEN, N.B. - A New Brunswick judge says a woman who burned and dismembered her newborn son is criminally responsible for her actions.

Becky Sue Morrow earlier pleaded guilty to offering an indignity to a dead body and disposing of a newborn with the intent of concealing a delivery.

Judge David Walker ruled Friday that the 27-year-old woman may have been suffering from a mental disorder when she delivered the baby but that that was not the case when the baby's body was burned and its remains hidden.

It is not known if the baby was alive at the time of birth.

At a hearing last month, the court heard contrasting reports from the two psychiatrists. One said Ms. Morrow was in a "disassociated" mental state when the crime occurred. The other said she clearly planned her actions and understood the consequences.