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Canadian Journal of Public Health

, Volume 106, Issue 5, pp e265–e270 | Cite as

The Cedar Project: Negative health outcomes associated with involvement in the child welfare system among young Indigenous people who use injection and non-injection drugs in two Canadian cities

  • For the Cedar Project Partnership
  • Adam F. Clarkson
  • Wayne M. Christian
  • Margo E. Pearce
  • Kate A. Jongbloed
  • Nadine R. Caron
  • Mary P. Teegee
  • Akm Moniruzzaman
  • Martin T. Schechter
  • Patricia M. SpittalEmail author
Quantitative Research
  • 1 Downloads

Abstract

Objective

Indigenous leaders and child and family advocates are deeply concerned about the health impacts of the child welfare system, including HIV vulnerability. The objectives of this study were to describe the prevalence of having been apprehended into the child welfare system and associated HIV vulnerabilities among young Indigenous people who use drugs.

Methods

The Cedar Project is a cohort of young Indigenous people ages 14–30 years who use illicit drugs in Vancouver and Prince George, British Columbia. Multivariable logistic regression modeling determined associations between a history of involvement in the child welfare system and vulnerability to HIV infection.

Results

Of 605 participants, 65% had been taken from their biological parents. Median age of first apprehension was 4 years old. Having been sexually abused, having a parent who attended residential school and being HIV-positive were all independently associated with having been involved in the child welfare system. Participants who had been involved in the child welfare system were also more likely to have been homeless, paid for sex, diagnosed and hospitalized with mental illness, self-harmed, thought about suicide, and attempted suicide. Among participants who used injection drugs, those who had been involved in child welfare were more likely to have shared needles and overdosed.

Conclusion

This study has found compelling evidence that young Indigenous people who use drugs in two cities in BC are experiencing several distressing health outcomes associated with child welfare involvement, including HIV infection. Jurisdictional reforms and trauma-informed programs that use culture as intervention are urgently needed.

Key Words

Child welfare HIV substance-related disorders Indians North American 

Résumé

Objectifs

Les dirigeants autochtones et les défenseurs des enfants et des familles sont profondément préoccupés par les effets du système de protection de la jeunesse sur la santé, notamment sur la vulnérabilité au VIH. Notre étude vise à décrire la prévalence de la prise en charge par un organisme de protection de la jeunesse et des vulnérabilités au VIH connexes chez les jeunes autochtones qui consomment de la drogue.

Méthode

Le Cedar Project est une cohorte de jeunes autochtones de 14 à 30 ans consommant de la drogue à Vancouver et à Prince George (Colombie-Britannique). Un modèle de régression logistique multivariée a déterminé les associations entre les antécédents de prise en charge par un organisme de protection de la jeunesse et la vulnérabilité à l’infection à VIH.

Résultats

Sur 605 participants, 65 % avaient été retirés à leurs parents biologiques. L’âge médian à la première prise en charge était de 4 ans. Le fait d’avoir été victime d’agression sexuelle, d’avoir un parent ayant fréquenté un pensionnat et d’être séropositif pour le VIH étaient trois variables indépendamment associées à la prise en charge par un organisme de protection de la jeunesse. Les participants ayant été pris en charge par un organisme de protection de la jeunesse étaient aussi plus susceptibles d’avoir été sans abri, d’avoir été payés pour un rapport sexuel, d’avoir été diagnostiqués et hospitalisés pour une maladie mentale, de s’être automutilés, d’avoir songé au suicide et d’avoir fait une tentative de suicide. Parmi les participants utilisant des drogues par injection, ceux ayant été pris en charge par un organisme de protection de l’enfance étaient plus susceptibles d’avoir partagé des aiguilles et fait une surdose.

Conclusion

Nous avons des preuves convaincantes que dans deux villes de la C.-B., les jeunes autochtones qui consomment de la drogue présentent plusieurs résultats de santé troublants, notamment l’infection à VIH, associés à la prise en charge par des organismes de protection de la jeunesse. Il existe un besoin urgent d’amorcer des réformes du système judiciaire et d’établir des programmes éclairés par les traumatismes en utilisant la culture comme outil d’intervention.

Mots Clés

protection de l’enfance VIH troubles liés à une substance Indiens d’Amérique Nord 

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Copyright information

© The Canadian Public Health Association 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • For the Cedar Project Partnership
    • 1
  • Adam F. Clarkson
    • 2
  • Wayne M. Christian
    • 3
  • Margo E. Pearce
    • 2
    • 4
  • Kate A. Jongbloed
    • 2
    • 4
  • Nadine R. Caron
    • 5
  • Mary P. Teegee
    • 6
  • Akm Moniruzzaman
    • 7
  • Martin T. Schechter
    • 2
    • 4
  • Patricia M. Spittal
    • 2
    • 4
    Email author
  1. 1.Prince George Friendship Centre; Carrier Sekani Family Services; Positive Living North; Red Road Aboriginal HIV/AIDS Network; Canadian Aboriginal AIDS Network; Central Interior Native Health; Vancouver Native Health Society; Healing Our Spirit; Splatsin te Secwepemc; Neskonlith Indian Band; Adams Lake Indian BandCanada
  2. 2.Centre for Health Evaluation and Outcome SciencesVancouverCanada
  3. 3.Kukpi7 (Chief)Splatsin te SecwepemcEnderbyCanada
  4. 4.School of Population and Public HealthUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada
  5. 5.Department of SurgeryUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada
  6. 6.Carrier Sekani Family ServicesPrince GeorgeCanada
  7. 7.Faculty of Health SciencesSimon Fraser UniversityBurnabyCanada

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