Abdoul Abdi’s situation is one that dozens of people find themselves in. They fall through the cracks of the various systems that do not work in the interests of Black, racialized and poor people.
Abdi arrived in Nova Scotia in mid 2000 with his sister, and two aunts. The family was granted permanent residency under a sponsored refugee program. Within a year of arriving, he and he sister were apprehended by children’s services. By the age of nine, he had become a permanent ward of the state.
Abdi was never adopted. Instead, he had, according to his lawyer, 20 different placements over the years. In one foster home, he lived with a foster family that he considered abusive.
“Around this time, he starts to have conflicts with the law as many children in care do,” said Benjamin Perryman, who is representing Abdi.
At the National Black Canadian Summit in Toronto, activists presented Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Minister Ahmed Hussen with a letter about the case.
It read, “The Minister could issue a warning letter to Abdoul, but instead continues to seek deportation, even though this would violate Canada’s international human rights obligations.”
Children of African descent are overrepresented in the child welfare system. In Toronto, for example, Black children represent 40.8 per cent of children in care despite representing only 8.5 per cent of the Toronto population. The apprehension of Black children is both a present problem and a relic of the past.