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Child tasering sparks special investigation

VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – BC’s child watchdog is going to take a closer look into police being called in to deal with children in group homes.

The representative for child and youth calls it a special report, and it comes after Prince George Mounties tasered an 11-year old boy. The child was suspected of stabbing a man at a group home where he was living.

Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond says there have been plenty of concerns about some group homes calling in cops to help staff handle or discipline children they’re caring for. “If the police are being called frequently to deal with behavioural issues, the issue that arises for me — looking at it from the perspective of children with high or a unique set of needs — is a resource meeting their needs?”

Turpel-Lafond won’t yet say if she will launch a probe into the tasering of the 11-year-old specifically, saying the broader report will look at how group home operators use police to deal with children’s behaviour.

Meanwhile, the Premier says it’s too early to tell whether funding cuts have had an impact on the Ministry of Children and Families.

Christy Clark says that information will come out in Turpel-Lafond’s report. “Like everybody else, I was concerned. Using a Taser on a child is not something that any of us can be comfortable with. But I don’t want to prejudge the outcome of the investigation. There is a lot more information that we need to have.”

But she refers to Justice Thomas Braidwood, who says stun gun use should be held off until more is known about it.