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Two girls charged in attack at foster home

A woman who was hospitalized after allegedly being attacked by two girls at a city foster home is bruised but going to be all right.

Dakota Ojibway Child and Family Services executive director Bobbi Pompana, who understands the woman was a respite worker for the foster home, said the victim has no broken bones following an attack in which she was hit with a chair.

"She has been released from the hospital, and I believe she’s going to be OK," Pompana said.

Police were called to a foster home on the 300-block of Louise Avenue around 10:25 p.m. on Monday.

Two 16-year-old girls who live there had come home intoxicated and they had liquor that the 45-year-old worker took away, police said.

It’s alleged the girls then attacked the worker as she sat on the couch. They repeatedly punched and kicked her, and she was also hit with a chair.

One of the girls then stole the victim’s car keys and was trying to flee when police arrived.

She backed the car into the home, then put the car in forward gear and hit a tree on the front lawn. The airbags deployed and the car came to a stop.

While being placed into the back of a police cruiser, the girl kicked a male police officer in the groin.

The girl was treated at hospital for minor injuries from the deployed airbags, then taken to the Brandon jail.

Meanwhile, the other girl spit in the eyes of another officer who was arresting her.

Police say both officers are all right.

Meanwhile, the woman who was attacked was sent to hospital where she was treated and later released.

Both girls are charged with aggravated assault and assaulting a police officer. One is also charged with assault with a weapon, car theft and a number of driving offences.

Both accused remain in custody. Their appearance in Brandon court on Tuesday was waived and their cases remanded to next week.

The above allegations against them haven’t been proven in court.

The home where the incident happened is one of seven foster homes set up in the city within the last several years. They’re licensed through DOCFS and run under the name Specialized Foster Homes. There’s also a home near Souris.

Pompana said DOCFS places troubled youths aged 13 to 19 years in these homes.

The teens, who are from the Brandon area but have also been known to be placed here from Winnipeg, are known to run into trouble with the law and police are regularly called to the homes to deal with disturbances.

This isn’t the first time police have had to deal with a drunk and combative teen at the Louise Avenue home. Nor is it the first time that a worker with Specialized Foster Homes has been assaulted.

Some of the youths have been linked to street gangs, and there has been criticism that the homes seem to pool youths with a potential for trouble. Critics have described them as a networking opportunity for young offenders.

But Pompana and supporters say the homes offer stability and support to youth who have nowhere else to go. The homes are needed to care for children who couldn’t be cared for in regular foster homes.

They’ve rotated through a number of placements in other homes because they either ran away, or got into trouble and been kicked out.

Pompana said there are no other services in the area to help such children.

"We have a number of children who are very, very difficult to place," Pompana said. "They are all teenagers who have been involved in legal situations, drug situations, prostitution situations, neglect ... It’s very, very difficult to handle children who are in their teens."

Some have mental health issues or such difficulties as fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, Pompana said.

She said the foster parents and workers at Specialized Foster Homes are well-trained to work with such children. One staff member is a former probation officer, for example, and another a former police officer.

Foster parents have access to respite workers and other support staff. The homes co-ordinate with other resources such as psychologists, psychiatrists, police and probation.

With the right supports, Pompana said, the children remain in their homes longer than they would in the regular foster system. There’s a focus on getting kids to attend school, and some have graduated when they otherwise might not have.

Pompana said foster parents and workers are trained to deal with violent behaviour. The homes are equipped with safety precautions such as alarm buttons, and someone is always on call if foster parents or support workers are in trouble.

Pompana said help was sent to the Louise Avenue home on Monday after the victim pushed an alarm button.

In addition, she said, homes work closely with police and other authorities to ensure kids are following any court or probation orders that are in place.

Police confirm they’re frequently called to the homes for reports of youths breaching court conditions or breaking house rules.

They also report that there are few gang-related calls to the homes as administrators are good at monitoring potential gang problems.

House rules also serve to help kids stay out of trouble, and can include such things as curfews or a requirement to attend school.

» ihitchen@brandonsun.com

» Twitter: @IanHitchen

Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition May 7, 2014

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A woman who was hospitalized after allegedly being attacked by two girls at a city foster home is bruised but going to be all right.

Dakota Ojibway Child and Family Services executive director Bobbi Pompana, who understands the woman was a respite worker for the foster home, said the victim has no broken bones following an attack in which she was hit with a chair.

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A woman who was hospitalized after allegedly being attacked by two girls at a city foster home is bruised but going to be all right.

Dakota Ojibway Child and Family Services executive director Bobbi Pompana, who understands the woman was a respite worker for the foster home, said the victim has no broken bones following an attack in which she was hit with a chair.

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