“It haunted me for a great number of years”

Fomer group home residents get an apology and the promise of more help

Former residents of a Manitoba group home have received an apology from the province’s family services minister, Gord Mackintosh, for the harsh treatment they were subjected to while staying at the facility. The apology was prompted by a 63-page report into the matter by former provincial ombudsman Barry Tuckett. The residents say they suffered emotional harm from the home’s strict militaristic operating style, as well as the 1977 murder of a woman that several of the boys called “mom.” The report found that Henry (Red) Blake operated the home with structure, control, and discipline, but that his methods were one-dimensional and he ran it like a military environment. Its recommendations include individual healing plans for former residents, some of whom are now in their mid-40’s. The minister has promised at least half the former residents would benefit from grief counseling and other assistance. Blake’s wife, Phyllis, was shot and killed in Dec. 1977 by a boy planning an escape.

Winnipeg Free Press