We call upon the federal, provincial, territorial, and Aboriginal governments to commit to reducing the number of Aboriginal children in care by:
- Monitoring and assessing neglect investigations
- Providing adequate resources to enable Aboriginal communities and child-welfare organizations to keep Aboriginal families together where it is safe to do so, and to keep children in culturally appropriate environments, regardless of where they reside.
- Ensuring that social workers and others who conduct child-welfare investigations are properly educated and trained about the history and impacts of residential schools.
- Ensuring that social workers and others who conduct child-welfare investigations are properly educated and trained about the potential for Aboriginal communities and families to provide more appropriate solutions to family healing.
- Requiring that all child-welfare decision makers consider the impact of the residential school experience on children and their caregivers.
Why “In Progress?”
Governments in all jurisdictions – federal, provincial and territory – have initiated specific plans to directly address 1, 2, and 3. National Professional Social Worker organizations address 4 and 5.
- No formal mechanism or coordinated plan in place at the federal, provincial or territory levels to monitor and assess neglect investigations
- Budget 2020 allocated $542M/5 years and Budget 2021 allocated $1B over 5 years and Budget 2022 allocated 4.280B over 5 years
- Canadian Association of Social Work Education Action Plan is being implemented. Canadian Association of Social Workers and Provincial Social Work organizations have multiple initiatives under way.
- iv, v Same as iii above
New Brunswick has ended the use of Birth Alerts as of Oct. 29, 2021 joining Saskatchewan (Feb. 1 2021), PEI (Feb. 5, 2021), Ontario (Oct. 15, 2020), Manitoba (June 30, 2020) and B.C. (Sept. 16, 2019)
Jan. 4, 2022: Assembly of First Nations – In a total settlement package valued at $40 billion, the AFN, the Government of Canada and other parties signed two Agreements-in-Principle on December 31, 2021.
- First Agreements-in-Principle proposes a total settlement of $20 billion in compensation to First Nations children and families impacted by discrimination through the FNCFS program and the improper implementation of Jordan’s Principle. The compensation acknowledges that First Nations children were unnecessarily apprehended from their parents and communities and suffered harms that include abuse, the loss of language, loss of culture and loss of connection to their families and homelands. Compensation will also be made available to certain individuals who were subjected to a delay, denial or disruption of services, supports, treatment and products as a result of the federal government’s narrow application of Jordan’s Principle.
- The second Agreement-in-Principle commits the Government of Canada to $19.807 billion to reform the current FNCFS program and includes a framework to correct the many discriminatory aspects of the FNCFS program and the implementation of Jordan’s Principle.
The parties to the Agreement-in-Principle – Canada, the Assembly of First Nations, the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society, the Chiefs of Ontario, the Nishnawbe Aski Nation, and counsel for the Moushoom and Trout class actions – will now negotiate a Final Settlement Agreement
Indigenous Perspectives on Agreements-in-Principle
Association of Iroquois and Allied Indians
This Agreement-in-Principle while not perfect represents an opportunity for First Nations to implement their inherent jurisdiction over child welfare and put an end to discrimination……
January 5, 2022
Indigenous Perspectives on Agreements-in-Principle
Assembly of First Nations Québec-Labrador
“Although we consider this agreement as being an important step forward, we feel that long-term reform work is still required for Jordan’s principle, and that……
January 4, 2022
OLD CONTENT BELOW
Official Federal Government Response: Sept. 5, 2019
The Government of Canada has made historic investments to better support the well-being of children and families on reserve, improve the quality of education for First Nations children and urgently address housing needs on reserve. These investments include Budget 2016 funding of $635 million over 5 years and ongoing, as a first step in addressing funding gaps in First Nations Child and Family Services and provide greater support for culturally appropriate prevention services and front-line service delivery. Budget 2018 announced additional funding of $1.4 billion over 6 years, starting in fiscal year 2017 to 2018, for the First Nations Child and Family Services Program to address the funding pressures facing child and family service agencies, while increasing prevention resources so that children are safe and families can stay together. To support the safety and well-being of First Nations children and families living on reserve, Indigenous Services Canada is focused on fully implementing the orders of the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal, including reimbursement of funding to First Nations child and family services agencies based on actual costs for prevention, intake and investigation, legal fees, building repairs and small agencies in the best interest of the child, as well as reforming the First Nations Child and Family Services Program. These solutions, however, are multi-faceted and will require collaboration with First Nations partners, the provinces and territories to ensure that the well-being of children comes first.
The Government of Canada will continue to collaborate with First Nations, Inuit and Métis, as well as other partners, to advance the reforms to child and family services that are needed and develop Indigenous-led solutions that put the well-being of children first. For example: $1 million in funding was provided to the Métis National Council to support their work on engagement and consultation to advance culturally appropriate reform.
The government is also engaged in over 80 Recognition of Indigenous Rights and Self-Determination discussions tables through which Canada and Indigenous groups explore new ideas and ways to reach agreements that will recognize the rights of Indigenous groups and advance their vision of self-determination for the benefit of their communities and all Canadians. In many of the existing discussions Indigenous groups have identified child and family services as an important subject for discussion.