INDIGENOUS RESILIENCE, CONNECTEDNESS AND REUNIFICATION – FROM ROOT CAUSES TO ROOT SOLUTIONS A Report on Indigenous Child Welfare in British Columbia
Final Report of Special Advisor Grand Chief Ed John
“Your government asked for advice on Indigenous child welfare. “There are too many Indigenous children in care and something needs to be done,” I was told in the lead up to my appointment last year. While I was not sure I was the best person to give this advice, my immediate reaction then was to say, “Keep the children at home. Do not remove them; and see those in care returned back home.” I had a sense then that the best advice would come from those who were directly impacted by the existing laws, regulations, policies and practices of the state. My time as Special Advisor has served to reinforce this belief.” Special Advisor Grand Chief Ed George
According to current Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD) data, less than 10% of the child population in BC is Indigenous. And yet, as of May 2016, 60.1% (4,445) of the total (7,246) children and youth in care in BC were Indigenous. According to MCFD, in May 2016, of the 3,858 children and youth in care who were permanent wards, 2,609 (68%) were Indigenous.
INDIGENOUS CHILDREN AND YOUTH IN BC ARE OVER 15 TIMES MORE LIKELY TO BE IN CARE THAN NON-INDIGENOUS CHILDREN AND YOUTH.
This report is organized under 10 areas for focused action. It identifies the challenges and opportunities present in each of these areas, as well as the root causes linked to many of these existing challenges, which overlap substantively. The reader should therefore be attentive to the linkages and the relationships between all of the recommended actions.
Ares of Focused Action:
- Direct Support for Indigenous children, parents and families in all Indigenous communities
- Access to justice and child and family Servivces
- A new fiscala relationship – investing in patterns of connectedness
- Prevention Services – keeping families connected
- Reunification and permancy planning
- Nurturing a sense of belonging and priorityzing culture and language – care plans as a tool for building comnnectednes
- Early years – early investment in establishing patterns of connectedness
- Indigenous peoples and jurisdiction over child welfare
- The existing policy framework – shifting towards patterns of connectedness
- A national strategy for Indigenous child welfare
The Final Report presents 85 decommendations: