A report on children and families together: An Emergency Meeting on Indigenous child and family services. Jan. 25 – 26, 2018
Relevant Government of Canada Commitment to Action:
6. Create a data strategy with provinces/territories and Indigenous partners to increase inter-jurisdictional data collection, sharing and reporting to better understand the rates and reasons for apprehension.
Data Measurement and Information Sharing Panel
Discussion about the role data collection can play in overcoming existing gaps in knowledge took place. One area of inquiry could be to examine whether shifting income supports currently provided to foster care families to those families in need could lead to prevention. Participants also highlighted the need to support community-based research that is strengths-based, sharing learning structures and research methodologies that have successfully advanced the rights of First Nations, Inuit and Métis children and families involved with child and family services. Data collected must be disaggregated by First Nations, Inuit and Métis and by gender, sexual orientation and disability in order to lead to effective service provision.
Participants identified the need for all collaborative research efforts to adhere to the OCAP Principles (Ownership, Control, Access and Partnership). This is consistent with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, in particular, the right to self- determination, including self-government (articles 3 and 4) and the right to free, prior and informed consent prior to state adoption of legislative or administrative measures that affect Indigenous peoples (article 19).
It was suggested that all governments work with the Métis to develop data standards and information–sharing agreements and, to ensure all child and family services identify Métis children as Métis and not as “other” in intake and reporting forms. For Inuit, a national Inuit health survey to be conducted on a consistent basis, would serve to inform advances in Inuit health in general and in relation to child welfare services in particular.
There are challenges in collecting in a way that creates comparable data for advocacy, service delivery and measuring success across the regions. However, these challenges can be overcome through well-defined collaborations, where roles and responsibilities are clearly set out.