The Honourable John G. Abbott, Minister of Children, Seniors and Social Development, in collaboration with the Honourable Lisa Dempster, Minister of Indigenous Affairs and Reconciliation and Labrador Affairs tabled the “Report on Child Welfare Services to Indigenous Children, Youth and Families 2019-20”. This report is in response to Recommendation 33 of the Office of the Child and Youth Advocate’s report “A Long Wait for Change: Independent Review of Child Welfare Services to Inuit Children in Newfoundland and Labrador (2019)”. As the first comprehensive public reporting of information about child welfare services to Indigenous children, youth and families, it sets the baseline from which the Department of Children, Seniors and Social Development and Indigenous Governments and Organizations will continue working together to reduce the overrepresentation of Indigenous children and youth in care.
Among other findings, the report details an overrepresentation of Indigenous children and youth in care, at 36 per cent, when the Indigenous population is 12 per cent. It also notes that while 70 per cent of Indigenous children and youth entering care were placed within their communities or culture, 30 per cent were not. Collectively, actions are being taken to improve these findings. Early positive results show a 42 per cent reduction in the number of Indigenous children and youth coming into care since 2018. The Report provides information to aid in understanding Indigenous client demographics and reasons for child welfare involvement.