Child and Family Services
There is a growing awareness about the issues related to child and family services and the negative impacts it has had on families and communities. This was affirmed by the Human Rights Tribunal on Discrimination Against First Nation Child Welfare Services where they found that discriminatory practices plague the child welfare system. This has included funding child welfare agencies 22% to 38% less on reserve, that according to the Tribunal “resulted in denials of services and created various adverse impacts for many First Nations children and families living on reserves.”
Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak Inc. supports the decision made by the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal (CHRT) identifying how the Government of Canada has discriminated against First Nations children and families on reserve by refusing to provide adequate investments into the Child Welfare system. The Tribunal is a result of lobbying efforts that were initiated by Cindy Blackstock with the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada, the Assembly of First Nations, the Chiefs of Ontario and Amnesty International.
“MKO remains committed to be an active partner with the Government of Canada to achieve reform of the current First Nations Child and Family Services Program. The three-step process identified by the Caring Society is a pathway to ensure the discriminatory practices are addressed” Stated Grand Chief Sheila North WIlson
The three step process includes:
- Reconvene the National Advisory Committee to identify discriminatory elements in the provision of funding to FNCFS Agencies and make recommendations thereon;
- Fund tripartite tables to negotiate the implementation of equitable and culturally based funding mechanisms and policies for each region; and
- Develop an independent expert structure with the authority and mandate to ensure
AANDC maintains non-discriminatory and culturally appropriate First Nations child and family services (paragraph 476, page 166).
MKO also cites that the Province of Manitoba has a significant role to play in the reform of First Nations Child and Family Services. As stated in the Tribunal, the standards for service levels are prescribed by provincial legislation, however the higher costs to deliver those services to our remote First Nations has been an ongoing issue for our Agencies. MKO looks forward to working with all partners to ensure that comparable funding and comparable services are aligned to ensure the well being of our children.