On February 1st, the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal issued its fourth compliance order against the federal government stating again that their inadequate funding for child welfare services continues to discriminate against First Nation children.
The CHRT ordered the government to provide funding based on the “actual costs” for prevention-based child welfare services, and to reimburse First Nation child welfare agencies retroactive to January 26, 2016. The current funding model is based on a system of child welfare intervention – of bringing children and youth into the foster care system – rather than funding preventative services for families that would help keep children from coming into care in the first place.
The CHRT called the First Nations’ case, “vital,” because, “it deals with mass removal of children. “There is an urgency to act and prioritize the elimination of the removal of children from their families and communities.”
Canada’s Indigenous Services Minister Jane Philpott sent letters out immediately to more than 100 agencies, including Kwumut Lelum, informing them that Ottawa will be providing additional funding, retroactively and moving forward, to cover the costs of preventive services, among others. They were also quick to point out that funding would not be taken from other indigenous service programs (like housing, for example) to fund this initiative.
Says Bill Yoachim, Kwumut Lelum’s Executive Director, “We want to make sure Indigenous children’s right to be raised in their family and culture happens for all children from our 9 member First Nations. This will provide the resources needed to make that not just a goal, but a reality. We’ve been ready for this moment”.
While Kwumut Lelum provides child welfare services to its 9 member nations, its focus has always been on providing holistic family services to support the children in their home communities and to prevent the need for them coming into care. You can learn more about our services by exploring our website.