WINNIPEG – On December 1, 2016 Grand Chief Derek Nepinak filed an affidavit for intervener status to ensure First Nation family experiences in the Child Welfare system are being illustrated when it comes to the current and ongoing delays in Child Protection hearings.
In granting the AMC standing, the Court of Appeal recognized that the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs will make useful contribution to the court when it hears this appeal. The prevalence and over representation of First Nations children in the system has damaging and irreversible impacts on First Nations families.
When children are apprehended, families have limited resources to deal with the legalities of bringing their children home. First Nations have a unique perspective on the impacts that wait times have on families given that the Manitoba court system binds them to a process that has historically taken months to resolve.
“We are pleased to have an opportunity to voice the concerns of families. Our First Nations families are disproportionately affected by Court Delays. At the First Nations Advocate Office, we notice many children are wrongfully apprehended from their families. Families are separated, at times, up to a year or longer for a Judge to hear their case. Changes in the delay will give hope to the families and will ensure family reunification,” stated Cora Morgan, First Nations Family Advocate.
In a recent article Judge Glenn Joyal acknowledged the delay in child protection hearings and recommends changes to the Manitoba Court’s scheduling model.
“It is encouraging to see that Chief Justice Glenn Joyal acknowledges the delays and is committed to urgent changes. It is critical that the changes are mindful and inclusive of a First Nations perspective,” concluded Cora Morgan.