WINNIPEG – TREATY ONE – “This federal government has committed to listening and ensuring indigenous families are involved in the necessary transformation of how our children are protected in our communities. Despite political pressures, putting more money into the Manitoba Child & the Family Service (CFS) industry is not a viable option because the system is financially incentivized to apprehend children and keep them maintained away from their family. Successful real change, which is the goal of our engagement and subsequent recommendations, will be measured by the ability of our agencies to focus their energies on family restoration, opposed to child apprehension,” says Grand Chief Derek Nepinak, Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs.
Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs, the Honourable Carolyn Bennett reaffirmed Canada’s commitment to reforming First Nations child and family services. Canada is providing Manitoba First Nations, through its partnership with the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs, $550,000 to help support Canada’s engagement activities that began last fall and will continue into the summer.
Manitoba Child and family services engagement activities include meetings in First Nation communities, meetings with Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs elders and youths, meetings with First Nation child and family services providers, including frontline workers, and conferences with stakeholders such as First Nation education directors, teachers, health directors, health providers, and social workers.
“We need to get this right, which is why we are working in partnership with Manitoba First Nations and child welfare agencies, to understand the needs and their vision for reform of Child and Family Services. Today’s funding announcement will help agencies develop and implement culturally based visions and identify their actual needs. Ongoing engagement will help create a new funding formula -that for the first time- will actually address the transformation necessary to deliver culturally appropriate service delivery in First Nation communities,” says Minister Carolyn Bennett.