OTTAWA – – The Chiefs of Ontario are calling on both Canada and Ontario to work in partnership with First Nations leadership to address and implement the recommendations outlined in the Ontario Coroner’s report released yesterday.
The Report of the Expert Panel on the Deaths of Children and Youth in Residential Placements examined the deaths of 12 youths who were in the care of Children’s Aid Societies. The deaths occurred between January 2014 and July 2017, while the youths were in residential placements. 8 of the 12 youths were identified as Indigenous.
“Minister McLeod (Children, Community and Social Services – ON) and I will be meeting within the next week to discuss how to implement the Coroner’s Recommendations as soon as possible,” said Ontario Regional Chief RoseAnne Archibald. “I will be reiterating to her that we support NAN’s call for federal and provincial accountability through a committee structure and that First Nations leadership in Ontario will be looking for her and her Premier’s timely support to ensure these tragedies never occur to First Nations children in care ever again.”
“The governments of Canada and Ontario must take these recommendations seriously and work in true partnership with Ontario First Nations leadership to improve conditions and services for First Nations youth in care,” Grand Chief Joel Abram of the Association of Iroquois and Allied Indians (AIAI) and Chiefs of Ontario Social Services Portfolio Holder stated, “The Coroner’s report reflects what we have already known all along. This is the right thing to do for our children”.
The Panel developed five recommendations they believe would make a fundamental difference to Ontario’s young people and the overall burden on Ontario’s social service system:
- To the Government of Canada and the Government of Ontario: Immediately provide equitable, culturally and spiritually safe and relevant services to Indigenous young people, families and communities in Ontario.
- Identify and provide a set of core services and support an integrated system of care for young people and their families across a holistic continuum, to every child in Ontario.
- Services must include health, mental health and wellbeing, education, recreation, child care, children’s mental health, early intervention services, prevention services and developmental services. Service provision should be geared to the needs, and intensity of needs, of each young person and family.
- Develop a holistic approach to the identification of, service planning for and service provision to high-risk young people (with or without child welfare involvement) that supports continuity of care to age 21.
- Strengthen accountability and opportunities for continuous improvement of the systems of care through measurement, evaluation and public reporting.
- Immediately enhance the quality and availability of placements for young people in Care