The morning of Tuesday, January 26, 2016 the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal found that the Canadian Government was guilty of racially discriminating against First Nations children and their families by providing flawed and inequitable child welfare services. They agreed that federal funding formulas and policies create an incentive to place First Nations children in foster care and do not address the cultural needs of children and declared that the government must “cease the discriminatory practice and take measures to redress and prevent it.”
The Ontario Native Women’s Association (ONWA) welcomes this tribunal finding as we are equally convinced that Aboriginal children/youth programming needs to be fully and fairly funded in a redesigned model that reflects the needs of our women and children within Aboriginal service delivery agencies.
ONWA’s mandate is to work with Aboriginal women and their families and we have submitted a number of policy position papers with clear recommendations for changes to the Child Family Services Act over the years to maintain our family units, as we have proven that culturally safe prevention programming produces better outcomes for our families then intervention services.
With proper funding and self-governance, Aboriginal family service organizations will better be able to address the needs of our families.
Redesigning the child welfare system, as the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal also agrees, will allow for culturally based services which ONWA fully supports. The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child states “a child who is Indigenous shall not be denied the right, in a community…to enjoy their own culture”.
“The acknowledgement of the funding formula flaws needs to be addressed immediately, a system of funding based on the number of children in care in not an acceptable form of economic development within our communities. We cannot afford to have our children continued to be removed from our homes and communities, we must not have intervention agencies hosting prevention programming as this is a clear conflict.”
– Cora-Lee McGuire-Cyrette, Interim Executive Director ONWA
Please visit www.fncaringsociety.com to learn more about what you can do to help.