Grand Chief Ed John served as minister of children and family development in the former NDP government

B.C. to move child protection back to indigenous communities

Grand Chief Ed John gives recommendations to Premier Chriisty Clark, who promises more resources and local control

The B.C. government is renewing efforts to keep aboriginal children in their home communities when they are removed from their parents.

The approach has long been a government goal, and was called for again this week when Grand Chief Ed John presented a report he was asked to do by Premier Christy Clark. John’s 85 recommendations centre around keeping families and communities intact and giving them more support to take care of children without them being placed in foster homes or group homes.

Both Clark and John noted that aboriginal children are 15 times more likely to be apprehended and placed in government care than non-aboriginal children. Clark said the number is in decline, but is not being reduced as quickly for aboriginal children.

Clark said the transition will take a substantial new financial commitment from the province and the federal government, to recruit more aboriginal social workers and locate them in the communities they serve and to improve services.

“We need indigenous wisdom from indigenous leaders to solve this problem,” Clark said.

The Ministry of Children and Family Development has struggled to maintain staffing and services in remote communities, and delegated agencies have had their own problems.

Outgoing Representative for Children and Youth Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond has issued investigation reports on cases such as that of Alex Gervais, an 18-year-old who fell to his death in September 2015 from a fourth-floor hotel room in Abbotsford. The ministry had moved him there after the group home he was in, run by a delegated aboriginal child welfare agency, was shut down due to inadequate conditions.

Turpel-Lafond said earlier this month there remain 10 ministry child protection offices operating with emergency staff, allowing little continuity on cases. She said the waiting time for youth mental health treatment continues to be up to two years, and delays have meant more severe cases that end in injury or death.

Stephanie Cadieux, minister of children and family development, said work is well underway on the recommendations in John’s report, but it will take time and money to transfer child welfare services back to communities.

Aboriginal and Métis community agencies must have the same financial support as government agencies to perform child protection services, Cadieux said.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Saanich residents sound alarm after second owl dies of rat poison

Great Horned Owl found in Kings Park killed by three rodenticides

Point-guard lobs no-look, three-pointer for Oak Bay High video

Trick-shot only took three times, says Oak Bay teen

Cancelled cruise ships costs Victoria more than $130 million

Transport Canada bans ships until end of October in response to COVID-19

Phase-by-phase look at how Greater Victoria Public Libraries will reopen

GVPL to quarantine returned material for a minimum of 72 hours before lending again

Langford pitches Westhills as Canadian Premier League soccer hub

Langford could host all eight teams for August matches

VIDEO: Victoria dental staff dance to *NSYNC to promote reopening

Urban Smiles staff ‘want you back’ after closure in response to pandemic

Feds looking at ways to reunite families amid COVID-19 border restrictions with U.S.

Some families with members of dual-citizenship have become separated due to the pandemic

B.C. aquaculture farm’s employees sweat it out to raise funds for food banks

For every five minutes of exercise recorded, Cermaq Canada is donating a dollar to local food banks in communities they operate

Condition in kids with possible COVID-19 link being studied in Canada

This month, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued an alert to doctors about MIS-C

‘I knew what he wanted’: Kootenay man spends hours in tree as black bear patrols below

Francis Levasseur is no stranger to the outdoors, but a recent run-in with a bear caused quite a scare

POLL: Do you agree with the provincial government’s decision to increase the minimum wage?

B.C.’s lowest-paid workers will be getting a few more dollars to try… Continue reading

Trudeau acknowledges racial unrest in U.S.; ‘We also have work to do in Canada’

‘Anti-black racism, racism, is real; it’s in the United States, but it’s also in Canada,’ Trudeau says

Large cruise ships barred from Canadian waters until end of October: Garneau

Last year 140 cruise ships brought more than two million visitors to Canadian ports

Minneapolis cop who knelt on man’s neck charged with murder

Arrest comes after three days of protests, which escalated in violence as demonstrators torched a police precinct

Most Read