WINNIPEG — Manitoba’s First Nation Family Advocate is hopeful a ruling from the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal will bring changes to the province’s child and family services system.
The tribunal found the federal government discriminated against children living on reserves by inadequately funding child welfare programs.
“Our apprehension rates are the highest in the entire world here in Manitoba so I think it’s particularly meaningful,” said Manitoba First Nation Advocate Cora Morgan.
“When we look at the resources available within first nations communities, the infrastructure, the programming, the supports to families, they don’t exist,” she said.
The tribunal ruling came from a complaint made in 2007 by the Assembly of First Nations and The First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada.
It states the lack of government funding for child welfare services amounts to discrimination, “Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada’s design, management and control of the First Nation Child and Family Services Program, along with its corresponding funding formulas and the other related provincial/territorial agreements have resulted in denials of services and created various adverse impacts for many First Nations children and families living on reserves.”
Morgan is hopeful the findings will create changes that will lower apprehension rates in Manitoba.
“With this decision by the Human Rights Tribunal it looks really promising that change is going to come,” she said.
The tribunal report called on all levels of government “to remove the most discriminatory aspects of the funding schemes it uses to fund First Nation Child and Family Services Agencies.”