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Alberta government signs Jordan’s Principle agreement with feds, First Nations group

The Alberta government signs Jordan's Principle agreement with Federal government and First Nations Health Consortium, Thursday, Nov. 15, 2018.
The Alberta government signs Jordan's Principle agreement with Federal government and First Nations Health Consortium, Thursday, Nov. 15, 2018. Alberta government, Courtesy

The Alberta government has signed an agreement intended to help First Nations children.

The province has signed the memorandum of understanding (MOU) on Jordan’s Principle with the First Nations Health Consortium and the federal government.

READ MORE: Jordan’s Principle Summit suggests Indigenous families still struggling for equal health care

The provincial government said the consortium and two governments will work together to co-ordinate services in Alberta, address gaps and share information, so there are no unnecessary delays when a First Nations child needs support.

“Every child deserves the same access to supports, no matter where they live. Whether it’s a car seat, a splint, speech therapy or orthodontic surgery, addressing these needs in a fair and timely manner makes a huge, positive difference in the lives of children and their families,” Children’s Services Minister Danielle Larivee said.

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“This is a key piece in our public action plan on child intervention and part of the promise we made to Alberta’s Indigenous peoples to take action, address gaps that have been ignored for too long, and move towards true reconciliation.”

READ MORE: New Alberta consortium to ensure First Nations children’s health needs are met

The NDP said the signing of the MOU makes Alberta the first province to implement Jordan’s Principle, which is named in memory of Jordan River Anderson, who was a five-year-old boy from Norway House Cree Nation in Manitoba born with disabilities. Jordan died after the federal and provincial governments couldn’t agree who should pay for his home-based care.

Jordan’s Principle is intended to make sure First Nations children, youth and families do not deal with denials or delays in support because of disputes between governments over payment for services.

READ MORE: Federal government’s legal fees for Indigenous child welfare case now exceed $800K

“This MOU is a significant step in Canada’s reconciliation journey, as it will help ensure that Indigenous children and youth in Alberta can access the health, social and educational supports they need, when they need them,” Sen. Patti LaBoucane-Benson, member of Alberta’s Ministerial Panel on Child Intervention, said.

“It should provide a clearer process to ensure First Nations children can get the help they need.”

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The Ministerial Panel on Child Intervention identified implementation of Jordan’s Principle in Alberta as one of its 26 recommendations.