FSIN welcomes federal proposed changes to Indigenous child welfare system
Chief Bobby Cameron welcomed news Friday that the federal government will develop a new child and family services model giving more autonomy to Indigenous communities.
“It’s all a part of the governance and the jurisdiction where we bring into the equation the language and culture component,” Cameron said.
“This is what’s lacking in the provincial government system.”
Leaders from the FSIN will be involved in the federal consultation process, as it creates new legislation transitioning control over Indigenous children in care from the current provincial and territorial models.
The federal government is aiming to introduce the new legislation when the House of Commons resumes sitting in late January.
In the interim, FSIN vice-chief Heather Bear called for the Saskatchewan government to implement a moratorium on Indigenous child placement in the provincial foster care system without consent of, and consultation with First Nations.
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“The harms are still happening and we need to stop it now,” Bear said.
During an Ottawa news conference, Canada’s Indigenous Services Minister Jane Philpott said children are taken from their parents daily under the guise of “neglect.”
According to Philpott, the term is a euphemism for economic poverty, inadequate housing and unresolved health issues.
“This is our modern-day variation on the legacy of residential schools,” she said.
In a statement, Saskatchewan Social Services Minister Paul Merriman noted the province currently works with the Saskatoon Tribal Council, providing a “culturally appropriate continuum of family services.”
Provincial officials have met with the federal government, Indigenous agencies and local leaders to discuss the anticipated legislation, the statement said.
“We are supportive of the concepts being discussed at the table, and want to be involved in the development and implementation of legislation that will achieve better outcomes for Indigenous children and their families,” Merriman said.
Saskatchewan has agreements with 17 First Nations child and family services agency for delivering child welfare services on-reserve.
Three agreements allow the province to deliver child welfare services off-reserve.
With files from The Canadian Press
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