Manitoba government takes initial steps to transform Indigenous Child Welfare System

Manitoba Families Minister Rochelle Squires. The Canadian Press

The Manitoban government has put forward a list of amendments for the Child and Family Services (CFS) Act to help streamline the process of Indigenous Governing Bodies (IGB) taking over related services.

This comes after Justice James Edmond ruled the province had violated Indigenous children’s charter rights by clawing back hundreds of millions in federal payments.

As it stands, provincial CFS agencies hold the reins for kids under care, 90 per cent of whom are Indigenous.

“Our government is committed to transforming the child welfare system in the spirit of reconciliation by supporting Indigenous jurisdiction for child and family services,” said Families Minister Rochelle Squires.

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“These amendments will support ongoing provincewide child and family service co-ordination and ensure the continued safety of children.”

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The amendments center four main themes, which would provide information for Indigenous Service Providers and IGBs, authorize the transfer of responsibility, allow access to the CFS electronic information system and Child Abuse Registry and protect certain pieces of information (such as closed records) shared under the act.

“These amendments support our government’s commitment to ensuring IGBs exercise their inherent jurisdiction over their children to advance reconciliation with Indigenous communities,” said Squires.

“Information sharing will be vital for ensuring co-ordination between existing CFS agencies and those established under Indigenous laws in the best interests of those children.”

— with files from The Canadian Press

Click to play video: 'Court rules Manitoba’s move on federal child welfare allowance violated charter'
Court rules Manitoba’s move on federal child welfare allowance violated charter



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