The Provincial Government has announced the appointment of Grand Chief Edward John as a Senior Advisor on Aboriginal Child Welfare to the Minister of Children and Family Development.
In a news release, the Government says he will help more aboriginal children and youth secure a safe, caring, and permanent family outside of government care.
John is to help develop stronger plans that will lead to greater success finding “forever families” through adoption, guardianship, or other options that may be more appropriate in First Nations communities.
The appointment is for six months ending March 31st.
Turpel-Lafond will “wait and see” if any real change materializes
B.C.’s Representative for Children and Youth is taking a wait-and-see approach to the province’s announcement.
Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond says what she’s waiting for is to see whether Grand Chief Edward John will be able to give the Ministry of Children and Family Development the advice it needs to hear .
According to the province, Chief John will be advising the government on ways to help “reduce the number of Aboriginal children in care”, and he has a six-month term to do it in.
Turpel-Lafond, who says the situation for aboriginal children has deteriorated over the last ten years, says Chief John will “have to use the full force of his character to get change” for them.
“We know what the outstanding recommendations are, he’s going to have to produce somethingand he’s got a short period of time to do that; six months.”
“The pressure is on him and it’s on the government and I welcome it (Chief John’s appointment), but I will be expecting real change for the children of British Columbia.”
Turpel-Lafond says any government can appoint an advisor to themselves, but says Chief John has worked for Aboriginal families and children for many years.