The B.C. government has received a much-anticipated report into indigenous child welfare, and what needs to be done to make it better for kids in care.
The 219-page report entitled Indigenous Resilience, Connectedness, and Reunification – From Root Causes to Root Solutions authored by Grand Chief Edward John, makes 85 recommendations – most of them aimed squarely at the Ministry of Children and Family Development.
It comes on the heels of a string of high-profile deaths of aboriginal youth either in, or subsequent to, receiving government care, among them Nick Lang who died in a drug treatment centre and Alex Gervais who jumped from an Abbotsford hotel window.
The recommendations include asking the MCFD to provide every First Nation with a list of children currently in care and boosting funding for social workers to the tune of $8-million.
In response Children and Family Development Minister Stephanie Cadieux is promising what she calls a different approach to indigenous child welfare.
“We are changing the way we work with our indigenous communities, we are engaging in discussions with indigenous leadership about shared decision making and jurisdiction,” said Cadieux.
The MCFD says 40 of the recommendations are already being worked on.
But Premier Christy Clark concedes the province hasn’t crunched the numbers on a price tag.
“We’re still putting together our budget but we intend to make sure we can implement – with the federal government, of course – all 85 recommendations,” she said.