Grand Chief Ed John served as minister of children and family development in the former NDP government

B.C. to move child protection back to indigenous communities

Grand Chief Ed John gives recommendations to Premier Chriisty Clark, who promises more resources and local control

The B.C. government is renewing efforts to keep aboriginal children in their home communities when they are removed from their parents.

The approach has long been a government goal, and was called for again this week when Grand Chief Ed John presented a report he was asked to do by Premier Christy Clark. John’s 85 recommendations centre around keeping families and communities intact and giving them more support to take care of children without them being placed in foster homes or group homes.

Both Clark and John noted that aboriginal children are 15 times more likely to be apprehended and placed in government care than non-aboriginal children. Clark said the number is in decline, but is not being reduced as quickly for aboriginal children.

Clark said the transition will take a substantial new financial commitment from the province and the federal government, to recruit more aboriginal social workers and locate them in the communities they serve and to improve services.

“We need indigenous wisdom from indigenous leaders to solve this problem,” Clark said.

The Ministry of Children and Family Development has struggled to maintain staffing and services in remote communities, and delegated agencies have had their own problems.

Outgoing Representative for Children and Youth Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond has issued investigation reports on cases such as that of Alex Gervais, an 18-year-old who fell to his death in September 2015 from a fourth-floor hotel room in Abbotsford. The ministry had moved him there after the group home he was in, run by a delegated aboriginal child welfare agency, was shut down due to inadequate conditions.

Turpel-Lafond said earlier this month there remain 10 ministry child protection offices operating with emergency staff, allowing little continuity on cases. She said the waiting time for youth mental health treatment continues to be up to two years, and delays have meant more severe cases that end in injury or death.

Stephanie Cadieux, minister of children and family development, said work is well underway on the recommendations in John’s report, but it will take time and money to transfer child welfare services back to communities.

Aboriginal and Métis community agencies must have the same financial support as government agencies to perform child protection services, Cadieux said.

 

Just Posted

ARTS AROUND: Learn watercolour basics at Port Alberni workshop

Victoria artist Joanne Thomas will host one-day workshop

Alberni Pacific Railway temporarily halted

Technical Safety BC discovers ‘regulatory violations’

BCHL: Bulldogs see fourth straight loss at BCHL showcase

Alberni Valley Bulldogs on the road again this weekend

Port Alberni Black Sheep fall to Surrey Beavers in rugby action

Three tries late in the second half cemented the win for Beavers

Addiction should be treated, not criminalized, say health professionals

Port Alberni Shelter Society forum talks opioid crisis

Alberni Teens Can Rock band Stranger Than Fiction releases first single

Port Alberni group has been performing since 2016

Tempering the B.C. cannabis legalization ‘gold rush’

Retail selling of marijuana offers potential business opportunities and pitfalls

Trump boasts of America’s might, gets laugh at UN

President Donald Trump received an unexpected laugh at the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday.

Federal use of A.I. in visa applications could breach human rights, report says

Impacts of automated decision-making involving immigration applications and how errors and assumptions could lead to “life-and-death ramifications”

Rattie scores 3 as Oilers blank Canucks 6-0

Vancouver slips to 1-5 in exhibition play

Veterans Affairs ordered to take second look before supporting vets’ relatives

Liberal government ordered officials to adopt a more critical eye

Dead B.C. motorcyclist was member of group that raced down mountain road

Some group members record their rides on Strathcona Parkway and post times to page

Indigenous athletes in spotlight at BC Sports Hall of Fame

New gallery to feature Carey Price, Kaila Mussel and Richard Peter

B.C. couple who went missing on flight from Edmonton named by family

Family released a statement Wednesday saying they’re still intent on finding the two-seater plane

Most Read