Children and Family Development Minister Stephanie Cadieux /BLACK PRESS

Help promised for aboriginal child care

Federal funds work against keeping families together

The federal government is underfunding family support on aboriginal reserves and its system makes it more likely that aboriginal children will be taken into government care, B.C.’s Representative for Children and Youth says.

Representative Bernard Richard issued a report Thursday that found B.C.’s 23 delegated aboriginal child welfare agencies have similar problems as the provincial Ministry of Children and Family Development: insufficient staff and high caseloads of children taken from their families.

Ottawa is legally responsible to provide on-reserve education and social services, but provides extra funding only after a children are removed from their families. The formula effectively means delegated agencies are rewarded for taking more children into care, one reason why aboriginal children are 17 times more likely to be removed from their families than non-aboriginal children.

“Federal funding does not account for the real needs of children and families living on-reserve in B.C.” Richard wrote. “Nor does operational funding provided by Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada adequately cover essential capital costs such as office space, computers and vehicles.”

B.C. Children and Family Development Minister Stephanie Cadieux accepted Richard’s criticism that the province has its own funding problems, with its delegated agencies not receiving the same funding as ministry services.

This year’s ministry budget includes an additional $14.4 million to bring funding for delegated agencies up to the same level as the ministry, with the same target of a maximum 20 cases per social worker, Cadieux said.

Richard said his interviews with staff at delegated aboriginal agencies reported average caseloads of 30 children.

Cadieux said the province is implementing recommendations made last year by Grand Chief Ed John, a former minister brought in to make recommendations on culturally appropriate support for aboriginal children.

B.C. is in talks with Ottawa to convince them that more on-reserve family support is needed to keep children with their families, Cadieux said.

Just Posted

Open houses regarding transit between Penticton and Kelowna

The meetings will be held in Summerland, Princeton, Penticton, Peachland and Osoyoos on Dec. 4 and 5

Third fatality in 24 hours on South Okanagan roads

A vehicle incident closed Highway 3 for five hours Monday night

CONTEST: New year, new you

KimXO has partnered with Black Press Media and Third Space for a brand new contest

Summerland couple donates $30,000 to hospital campaign

Donation will go to medical equipment for the Penticton Regional Hospital expansion

South Okanagan Similkameen leading in referendum ballot returns

Pro Rep group offering Nov. 22 information session

VIDEO: B.C. legislature clerk, sergeant at arms suspended for criminal investigation

Clerk of the House Craig James, Sergeant-at-arms Gary Lenz on administrative leave

Former NHL player and coach Dan Maloney dies at 68

Maloney coached the Toronto Maple Leafs and Winnipeg Jets

Ex-MSU president charged with lying to police about Nassar

Lou Anna Simon was charged Tuesday with lying to police during an investigation

Police looking into two more incidents at private Toronto all-boys’ school

Police and the school have said two of the prior incidents involved an alleged sexual assault

Police aim to prevent retaliation after Hells Angel found dead under B.C. bridge

IHIT confirms Chad Wilson, 43, was the victim of a ‘targeted’ homicide

Otter makes a snack out of koi fish in Vancouver Chinese garden

Staff say the otter has eaten at least five fish

B.C. lumber mills struggle with shortage of logs, price slump

Signs of recovery after U.S. market swings, industry executive says

25% of Canadians still won’t say they use pot, survey says

Statistics Canada poll says Canadians on average were 18.9 years old when they first tried pot.

Canucks’ 50/50 jackpot expected to surpass $1 million

The guaranteed prize for one lucky winner will be $500,000 minimum when Vancouver hosts LA Nov 27

Most Read