Country Liaison Perspectives - Recognition and Reconciliation for Indigenous Families in Canada

Country Liaison for Canada, Wanda Boyer, provides an update on the Canadian government’s progress and challenges concerning the education, well-being, and healing of indigenous communities in Canada. 

Overrepresentation of Indigenous Children in Foster Care and Welfare System

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  • The latest survey from Statistics Canada found that while less than 8% of all Canadian children age 4 and under are Indigenous, they accounted for 51.2% of preschoolers in foster care in 2016. That was up more than 2 percentage points from 2011. 
  • The Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde has urged an initiative to support self-determined child welfare to prevent increases in Indigenous children entering foster care.
  • Dubravka Simonovic, the United Nations special rapporteur on violence against women, announced that urgent action is needed in Canada to address issues such as the high number of Indigenous children in the welfare system and the overrepresentation of Indigenous women in the prison system.

Recognition and Reconciliation for Indigenous Families in Canada

  • The British Columbia Ministry of Children and Family Development has produced a Recognition and Reconciliation protocol on First Nations Children, Youth, and Families to improve the well-being of First Nations children, youth, and families in British Columbia.

This protocol will addressissues such as the high number of Indigenous children in the welfare system and the overrepresentation of indigenous women in the prison system. 

  • The First Nations Summit, the Union of B.C. chiefs, and the B.C. Assembly of First Nations, and the British Columbia Ministry of Children and Family Development have collaboratively developed the Aboriginal Policy and Practice Framework (APPF) to further support reconciliation, and improve the health, well-being, and education outcomes for Indigenous children, youth, families, and communities. 
  • The APPF will be a living document to advocate for practices that are culturally safe and trauma informed, supporting and honoring Indigenous peoples’ cultural systems of caring and resiliency.

Resources

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/national-chief-calls-on-first-nations-to-create-their-own-child-welfare-legislation/article37740911/

https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/family-and-social-supports/child-care/aboriginal/abframework.pdf

http://www.llbc.leg.bc.ca/public/pubdocs/bcdocs/455619/recognition_reconciliation_protocol.pdf

Disclaimer: The information provided by the Country Liaison represents their perspective on education progress and challenges in their nation. It does not necessarily reflect the point of view of the Association for Childhood Education International staff and leadership.