As a result of the 60’s scoop, there’s a very strained relationship with Indigenous people and the Child Welfare System. Indigenous children are overrepresented in the Child Welfare system and there are still many cases of Indigenous children being taken from their homes and communities without legitimate reason. This is now referred to as the Millennial Scoop and negatively affects an incredibly large number of Indigenous families. Because of this, children are again being separated from their cultures and communities, leading to a sense of loss of identity and disconnect from culture and traditions.

There is clear evidence of a lack of funding and investments both on reserves and in Indigenous communities. Indigenous children are not treated with the same respect and security as non-Indigenous children in the country.

Background & Context

  • Indigenous children are apprehended and taken from the families at disproportionately higher rates than non-Indigenous children by the Children’s Aid Society.
  • Legacy of Residential Schools and the 60’s scoop is still very much real in the lives of these children and their families. Apprehensions by the Children’s Aid Society is the continued legacy of Indigenous families being told by the colonial state that they are unfit to raise their own children. It continues the narrative that their children must live and grow-up in a non-Indigenous family in order to have a proper quality of life.
  • Overrepresentation in child services; more Indigenous children are taken from their families than any other group of people

For more on the Measure to Improve the Situation of Indigenous Peoples in Canada, click here.

Manitoba Case Study

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Manitoba has the highest rate of child welfare apprehensions in the world. There are more children in care today than at the height of the Residential School era. The consequences are clear: 75% of homeless First Nations were once “in care”.

Your children will automatically be taken into “care”, if you were raised “in care”. There are significant fears associated with having children, for fear of them being apprehended, just like during Residential Schools.

Key Stakeholders

Who is affected?

  • The issue surrounding child protect services has the largest impact on Indigenous parents/guardians, Indigenous children/youth, and overall Indigenous families
  • Taking away Indigenous children away from their communities and putting them in foster care homes and families is, what many would argue, another phase of the residential school era

Who is making change?

  • Chief and Council
  • Prime Minister
  • Cabinet Ministers
  • Political Parties: New Democratic Party, Conservative Party, Green Party, Liberal Party
  • AFN – Perry Bellegarde; ITK – Natan Obed; MNC – Clement Chartier
  • Legislative Committees
  • Elders
  • Native Women’s Association of Canada

Party Platforms & Positions

2016 Manitoba election:

  • Progressive Conservatives said they would reduce the number of children in care by boosting the economy
  • NDP said they would reintroduce legislation which would place at risk children with family members.
  • Liberal party suggested they would cut the number of children in care by half

The Liberal Party of Canada:

  • At the 2016 Convention, a resolution was introduced to improve the situation of Indigenous people in Canada as a measure to work towards reconciliation
  • This resolution included multiple components, including the push for equitable funding for improving the welfare of Indigenous children in Canada. This resolution also pushed for the “Jordan’s Principle” to be implemented. This resolution was not passed.

Provincial/Territorial Parties

Child welfare falls under provincial/territorial jurisdiction: Check to see if your provincial/territorial parties address the issue of child protection for Indigenous children and families.

What is being done now?

  • The Manitoba government is moving toward block funding instead of funding based on the number of days children are in care
    • The government anticipates that this will allow child protective agencies to put more money toward prevention rather than apprehension and care
  • Some Indigenous nations are reclaiming their own child welfare systems
  • Some Indigenous child services can only offer prevention and are not allowed to do apprehension due to them working under the government
  • Often Indigenous organizations aim to keep apprehended children within their family, community, and culture as much as possible
    • They operate much differently than Children’s Aid Society

Resources

  • For more information on the rates of children in care, research, reports by government agencies, and information sheets on policy and legislation, you can access the Canadian Child Welfare Research Portal
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