Bolder action needed to give Aboriginal children and youth a decent life



    OTTAWA, Sept. 18 /CNW Telbec/ - A new report released today concludes
that bolder, more innovative government action is needed to give Aboriginal
children and youth a decent chance in life.
    The report, First Nations, Métis and Inuit Children and Youth: Time to
Act, was prepared by the National Council of Welfare (NCW), a federal advisory
body, to draw attention not only to the discrimination and poverty faced by
many Aboriginal children and youth but also to the many success stories. It
combines statistical evidence with interviews with Aboriginal women and men
who work with children and youth. The report notes that Council members, in
the process of researching the report, were astounded at the patience of
Aboriginal people and themselves felt a sense of frustration and impatience
for bolder action.
    Council Chairperson Dr. John Rook stresses that "Aboriginal women and men
are at the centre of creating a better life for their children and young
people and they are finding solutions that work. Governments need to act now
and in new ways, to genuinely work with Aboriginal people and support them
more fully in their own decisions about what is needed."
    The Council encourages Canadians to build understanding and support for
Aboriginal peoples. As Dr. Rook says, "this makes Canada a better place for
all of us." The Council also urges government action that includes: a
comprehensive national anti-poverty strategy, with specific vision and
accountability to Aboriginal peoples; immediate investment in basic needs for
today's children and youth, and in other programs and policies that are making
a difference, and; greater effort to build fair, sustainable governance
frameworks in the interests of a better quality of life for all Aboriginal
women, men and children.
    In the Council's report, a two-fold picture of the prospects for First
Nations, Métis and Inuit children emerges. One is a portrait of Aboriginal
children and young people often still caught in a legacy of colonialism,
racism and exclusion. Their developmental years are fraught with high rates of
poverty and its related causes and consequences from health problems, poor
housing and educational difficulties to astounding numbers of children taken
into state care and of youth in trouble with the law or victims of violent
crime. The other side of the portrait shows progress, even in the face of
these obstacles. Aboriginal individuals, families, organizations and
communities are finding solutions, acting as role models, developing
successful programs and providing the keys that restore hope for future
generations.

    The report is available at http://www.ncwcnbes.net.

    The NCW is an independent body established to advise the federal
    government on issues related to poverty and social development. For
    further information, please contact Claudette Mann at claudette.mann@
    hrsdc-rhdsc.gc.ca or:

    National Council of Welfare
    112 Kent Street, 9th Floor
    Place de Ville, Tower B
    Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0J9

    Telephone: (613) 957-2961
    Fax: (613) 957-0680

    /NOTE TO PHOTO EDITORS: A photo accompanying this release is available on
    the CNW Photo Network and archived at http://photos.newswire.ca.
    Additional archived images are also available on the CNW Photo Archive
    website at http://photos.newswire.ca. Images are free to accredited
    members of the media/




For further information:

For further information: Claudette Mann, National Council of Welfare,
(613) 957-2961, Fax: (613) 957-0680, claudette.mann@hrsdc-rhdsc.gc.ca

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National Council of Welfare

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