TORONTO, April 12, 2018 /CNW/ - A shared priority for Canada, Ontario and Chiefs of Ontario is to improve outcomes and opportunities for all First Nations children, youth, and families in Ontario, and to reduce the number of children and youth in care.
Today, the Honourable Jane Philpott, Federal Minister of Indigenous Services, the Honourable Michael Coteau, Ontario Minister of Children and Youth Services, Minister of Community and Social Services, and Minister Responsible for Anti-Racism, and the Chiefs of Ontario leadership signed a joint commitment on policy and funding reform for First Nations Services in Ontario.
All partners met Thursday in Toronto as a follow-up to the Emergency Meeting Minister Philpott hosted in Ottawa in January 2018, on Indigenous Child and Family Services.
The document signed today by Canada, Ontario, and the Chiefs of Ontario leadership commits partners to work together in developing new policy and funding models to support reform of First Nations child and family services in Ontario. This recognizes, in particular, the need to shift focus to more comprehensive approaches that support better outcomes by focusing on an expanded range of prevention services.
As part of this work, Canada, Ontario, and First Nations are also completing an Ontario Special Study, which will provide options for new First Nations child and family well-being policy and funding approaches that are child-centered, community-directed, and support better outcomes by focusing on prevention.
It is expected that the outcomes required from this joint commitment will be completed within 12-18 months.
"The federal government is committed to working with all partners to address the severe overrepresentation of Indigenous children in care. This is why I am pleased today to sign this Joint Commitment to Policy and Funding Reform for First Nations Child and Family Services in Ontario with the Chiefs of Ontario leadership and the Government of Ontario. The interests of children and families must come first, and it is through this commitment and our shared goals in developing new funding and policy approaches that we will be able to ensure that First Nation children in Ontario are safe and supported within their communities."
The Honourable Jane Philpott, M.D., P.C., M.P.
Minister of Indigenous Services
"The importance of laying a framework for recognizing First Nation jurisdiction on Child Welfare is the most vital policy discussion that we face; as Ontario First Nations, Canada and Ontario meet on the matter. A cooperative and coordinated outcome will be our primary effort as we organize these first steps - the authority to choose the best path forward will ultimately rest with our First Nation leadership and Child Welfare authorities. There can be no other option but full First Nation control."
Ontario Regional Chief Isadore Day
Chiefs of Ontario
"Ontario is committed to working collaboratively with First Nations partners and Canada to reduce the number of First Nations children in care, and ensure that all First Nations children have equitable access to child and family services that are sustainably funded, and that support positive outcomes across a child's lifespan. Today's joint commitment on funding reform represents a critical step forward in reaching that goal. Ontario looks forward to continuing to work closely with our First Nations partners and Canada on the funding reform needed to improve outcomes and opportunities for all First Nations children, youth, and families."
The Honourable Michael Coteau, MPP, Minister of Children and Youth Services, Minister of Community and Social Services, and Minister Responsible for Anti-Racism
- At the Emergency Meeting in January 2018, Canada committed to six points of action that it will implement, together with Indigenous partners, to reform the child welfare system and reduce the number of children in care.
- Budget 2018 provides $1.4 billion in new funding over six years, starting in 2017-18, to address funding pressures facing First Nations child and family service agencies, while also increasing prevention resources for communities so that children are safe and families can stay together.
- The Province of Ontario has advanced reforms in the area of First Nations child and family services, in particular through its "Ontario Indigenous Children and Youth Strategy", co-developed with First Nations, Inuit and Métis partners in Ontario, and the Child, Youth and Family Services Act, 2017.
- The Chiefs of Ontario are leading the Ontario Special Study in collaboration with Canada and Ontario through the Technical Table on Child and Family Well-Being. The Study is being co-funded by Canada and Ontario.
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SOURCE Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada
For further information: media may contact: Rachel Rappaport, Press Secretary, Office of the Honourable Jane Philpott, Minister of Indigenous Services, 819-956-5388; Media Relations, Indigenous Services Canada, 819-953-1160