AFN National Chief wants immediate action on child welfare reform
- EFN Staff | February 06, 2018
Following an emergency meeting called by Minister of Indigenous Services Jane Philpott held two weeks ago in Ottawa, Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Perry Bellegarde said immediate relief for First Nations children and families must be the next urgent step in child welfare reform, and the Government of Canada must work together with First Nations to uphold the fourth and most recent compliance order by the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal.
“Nothing short of immediate action will suffice at this point,” said Chief Bellegarde in a statement on the AFN website. “Our children deserve justice and fairness. We need immediate relief for children in care and we must stop ripping families apart – not tomorrow, not in six months, not in one year but today. First Nations are ready to move.”
The federal government is being ordered to look into funding for First Nation child welfare agencies with the goal of eliminating racial discrimination against First Nation children in Canada based on a decision released last week by the Tribunal.
“The focus has to be on prevention and keeping First Nations children with their families and in their communities whenever possible,” he said. “This latest order has to be the catalyst for action and change.”
This latest decision by the Tribunal is the fourth in the past two years calling on the federal government to stop discriminating against First Nations children.
Chief Bellegarde said the latest Tribunal order clearly states the government of Canada needs to start taking action and to stop stalling in proceeding ahead.
“Children are being apprehended every day. Every day matters in this struggle for our children,” he said. “The Government of Canada must respect the orders of its own Human Rights Tribunal.”
In May 2017 the Tribunal ordered Canada to fully implement Jordan’s Principle by applying it to all First Nations children in need of care, regardless of where they reside.