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First Nations communities

Recommendations for legislative reform

Recommendation 9: MCFD should review the legislation to assess how the legislation could support a more accountable and robust legal framework for prevention-based supports including by:

  1. Adding a comprehensive list of functions for MCFD at the beginning of the legislation which includes:
    1. working with community and social services to alleviate and remedy the socio-economic conditions that place families at risk;
    2. developing and providing services and supports before and after intervention;
    3. proactively identifying groups of children the recognition and realization of whose rights may require MCFD to undertake special measures and develop special programming
  2. Replace the reference of prevention services in section 2(c) of the CFCSA, with a legislative provision that places a binding and measurable obligation on the Ministry to provide supports to keep families together who are at risk of having their children apprehended. The provision should place a positive obligation on the Ministry to take active efforts to provide remedial services and rehabilitative programs designed to prevent the breakup of the child’s family. The courts must then be satisfied that these active efforts proved unsuccessful in keeping the family together.
  3. Expand the list of supports under section 5 to include:
    1. improving the family’s financial situation;
    2. improving the family’s housing situation;
    3. improving parenting skills;
    4. improving child-care and child-rearing capabilities;
    5. improving homemaking skills;
    6. drug or alcohol treatment and rehabilitation;
    7. providing child care;
    8. mediation of disputes;
    9. self-help and empowerment of parents whose children have been, are or may be in need of protective services; and,
    10. transition supports for families who have just had a child apprehended or returned.

Discrepancies in the delivery of child welfare services


Recommendation 10: MCFD must ensure that efforts are embedded at all organizational levels including by training supervisors, providing opportunities for Indigenous managers, and promoting the involvement of Indigenous employees in strategic planning and practice development

Recommendations for legislative reform

Recommendation 10: Strengthen the legal duty of the Ministry to consider less disruptive measures by:

  1. Adding legislative language in the CFCSA that explicitly directs the Ministry to actively and diligently pursue and implement less disruptive measures on an ongoing basis;
  2. Including a non-exhaustive list of less disruptive measures that the Ministry must consider on an ongoing basis including an order of preference of placements akin to that set out in section 16 of Bill C-92;
  3. Adding legislative language in the CFCSA that directs the Ministry to establish in court that social workers have made active efforts that proved unsuccessful to return the child to their family;
  4. Where parents and Nations have identified less disruptive measures, the CFCSA should direct the Ministry to provide prompt, clear, and written reasons for rejecting these less disruptive measures.

Discrepancies in the delivery of child welfare services


Recommendation 11: MCFD should develop a mechanism for holding regional offices accountable to implement the necessary changes identified through quality assessments

Recommendations for legislative reform

Recommendation 11: Increase court oversight of MCFD’s efforts to identify less disruptive measures by adding the following provisions to the CFCSA:

  1. The court shall not make an order removing the child from the care of a parent or guardian unless the court is satisfied that less disruptive measures, including services to promote the integrity of the family, have been attempted, refused by the parent or would be inadequate to protect the child;
  2. Where the court determines that it is necessary to remove the child from the care of a parent or guardian, the court shall, before making an order, consider whether it is possible to place the child with a person or group in accordance with the order of preference of placements.

Discrepancies in the delivery of child welfare services


Recommendation 12: Project participants also expressed the need for training to cover the following topics: genderbased violence; Indigenous rights, identities, and cultures; the role of ongoing colonialism on intergenerational trauma; the potential for communities and families to provide more appropriate solutions to family healing; and the importance of culture and connection to the child’s well-being.

Discrepancies in the delivery of child welfare services


Recommendation 13: MCFD must review its policies and practices to increase the use of ADR processes, including changing the definition of family in ADR processes to recognize and honour Indigenous conceptions of family.

Substance use: Current MCFD approaches and recommendations for change

Recommendation 14: make specialized substance use consultants available to support families to develop timely safety planning including engaging and enabling the support of family members.

Improving financial supports for Indigenous families


Recommendation 15: Allow for community-based organizations that work closely with the family in the provision of family support to provide a recommendation letter or report setting out the family’s needs.

Recommendations for improving financial supports

Recommendation 16: MCFD should develop a plain-language fact sheet for kinship caregivers that sets out the pathways available to them under the CFCSA and FLA. Social workers must be required to provide this information sheet to all caregivers that could qualify for the EFP.

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