In 2017, OACAS presented nine key commitments the child welfare sector have agreed upon to move forward with Reconciliation:
The tracking of these commitments is being undertaken at both a local and provincial level.
For OACAS members, the research that informed the nine commitments can be accessed through this link (Note: login to myOACAS required to access).
The Child, Youth and Family Services Act (CYFSA) and came into effect in 2018 and is the primary legislation governing child, youth and family services that are provided, funded or licensed by the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services (Review of CYFSA). The CYFSA replaced the Child and Family Services Act. Overall, the main purpose of the act is to promote the best interests, protection, and well-being of children and youth. As such, "the legislation puts children and youth at the centre of decision-making, and supports more accountable, responsive and accessible child, youth and family services. It also strengthens oversight for Children’s Aid Societies and licensed residential services," (Child, Youth and Family Services Act (CYFSA) 101, [course in myOACAS Learning], 2017).
Part IV of the CYFSA focuses on First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Child and Family Services. It is acknowledged in the CYFSA that First Nations, Inuit and Métis people should be entitled to provide, wherever possible, their own child and family services (CYFSA Preamble). It is also recognized that FNIM children, young persons, and their families should be provided services that recognize their culture, heritages, traditions, and connections to their communities.
Six Points of Action
In 2018, the Government of Canada developed the six points of action as a response to the severe over-representation of Indigenous children in the child welfare system. The points of action were developed at an emergency two day meeting wherein leaders from the Assembly of First Nations, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, Métis National Council, regional Indigenous leadership, as well as federal, provincial and territorial governments, and youth delegates from the foster care system gathered to discuss the causes that led to the high rate of Indigenous children in care. The six points of action are as follows:
You can view the progress on the six points of action here.
Eventually. after much discussion with First Nations, Inuit and Métis partners, An Act respecting First Nations, Inuit and Métis children, youth and families (formerly Bill C-92 ) was co-developed and became law on June 21, 2019. The legislation came into effect on January 1, 2020.
The Act was developed and implemented as the "over-representation of First Nations, Inuit and Métis children in the child and family services system has been described as a humanitarian crisis; according to Census 2016 data, Indigenous children make up 7.7% of all children between the ages of 0 and 14 but account for 52.2% of children in foster care in private homes," (Government of Canada, 2019).
At the time, the approach to Indigenous child and family services often saw Indigenous children separated from their families and communities. As per this article developed by the Government of Canada, the Act is ultimately meant to reduce the number of Indigenous children in care; however, the act is also meant to:
You can find out what the act means for you through this fact sheet developed by Indigenous Services Canada, as the implications of this legislation vary depending on who you are.
For further information, visit this page which offers a high-level overview of critical areas of the act including a section by section description of the Act.
The Assembly of First Nations also created an overview of the Act for Chiefs and Leaders which can be accessed here, and this resource developed by Olthuis Kleer Townshend LLP offers more information on the process of creating the Act.
Note: you have to be authenticated by OACAS’s library databases to access any EBSCO articles. To learn how to be authenticated, you can visit the EBSCOHost research databases guide. If you are an OACAS member and are having difficulty accessing these articles, please reach out to Jessica Mariano, Content & Research Librarian (she/her).
Frameworks & Reports