Child and Youth Advocates call for national action

By paNOW Staff
February 2, 2018 - 12:00pm

Canada's Indigenous Services Minister called out the country's child welfare situation, and advocates have responded.

Minister Jane Philpott called an emergency meeting regarding child welfare in Ottawa at the end of January. During the meetings she said the over-representation of Indigenous youth in Canada's care system had reached “crisis proportions.”

“We hear daily from Indigenous children, youth and their familes about their experiences in the child welfare system,” a statement from the Canadian Council of Child and Youth Advocates read. “We stand with children and youth, and hope their voices are heard directly.”

The statement said finding solutions is a shared responsibility of individual nations, provinces, territories and the federal government. The council's release also stated community consultation and the inclusion of children and youth must be part of a solution.

The advocates called for immediate and long-term action which would improve living conditions and infrastructure while eliminating poverty and guaranteeing clean water and food security for Indigenous youth.

The group recognized the Indigenous, Metis and Inuit peoples inherent right to self-determination which they said included the right to care for their own children. Further, advocates support a process in the spirit of reconcilliation.

“We call for the implementation of [Truth and Reconcilliation Commision]'s Calls to Action,” the statement said. “We acknowledge the negative impact that colonization, residential schools, the '60s Scoop and the current child welfare have on First Nations, Inuit and Metis children and youth.”

The council is composed of 11 representatives from nine provinces and two territories including Saskatchewan's Corey O'soup. The youth advocates are independants who report directly to the Legislative Assembly of their respective province or territory.

 

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