The Association of Iroquois and Allied Indians hosted a two-day Child Welfare forum in London on December 2-3. The forum explored many issues facing First Nations children in regards to Child Welfare including: jurisdictional disputes between First Nations and the Province, recent human rights complaints, and international child welfare law. The forum was attended by elected Councils and Child Welfare administrators from First Nation Communities across Ontario.
“Our children are the center of our communities and represent the future of our Nations,” said AIAI Grand Chief Gord Peters. “Our kids face many challenges that the current Child Welfare system is not addressing. We need to continue to build our own internal capacity – through these kinds of forums – and continue to demand equal funding from the Federal and Provincial Governments.”
The forum follows on the heels of a seven-year Human Rights Tribunal case, which finally concluded at the end of October. The case was launched by two organizations representing First Nations in Canada and alleged that the federal government provides flawed and inequitable services for First Nations children. The verdict of the tribunal is expected to return in the New Year.
Examples of inequities raised at the forum and throughout the Human Rights Tribunal case include jarring statistics like the fact that First Nations children living on-reserve receive 22% less child welfare dollars than children in the rest of Canada.
“When our children do not receive adequate supports because of these funding inequities, they have a greater risk of injury, death and removal from their families,” added Grand Chief Peters.
First Nations children on reserve in Canada have cumulatively spent more than 66 million days in out-of-home care between 1989 and 2012. This represents more than 187,000 years of childhood.
AIAI is mandated as a Provincial Territorial Organization (PTO) to defend and enhance the Aboriginal and Treaty rights of our seven member First Nations. Our member nations include: Batchewana First Nation, Caldwell First Nation, Delaware Nation, Hiawatha First Nation, Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte, Oneida Nation of the Thames, and the Wahta Mohawks. Learn more at www.aiai.on.ca, on Twitter@AIAI_comms and on Facebook.
For more information, please contact Suzanne Morrison at firstname.lastname@example.org or 519.281.6238.