First Nations Family Advocate Office
The First Nations Family Advocate Office (FNFAO) was established by the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs on June 1, 2015. The office received the name “Abinoojiyak Bigiiwewag,” meaning “Our Children are Coming Home,” during a ceremonial opening.
In the province of Manitoba, there are approximately 12,000 children under the care of Child and Family Services (CFS), and a significant 90 percent of them are Indigenous. These alarming numbers can be attributed to the devastating impacts of Indian Residential Schools and the 60s Scoop, which has caused immense harm to individuals, families, and communities.
Recognizing the urgent need to address the crisis of Indigenous children in CFS care, First Nations families and children involved with the CFS system expressed a strong desire for solutions. In May 2014, community engagement events were held in Winnipeg and Thompson, Manitoba, where several hundred community members shared their personal experiences with the CFS system. These stories shed light on the challenges faced while navigating the system and the systemic shortcomings in ensuring fairness and justice.
Based on the insights gathered from the community engagement sessions, the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs released the Bringing Our Children Home Report (BOCH). This report presented ten recommendations aimed at promptly addressing the identified issues and concerns.
One of the key recommendations put forth in the report was the establishment of the FNFAO, which serves as an additional avenue for implementing the BOCH Report recommendations.
Since its inception, the FNFAO has processed intake for over 800 families striving to have their children returned from CFS care to their homes or home communities. The demand for the office’s services continues to grow as more families, parents, and grandparents seek assistance.
What sets the FNFAO apart is its unique mandate from the Manitoba Chiefs. The office’s advocacy work encompasses comprehensive support for the entire family while advocating for First Nation-led solutions to address the CFS crisis in Manitoba. Operating independently from the current CFS system, the FNFAO acknowledges that empowering a provincial system that has clearly failed First Nation children, families, and communities is not a viable approach.
For inquiries, contact:
Current FNFAO Programs
If you have any questions about the programs shown below, contact FNFAO at 204-957-8450.