AMC-FNFAO Call for Complete Overhaul of CFS System to Break Cycle of Injustice

March 15, 2024

Treaty One Territory, Manitoba

AMC Communications

Treaty One Territory, Manitoba – The Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs (AMC) and the First Nations Family Advocate Office (FNFAO) are calling for significant changes in policies and practices to address the interconnectedness between the Child and Family Services (CFS) System and the Justice System. With a recent increase in violent incidents involving youth in care, the AMC reaffirms its longstanding advocacy for the transformation of the CFS system.

“Manitoba’s CFS system fails to provide the nurturing and guidance essential for our children’s well-being,” said AMC Grand Chief Cathy Merrick, “We cannot decolonize or reform a system so deeply rooted in the Residential School system. First Nations Leadership must spearhead the creation of First Nations-driven systems and services. We understand what works best for our children and youth, and what we see now is the result of consistent government interference.”

The existing system is plagued by a chronic lack of resources and support for caregivers, leaving vulnerable youth without the stability and guidance necessary for healthy development. This neglect often traps them in a cycle of justice system involvement, leading to homelessness and substance abuse.

To gain deeper insights into the connection between the CFS system and justice system involvement, the AMC-FNFAO is establishing a Youth Advisory Group comprising First Nations youth with lived experiences in both systems. This group will facilitate focus groups with peers and contribute to shaping recommendations for systemic change.

“We must envision a future where every First Nations child grows up in a safe, nurturing environment surrounded by their culture, language, and traditions. This isn’t merely a policy matter; it’s a moral imperative that requires our collective action and unwavering commitment,” continued Grand Chief Merrick.

The Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs stands ready to collaborate with government entities and community services to improve the well-being of First Nations children.

“As leaders, parents, and fellow human beings, it’s our responsibility to ensure our children have every opportunity to flourish and thrive,” Grand Chief Merrick concluded.

For more information, please contact:

Communications Team
Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs

About the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs

The AMC was formed in 1988 by the Chiefs in Manitoba to advocate on issues that commonly affect First Nations in Manitoba. AMC is an authorized representative of 62 of the 63 First Nations in Manitoba with a total of more than 172,000 First Nations citizens in the province, accounting for approximately 12 percent of the provincial population. AMC represents a diversity of Anishinaabe (Ojibway), Nehetho / Ininew (Cree), Anisininew (Ojibwe-Cree), Denesuline (Dene) and Dakota Oyate (Dakota) peoples.