AMC statement on revised provincial policies that end CFS “birth alerts”
January 31, 2020
Treaty One Territory, Manitoba
Treaty One Territory, Manitoba – Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs, (AMC) Grand Chief, Arlen Dumas today is issuing the following statement on Thursday’s announcement by The Government of Manitoba on its decision to halt its practice of “birth alerts.” Families Minister, Heather Stefanson, announced that the practice will end April 1st.
“I welcome the announcement by Minister Stefanson on the government’s policy decision to halt the practice of birth alerts and provide more supports to Moms,” said Grand Chief Dumas. “The AMC agrees that this is a step in the right direction, but much more work needs to be done to reduce the First Nations child-apprehension rates in this province, which have been documented to be the highest in the Western hemisphere. Oppressive child welfare policies developed by federal and provincial governments, including birth alerts, have broken up First Nations family units, separated newborns from their Mothers at their most critical time of bonding and development, and negatively impacted generations of First Nations peoples in this province for too long,” said Grand Chief Dumas. “This announcement, which makes Manitoba the second provincial jurisdiction in the country to end birth alerts, is a result of many years of advocacy work by the First Nations leadership in this region. The AMC has established, through resolution by Chiefs-in-Assembly, the First Nations Family Advocate’s Office of Manitoba, which directly supports First Nations families and implements the technical and First Nations law-making processes that underpin the AMC policy of Bringing our Children Home. I commend the Manitoba Chiefs on their advocacy and their vision to establish the FNFAO and to advocate for made-in-Manitoba First Nations Child Welfare policies and legal frameworks. We will continue the work of Bringing our Children Home and continue to support the FNFAO as they continue their critically important work to exercise and facilitate First Nations jurisdiction over Child Welfare in this province,” concluded Grand Chief Dumas.