AMC supports Indigenous Services Minister Jane Philpott’s six-point plan for child welfare reform

January 29, 2018

Treaty One Territory, Manitoba


January 29, 2018

TREATY ONE TERRITORY _ The Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs is in support of IndigenousServices Minister Jane Philpott’s six-point plan for child welfare reform. Her plan was unveiled at a two-day child welfare emergency meeting in Ottawa last week.

“One of the points is to support communities to draw down jurisdiction and explore the potential to co-develop federal child welfare legislation; this would support the nation-to-nation relationship that First Nations as Treaty partners in this country want,” said Grand Chief Arlen Dumas.

The AMC maintains our commitment to working with Manitoba First Nations to exert our original and inherent jurisdiction over child welfare and working collaboratively with Canada to achieve our First Nations’ child welfare reform priorities.

“By the provinces choosing not to sign Minister Philpott’s plan, it shows the system is unwilling to engage in a meaningful and productive way or embrace the spirit and intent of CFS in Manitoba,” said Grand Chief Dumas, adding it has always been the intent to have all child and family matters fall under First Nations jurisdiction and not the province.

“We signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Canada in December; part of that MOU was that we would not simply administer the laws, policies and directives of another government, but that we would have full jurisdiction over our children. I cannot stress this enough.”

The full memorandum can be found on the AMC website at: content/uploads/2017/12/AMC-Canada-MOU-on-Child-Welfare-Signed-Document.pdf.

Cora Morgan, the AMC’s First Nations Family Advocate, attended last week’s emergency meeting.

“I was pleased to hear from our youth, who know the system is entirely broken, and our Grandmothers, who understand that reviving our original systems for child welfare is the answer to this crisis,” said Morgan.

“The AMC and Manitoba First Nations have been working towards this for decades, and with willing partners, this can become a reality,” she said.

The AMC and the First Nations Family Advocate Office, through our Bringing Our Children Home and Keewaywin reports, have heard from member First Nations and their grassroots citizens that First Nation jurisdiction over child welfare must be exercised.

Minister Philpott’s six-point plan includes increased prevention and early intervention programs.

“It’s important that these programs operate autonomously from the current CFS system. This is simply building upon First Nations’ capacity to revive the community of care that was decimated through 150 years of failed child welfare policy,” said Grand Chief Dumas.