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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Aboriginal Child Protection Case fails at the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal

The Canadian Association of Social Workers is reporting that "On March 14, 2011, the Canadian Human Rights (CHR) Tribunal dismissed on a legal technicality the complaint filed in 2007 by the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada (FNCFCS) and the Assembly of First Nations, which alleged that the Federal Government is racially discriminating against First Nations children by providing less child welfare benefit on reserves."

I have written before about the high impact on Aboriginal communities of public policies in the past. These policies certainly include the decision to take thousands of children away from families and place them in residential schools. About half of those children would not survive having been subject to abuse of various kinds, malnutrition and maltreatment in the form of loss of love, caring and nurturing. The legacy was inevitable. The Aboriginal communities of Canada lost generations of family and parenting modeling. Now we have children being raised by adults who lacked the teaching needed to build healthy inter generational parenting.

Several studies have shown that the impact has been dramatic problems with children that have resulted in very high rates of Aboriginal children within the child protection systems.

The First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada notes on their website, "The inequalities in First Nations child welfare funding are longstanding and well documented (Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples [RCAP], 1996; McDonald & Ladd, 2000; Loxley et. al., 2005; Amnesty International, 2006; Assembly of First Nations, 2007; Auditor General of Canada, 2008; Standing Committee on Public Accounts, 2009) as are the tragic consequences of First Nations children going into child welfare care due, in part, to the unavailability of equitable family support services (McDonald & Ladd, 2000; Blackstock and Trocme, 2005; Amnesty International, 2006; Clarke, 2007; Auditor General of Canada, 2008; National Council on Welfare, 2008). This inequity is further amplified for First Nations children by shortfalls in education funding, housing and publically funded voluntary sector supports (Blackstock, 2008)."

It is our nation that created the legacy and our nation should be willing to find solutions - but solutions need to be properly funded. We underfunded care of Aboriginal children in the residential schools which led to some of the problems (although the program should never have been established) and now we underfund the solution.

This is a political issue and should be raised during our present Federal election.

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