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At a Crossroads report highlights ongoing discrimination against Urban Indigenous Families

Representative for Children and Youth (RCYBC) documents how needs-based prevention funding stops at reserve boundary.

The Indigenous Child & Family Services Directors welcome At a Crossroads: The Roadmap from Fiscal Discrimination to Equity in Indigenous Child Welfare, released today by the BC Representative for Children and Youth. We thank the RCYBC and the Institute of Fiscal Studies and Democracy, for their work in producing this report.

Mary Teegee, Chair, ICFSD says “At a Crossroads documents the reality our agencies have been living with for years: a system where provincial funding for Indigenous child and family services has fallen gravely short, especially when it comes to prevention services. The need for prevention services doesn’t stop at the reserve boundary and it’s our urban families who often need the most help.”

Under Canadian Human Rights Tribunal orders, Canada now provides funding for the actual cost of child and family services and funding for meaningful prevention services delivered on-reserve. The province, not bound by those orders, has so far failed to follow suit and provide funding for the same level of service off-reserve.

This leaves Indigenous Child & Family Services Agencies in the precarious position of having different levels of capacity to support families depending on whether they live on- or off-reserve.

The RCYBC’s report provides new details about the gaps in the province’s funding approach, but this is not a new story. ICFSD have been advocating to MCFD since the early 2000’s to develop a fair and equitable funding approach that meets the actual costs of service delivery.

“Today’s report mirrors the conversations we have been having for many years. It is meaningful to see our daily experience validated by the data in the RCYBC’s report. More importantly, we are grateful to the RCYBC for holding our children—our most sacred gifts—at the center of this work,” says Jennifer Chuckry, Executive Director of Surrounded by Cedar Child & Family Services.

“Since 2016, when the CHRT ordered Canada to stop discriminating against First Nations children and to properly fund child and family services, we have been calling on the province to bring their funding into alignment with the CHRT orders. We hope this report represents a turning point, that the recommendations within it will have a real and positive impact on our children and families. We are more than ready to work in true partnership with British Columbia to implement those recommendations in a good way,” says Teegee.