Coast Salish Territory- Indigenous Child Welfare Directors have been working for decades to shift the delivery of child and family services away from a reactive focus on protection and toward a proactive focus on well-being.
In its final report on First Nations child and family services, the Institute for Fiscal Studies and Democracy calls for fundamental changes to funding of services and measurement of service outcomes for First Nations children and families.
On the funding side, the current system invests in reactionary measures rather than proactive ones. IFSD calls for the replacement of this costly and ineffective funding approach with need-based block funding that allows service providers the latitude they need to act in the best interests of the children and families they serve.
On the measurement side, service outcomes are currently measured by the number of children in care. IFSD proposes the Measuring to Thrive framework, consisting of 75 indicators that capture the well-being of children, their families and their community environments.
Mary Teegee, Chair of the BC Directors Forum which represents Delegated Aboriginal Agencies in British Columbia and Executive Director of Carrier Sekani Child and Family notes that: “Our work is always guided by the knowledge that everyone and everything is interconnected. The Framework recognizes what we have known all along: that children are safe, happy and thriving when their families and communities are healthy.”
The Directors Forum endorses IFSD’s recommendations for achieving the goal of thriving First Nations children, families and communities:
- Adopt a results-based measure framework, such as Measuring to Thrive.
- Budget for results with a block funding approach that fills in the current gaps and is linked to the results based framework.
- Establish a non-political First Nations policy and practice secretariat to support First Nations and their agencies transition to First Nations governance.
- Establish an early adopters group of First Nations and agencies to demonstrate implementation of the new performance and funding approach.
The full report can be read here: Funding First Nations child and family services (FNCFS): A performance budget approach to well-being
About the Directors Forum
The Directors Forum, a coalition of executives responsible for managing the 24 delegated Aboriginal Agencies in BC, agencies representing 60% of First Nations in the province. As a collective and expert voice on child welfare matters, the Directors Forum bring decades of frontline experience working with Indigenous children and families.