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Insufficient funding and policy is failing Indigenous youth and those who care for them

Coast Salish Territory- Indigenous youth who are in care are the most vulnerable of all youth.  The challenge to provide care to vulnerable and at risk Indigenous youth is significant and it’s a challenge that Delegated Aboriginal Agencies undertake each and every day.

The hard truth is, that while 65% of the children in care in B.C. are Indigenous, child welfare policy and funding models don’t reflect this reality.  Decades of case reviews and public inquiries point out these shortcomings.

Indigenous youth are currently bounced around a network of non-indigenous service providers, which leads to confusion and gaps in services. Worsening the situation is the fact that many supports and services don’t follow Indigenous youth off-reserve.

Delegated Aboriginal Agencies require an injection of funding to support appropriate prevention, addictions and mental health services for the kids in care that they serve, both on and off reserve.

Currently, the Provincial government provides millions of dollars to non-Indigenous agencies to provide speciality services to Indigenous children and youth with little tracking, accountability and no cultural components.

While racial inequity in child welfare is well known there are now legislative avenues, primarily BC’s adoption of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People (UNDRIP) as law, that can compel the Province of B.C. to change its funding model.

We challenge the provincial government to provide comparable prevention funding for Indigenous kids.

It’s time to work together to implement decades of case reviews, reports and public inquires.

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.