The BC government’s recently appointed senior advisor on Aboriginal child welfare updated the Union of BC Indian Chiefs Annual General Assembly Tuesday about his work so far.
Grand Chief Ed John says First Nations communities need to be empowered to keep their children out of government care.
John, who was appointed earlier this month, says that starts with the province sharing information with First Nations communities about the children in government care.
John says he recently spoke to a First Nations leader who was shocked to find out just how many of his community’s children were in the care of the provincial government or a delegated Aboriginal agency.
John says he’d like to see funding restored to programs that help keep children safe in their own communities rather than taking them into care.
Chief Margery McCrae of the Gitanmaax Band near Hazelton says her community has rejected the delegated Aboriginal child and family agency model and was blunt in her criticism of BC’s child welfare system.
McRae says, in just the last month, she has intervened in four adoptions of children from Gitanmaax in Prince George. She says if it wasn’t for the grandparents, the band wouldn’t have known about them.