A groundbreaking agreement has been signed between a number of Wet’suwet’en groups and the B.C. Ministry of Children and Family Development.
The agreement will see the Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs, the Moricetown, and the Hagwilget Band take over jurisdiction of child welfare services from the ministry.
Details are still being worked out, but the agreement will see children in care receive culturally appropriate programming.
Chief Namoks, also known as John Ridsdale, is a Wet’suwet’en hereditary chief.
He says as Wet’suwet’en people, they know best how to raise their children.
The agreement is on a nation level, and Ridsdale says there’ll be no financial impact on programs already in place at the band level, adding the agreement includes all Wet’suwet’en
Ridsdale says they’ve had programs in place for years, and this agreement formally recognizes them within the ministry framework.
The acting representative for Children and Youth recently released a scathing report on the ministry, criticizing the care of Alex Gervais, a teenager who was in ministry care when he took his own life.
Ridsdale says it’s clear there are issues within the ministry and praises the foresight of past Wet’suwet’en leaders in initiating this agreement.
The Wet’suwet’en Service and Jurisdiction Planning Agreement was signed yesterday in Smithers.