As we know one of the most important issues for BC Métis Federation leaders and members is to ensure that our community/organization has direct involvement and decision making with any of our affected Métis members and their families.
This week the BC Métis Federation was sent an important update by the Deputy Minister for Children and Families Allison Bond. The Province is creating new legislation and this will ensure Indigenous communities, including the BC Métis Federation, are involved with more legislative strength.
This issue cuts deep for the BC Métis Federation and we look forward to the passing of Bill 26 and further discussions with the Province of BC’s Ministry of Children and Family Development to better understand what this will mean going forward for the BC Métis Federation.
The following is the text of this important letter:
BC Métis Federation
Dear President Henry:
I am pleased to provide an update on the progress we have made since the amendments to the Child, Family and Community Service Act (CFCSA) were introduced in the legislature as Bill 26 and passed on May 31, 2018. These changes are intended to improve Indigenous child welfare and give Indigenous communities greater involvement in child welfare decisions.
Our focus over the past several months has been on developing new policy and practice approaches needed to implement the amendments under Bill 26, developing information sharing protocols and training and orientation for staff located throughout British Columbia, and to continue our consultation with Indigenous leadership, communities, and child welfare service providers.
In addition to the consultations that took place while Bill 26 was under development, additional engagement has been underway since it passed in May including: representatives from the First Nations Leadership Council, the leadership team from Delegated Aboriginal Agencies, the Office of the Wet’suwet’en, Lake Babine technical group, Northern Secwepemc te Qelmucw (NStQ) technical group, nations in the South Island Wellness Society, Ktunaxa Kinbasket nations, the Sts’ailes, the Splatsin, the Okanagan Nation Alliance and an upcoming meeting with the Cowichan Tribes.
The bottom line is we want you to see a practical and positive change in how these amendments expand your role in decision making for your children going forward. My expectation is you will see the full suite of amendments under Bill 26 in force by spring 2019.
In the meantime, I am pleased to tell you we have been able to target a specific set of the amendments under Bill 26 and bring them into force early. These changes allow the director under the CFCSA to withdraw from a child protection court proceeding when there is an approved agreement in place between the parent and an Indigenous community that will keep a child safe. We are notifying you as these new withdrawal provisions are now in effect and can be used immediately.
If you have any questions about the withdrawal provisions under the CFCSA or any of the amendments under Bill 26 and what it might mean for your community, please contact James Wale, Director, Child Welfare Policy, Ministry of Children and Family Development, at: James.Wale@gov.bc.ca.
Original letter will follow by mail.
ORIGINAL SIGNED BY
pc: James Wale