(Nanaimo, BC) Representative for Children and Youth issued a report entitled “Finding Forever Families: A Review of the Provincial Adoption System.” The report showed that, at any given time, more than 1000 British Columbia children and youth in care of the Ministry of Children and Family Development were waiting to be adopted.
The release of the report is a joint event between Representative Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond and Minister Stephanie Cadieux, the Representative committed to issuing periodic updates on the status of B.C’s waiting children, with a widened commitment to our First Nations and Métis Children, as Aboriginal children continue to be vastly over-represented in government care in B.C. The Representative spoke to improved resources and commitments together to support Aboriginal and Métis children.
The Provincial Minister for Children and Family Development Honourable Stephanie Cadieux spoke to “Kids deserve families who love them, for every child in the care of Ministry.” The Minister spoke passionately to the desired goals to address the concerns of children in care by further stating, “A government institution cannot replace the stability of a family. Stability leads to successful lives, careers, education and social for all people. Everyone needs a place to call home, a place to celebrate in calling home. I am not satisfied that we didn’t make it better faster or timelier for our kids, we need to do better. I expect we will improve our process in ministry, in working together to keep working for the children.”
Investments to planning for children in care, a large financial investment from Ministry was allotted this year to address the matters through Victoria Friendship Centre, Fraser Valley Aboriginal Society, and Adoptive Families Association of BC along with the priority to development of cultural plans for aboriginal children in care.
BC Métis Federation child and family portfolio holder Jeanie Cardinal attended on behalf of the organization. Recommendations from the working group she attended, the session group, spoke to a collective call to prioritize. The session group identified the importance of meaningful collaboration and relationships, necessity for accurate information, connecting children to community as a priority and with immediacy, strengthen cultural quality and ensure these rights of culture are legally binding in plans of care. There was also a strong sentiment within the group to have advocates within every nation that are well connected and knowledgeable care givers. These caregivers must be able to trust build and prioritize the necessary time to establish relationships with communities and families. Finally there must be a powerful stated expression towards these priorities including having the necessary finances to truly support culture and traditional ways with all Aboriginal communities and families.
BC Métis Federation portfolio holder Jeanie Cardinal stated, “In finalizing the session experience I left with an understanding that conversations and movements are headed in the right direction for our Aboriginal, including Métis children in care. The concerns which still remain for me as a Métis person and the BC Métis Federation children and Families portfolio holder is, who is addressing our Métis children and families specific interests in these initiatives? In attendance to the forum there was MNBC and BC Métis Federation, yet neither were designated or identified to be funded to address our Métis children in care of the Provincial Ministry of Children and Family Development. In the future the Provincial Ministry of Children and Family Development need to clarify these very important outstanding questions for our Métis people and those families in need.
For more information about the BC Métis Federation also be sure to view our website at www.bcmetis.com.
Media Inquiries:Keith Henry, President BC Métis Federation #300-3665 Kingsway
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