May 12, 2009
FREDERICTON (CNB) - An independent review of child welfare services in provincial First Nations communities will be conducted by Child and Youth Advocate Bernard Richard. Social Development Minister Mary Schryer made the announcement today.
Richard will review roles, responsibilities and reporting mechanisms within First Nations child welfare services, and issue recommendations aimed at renewing the delivery of services.
"Bernard Richard is a respected advocate for children and youth in our province, and is well placed to undertake an independent review of this nature," said Schryer. "This review will take place as First Nations, the federal and provincial governments continue to work collaboratively on the implementation of new prevention-based child welfare services."
Schryer made the announcement as she responded to recommendations of the Child Death Review Committee, which were released publicly on March 26. The committee reviewed the case of a child who was receiving services from a First Nations child and family service agency.
"Social Development has accepted each recommendation made by the Child Death Review Committee," said Schryer. "I would like to thank the committee members for continued efforts to improve the delivery of child welfare services, and for their thoughtful and holistic recommendations."
Among actions which will be undertaken as a result of the committee's recommendations are:
A copy of the full response to the recommendations may be viewed online.
The minister of Social Development designates child and family service agencies to deliver child welfare services within First Nations communities.
First Nations communities deliver child and family services based on provincial legislation and standards, and receive their funding from the federal government. There are 11 First Nations child and family service agencies in New Brunswick, serving 15 First Nations communities.
MEDIA CONTACT: Shannon Hagerman, communications, Social Development, 506-444-2416.