June 2, 2010
MONCTON (CNB) - Details of the 10 actions the provincial government will undertake in response to Hand-in-Hand: A Review of First Nations Child Welfare in New Brunswick were outlined today by Social Development Minister Kelly Lamrock.
The report, released in February by New Brunswick's Child and Youth Advocate Bernard Richard, contained 93 recommendations aimed at all levels of government. It was prepared in response to a May 2009 request from the minister of Social Development to review and make recommendations about the child welfare services provided in 15 First Nations communities in New Brunswick.
Lamrock said the report provided a clear picture of the state of child welfare services in First Nations communities and included 10 recommendations that the Department of Social Development can put into action unilaterally.
"We recognize that First Nations children benefit most from culturally sensitive services provided with their communities," he said. "The recommendations we are implementing will better support First Nations child welfare workers in their efforts to improve the lives of young people and their families."
Lamrock spoke at the First Nations National Child Welfare Conference in Moncton.
The recommendations being implemented include:
Lamrock said the department of was moving ahead with the changes while negotiations between provincial, federal and First Nations governments to reach a new, tripartite agreement for First Nations child welfare got underway.
"We support making significant changes to the First Nations child welfare system in New Brunswick if the result is a better, prevention-focused service that also addresses the underlying causes that contribute to poor child welfare outcomes," he said. "However, we believe these changes will only be successful if the process is embraced by First Nations."
An agreement on Jordan's Principle will be part of the tripartite talks. In April, the province named Robert Stanton to represent the province in the negotiations.
"Reaching a tripartite agreement on these issues will take time," said Lamrock. "While discussions are taking place, I am pleased that we will be moving forward to better support First Nations child welfare workers."
MEDIA CONTACT: Chris Connor, communications, Department of Social Development, 506-444-3730.