GNWT looking for feedback on child and family services

(Photo retrieved from Pixabay)

Indigenous governments and organizations working with at-risk youth can now give feedback on changes to the Child and Family Services Act.

The territorial government says the changes are to be compatible with the federal government’s Act respecting First Nations, Inuit and Métis children, youth and families, which came into force in 2020.

The GNWT put together a paper with the proposed changes. The paper outlines nine discussion questions ranging from defining certain terms like “neglect”, to clarifying the powers of the director of the CFS system.

“It is, however, recognized that there continues to be many systemic issues within the Child and Family Services system that contribute to the inequities of services delivered to families and the overrepresentation of Indigenous children and youth in care,” reads the paper’s introduction.

The latest annual report on the territory’s CFS system shows there were fewer children in permanent care, but that 98 per cent of the children in the system are Indigenous.

The discussion paper mentions Indigenous governments creating their own laws around child welfare, including the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation’s Inuvialuit Qitunrariit Inuuniarnikkun Maligaksat (or Inuvialuit Family Way of Living Law).

“These laws will impact the services provided by the GNWT as they set standards of service provision that may exceed those established under the GNWT’s Child and Family Services Act and that are specific to the culture of each Indigenous group, community, or people to whom the law applies,” says the paper.

Those interested in giving feedback have until April 30.

They can email dhssacts_feedback@gov.nt.ca; or mail the address below:

  • ATTN: Comments on proposed amendments to the CFS Act
    Policy, Legislation and Communications
    Department of Health and Social Services
    Government of the Northwest Territories
    P.O. Box 1320
    Yellowknife, NT X1A 2L9

About the Author

Francis Tessier-Burns
Francis has been a general news reporter with CKLB since January 2019. Originally from rural Ontario, he first came to the NWT in 2016 as an intern with Up Here magazine and fell in love with the North. In his time with CKLB, he's had the immense pleasure and honour of learning about northern Indigenous cultures. Otherwise, you can find him hanging around the Legislative Assembly. If you have a story or want to chat, reach out to francis@cklbradio.com