FSIN Communications Unit
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 20, 2010
December 20, 2010 (Saskatoon, SK) – The Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations (FSIN) welcomes the Saskatchewan Child Welfare Review Panel because it confirms what First Nations have been recommending for many years. The FSIN today urges the Provincial Government to act swiftly to implement the panel’s recommendations.
“The number one priority for First Nations leadership is and always has been the safety, wellbeing and future of our children. Over the last twenty years, First Nations have tabled report after report identifying the issues impacting our children and families and have presented recommendations similar to those identified in the Saskatchewan Child Welfare Review Panel Report,” says FSIN Vice Chief Dutch Lerat.
The issues regarding First Nations children in care have been outlined many times through the National Policy Review (2000), Wende “We are Coming to the Light of Day”(2005), “The Journey Continues” (2005), and the Saskatchewan Blueprint (2002). In addition, all of these reports offer recommendations that are reaffirmed in the Child Welfare Review Panel’s report.
“The challenges of poverty and systemic inadequacies can be crippling and if not prioritized, the demands for child welfare services will continue to increase beyond capacity. All changes must be made through a coordinated approach by the federal and provincial governments, with full participation by First Nations leadership at all levels.” Lerat said.
This report, and the many others that preceded it, outline a system that does not work for First Nations children, youth and communities.
First Nations require a true commitment of reciprocity, respect and sharing to occur between the Province of Saskatchewan Ministry of Social Services and the Saskatchewan First Nations Child and Family Services Agencies.
FSIN recognizes that the 2010 Saskatchewan Child Welfare Review Report reflects and includes much of the direction that First Nations set out in their presentations to the panel.
“First Nations leadership and communities have always maintained and exercised their jurisdiction and responsibility for the well-being of their children on reserve, long before the Province of Saskatchewan established their own child protection legislation, ” Vice Chief Lerat said.
The FSIN and First Nations communities are committed to moving forward, and understand that prevention needs to be at the forefront for change. The FSIN supports prevention as a proven means of strengthening the family unit, and if implemented within the provincial system, belief that it will help to create better outcomes for our children and youth.
The provincial foster care system does not have the same prevention framework as First Nations Child and Family Service Agencies on reserve, leaving the province with child apprehension as their primary tool for child protection.
The Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations represents 74 First Nations in Saskatchewan. The Federation is committed to honouring the spirit and intent of Treaty, as well as the promotion, protection and implementation of the Treaty promises that were made more than a century ago.
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