There’s no room for a wait-and-see attitude in child welfare, say chiefs of the Association of Iroquois and Allied Indians. But that’s the strategy government seems to be taking, they insist.
“The time to take charge of our child welfare situation is now, and we need to hold the government accountable to its talk of reconciliation,” said Grand Chief Joel Abram of AIAI. The focus should be changing to a prevention strategy, with no apprehension, Abram says. “And the funding models and levels need to change to reflect that.”
The comment was sparked after attending a three-day special chiefs’ assembly concerning child welfare held Oct. 23 to Oct. 25 in Ottawa, which featured speaker Cindy Blackstock, child advocate, who was blanketed at the event by the Chiefs of Ontario. Other speakers included Ontario regional chief Isadore Day, and federal Ministers Carolyn Bennett (Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs) and Jane Philpott (Indigenous Services).
“It is such an important time for us, as First Nations leaders, to move on this opportunity to work with both levels of government to make significant change to a child welfare system that has decimated our communities,” said Chief Randall Phillips, Oneida Nation of the Thames.
Cindy Blackstock of the Executive Director of the
First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada,
with Grand Chief Joel Abram. Photo from Twitter.