Working with Indigenous communities and partners to improve the well-being of children, and keeping families together remains one of the federal government’s most important priorities.
Today, the Honourable Jane Philpott, Minister of Indigenous Services, announced $4.2 million in funding to support the Huu-ay-aht First Nations Social Services Project on child and family services. The Province of British Columbia is also providing financial and other support to this initiative.
“The federal government is proud to support Huu-ay-aht First Nations in their work to bring home Huu-ay-aht children in care,” said Minister of Indigenous Services Jane Philpott. “It is so important for children to be supported by their community and grow up in their own cultural environment.”
Federal funding will go towards community initiatives such as expanding current pregnancy support and parenting education programs, hiring family and protection support workers, and developing opportunities for youth engagement and cultural awareness.
Today’s announcement is in support of Huu-ay-aht First Nations’ Social Services Project and the 30 recommendations contained in their report titled “Safe, Healthy, and Connected – Bringing Huu-ay-aht Children Home.”
Four months ago, Huu-ay-aht First Nations declared the treatment of Huu-ay-aht children a public health emergency. Since the declaration, Huu-ay-aht Executive Council and staff have been working diligently to gain support from both the provincial and federal governments. Huu-ay-aht First Nations has committed more than $650,000 towards implementing recommendations specified in the report.
“We thank the Federal Government for its major financial contribution to our Nation. Canada is putting action to its words. These funds will go a long way towards bringing our children home and fully implementing the recommendations from Huu-ay-aht’s social services report,” Chief Councillor Robert J. Dennis Sr. said. “We look forward to continuing to work with Canada and British Columbia to bring an end to the public health emergency that Huu-ay-aht declared in March due to the removal of more than 40 children, or roughly 20 per cent of Huu-ay-aht children from their families.”
Indigenous Services Canada is providing $839,800 per year for five years to Huu-ay-aht First Nations for community initiatives such as expanding current pregnancy support and parenting education programs, hiring family and protection support workers, and developing opportunities for youth engagement and cultural awareness.
The Province of BC is providing $400,000 towards the implementation of the Social Panel report and is working with Huu-ay-aht First Nations to explore ongoing funding to support the Nation’s efforts to keep their children out of government care and safe in their homes and communities.
“British Columbia is committed to working alongside Huu-ay-aht First Nations to ensure Huu-ay-aht’s families have the supports they need to keep their children safe and healthy, and connected to their community and culture,” explained Scott Fraser, British Columbia Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation. “ With our federal and Indigenous partners, we are working to improve outcomes for all Indigenous people so families stay together and stronger communities are created, now and into the future.”
On July 31, 2018 there were 38 children connected to the Huu-ay-aht First Nations in government care.
The Government of Canada’s funding aligns with the provisions in Budget 2018, which provides $1.4 billion over six years to address funding pressures facing First Nations child and family service agencies, while also increasing prevention resources for communities so that children are safe and families can stay together. This includes supporting the government’s commitment to continue to fully implement the orders of the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal and Jordan’s Principle.
In addition, Minister Philpott held an engagement roundtable with the Nuu-chah-nulth community leaders, including Huu-ay-aht leadership and administration, to discuss co-created options for potential Indigenous child and family services federal legislation.