The B.C. government is taking another step towards reconciliation as the Ministry of Children and Family Development delegates child-protection authority for Métis families in the Kamloops area to Lii Michif Otipemisiwak Family and Community Services.
“We are committed to keeping children out of government care and returning them to their families, their communities and their culture. Transferring authority for Métis children and family services to the Lii Michif Otipemisiwak is a great way to mark Métis Day and one of the ways we can act on our commitment to true and meaningful reconciliation,” said Katrine Conroy, Minister of Children and Family Development. “Indigenous and Métis communities know best how to take care of their children. We’re working collaboratively and respectfully with Indigenous and Métis agencies and communities to ensure they have the right tools, funding and support to make a difference for the children and families they serve.”
Delegation is the method through which the ministry transfers all or parts of its legislated authority under the Child, Family and Community Service Act (CFCSA) to an Indigenous child- and family-serving agency, which then delivers services directly to children in government care.
“Reclaiming this responsibility has remained our priority, as it is through healing our families that we will strengthen our communities and Nation,” said Colleen Lucier, executive director of Lii Michif Otipemisiwak Family and Community Services (LMO). “We are honoured to be part of this positive change, and confident that with the teachings of our ancestors, and with the guidance and support of Elders and Métis leadership, we will improve outcomes for our Métis children, youth and families.”
There are three levels of delegation, increasing in authority from voluntary services to full child-protection services, which includes investigation of child-protection concerns. The LMO has achieved the highest level of delegation, which allows it to deliver all the services that the ministry would offer under the CFCSA – from family supports, to developing foster homes, to providing services for children moving out of care, to child-protection investigations and enforcement.
“Reconciliation requires fundamental changes to the Crown-Indigenous relationship,” said Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation Scott Fraser. “Providing supports to delegated agencies to care for Indigenous children and families is one concrete way toward changing that relationship.”
As part of the delegation process, the LMO will receive $2.7 million from the ministry towards staffing, program delivery and operational costs. The LMO will take over responsibility for 50 Métis children who are currently in government care in the area. This brings to 24 the total number of Delegated Aboriginal Agencies providing a range of services to Indigenous children and families in B.C.
- Lii Michif Otipemisiwak (Lee-Michif-Two-Pem-Shoe-Wok) Family and Community Services is one of 24 Delegated Aboriginal Agencies (DAAs) in B.C. – representing approximately 116 First Nations bands, as well as Urban Aboriginal and Métis communities – that currently serve approximately 43% of the Indigenous children in care in the province.
- As of Oct. 31, 2017, there are 4,310 Indigenous children in care, of which 581 are Métis. The DAAs currently serve 1,979 Indigenous children, of which 187 are Métis children in B.C.
- The ministry provides $101 million annually to support DAAs’ work in the communities.
- The process of delegation is comprehensive, and agencies seeking delegated authority must:
- have the support of their community to deliver services.
- deliver services that either match or exceed MCFD child-welfare standards.
- carry out delegated functions, and provide services that meet operational and practice standards.
- have trained staff and budget in place.
- work with the ministry to develop a transition plan for services.
- Of the 24 DAAs currently in the province:
- Fourteen have full child-protection delegation.
- Seven have guardianship delegation, allowing them to develop and monitor care plans, help find permanent homes, and provide transitional services to children leaving care.
- Three have resource and voluntary services delegation, allowing them to provide family supports, develop foster homes, and administer voluntary care agreements.
For more information about Delegated Aboriginal Agencies, their locations and their level of delegation, visit: www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/family-social-supports/data-monitoring-quality-assurance/reporting-monitoring/accountability/delegated-aboriginal-agencies