Minister of Children and Family Development Katrine Conroy has issued the following statement in response to the Representative for Children and Youth’s adoption update:
“I want to thank the representative for the thoughtful observations contained in this report. I agree that every child and youth in our care deserves a permanent, loving home. My mandate letter calls on me to work to ensure all children grow up in safe and nurturing environments, and it’s this ministry’s role to ensure they have that crucial opportunity.
“The challenge now is that, having arranged successful adoptive placements for so many children and youth since the representative’s initial report, a significant number of those still waiting for a permanent home have complex placement needs. We also know from previous years that many placements get finalized in the spring, and we’re pushing hard to match the kids in our care with placements in families and homes that meet their best interests – whether that’s through adoption, transfer of custody to a family member or other person known to the child, or other forms of permanent loving relationships.
“I’ve spoken with our provincial director of child welfare about this and we agree that pursuing adoption, and other forms of permanency, is a key commitment for this ministry. We need to connect young people with the care and support that a loving family can provide.
“I am also committed to working with Indigenous families and communities to better understand their needs and to respect traditional practices. For many First Nations and Métis people, adoption represents a damaging colonial process.
“True and lasting reconciliation is of the utmost importance to this government. We are working to fully adopt the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, to address the recommendations set out by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and to implement Grand Chief Ed John’s recommendations on improving Indigenous child welfare in B.C.
“We must be sensitive in this regard and ensure we are exploring every opportunity to keep Indigenous children connected to their families, culture and communities. That’s why we’re working to better support families and bring fewer children into care in the first place. It’s also why we’re committed to exploring traditional practices like custom adoption.”