More than half the children in Canada’s failed foster care system are Indigenous, but data shows that they only make up about 8% of the population. The children and their families have been hurt in ways that money can never buy and time that can never be given back, but a compensation deal is set to be announced Tuesday and it could be a start to a better future for all children.
Chief Archibald said, “Compensation is a legal recognition that you have been harmed and that you deserve to be compensated from that harm. If we can get to a settlement, this will signal we are on the right path”.
Andrew MacKendrick, the director of communications for the minister of Indigenous services said, “All parties have been working closely toward a global resolution regarding compensation and long term reform of First Nations child and family services and we look forward to providing a more fulsome update on Tuesday.”
Canada’s foster care system works much the same as the United States foster care system. They only get paid when the children are removed. The Family First Preventative Services Act that passed in the United States in 2018 was intended to require the states to offer services to biological family members first and only remove children when it was absolutely necessary. Services were to be offered so that fewer children would be put in the horrid foster care system. That came after FBI reports consistently showed that children were literally “being pimped out of group homes”.
Unfortunately, the crafty writing policy makers for the Department of Health and Human Services were able to find loopholes and children are still literally being sex-trafficked through the foster care system. The Canadian government is just as bad and has spent countless millions fighting this legal battle against the First Nations that began in 2007 after the First Nations Children and Family Caring Society and the Assembly of First Nations filed a human rights complaint claiming that the system was once again discriminating against them and that services offered to other children were not being provided to Indigenous people.
Thinking about that, it is hard to say which foster care system is worse. It is pretty bad around the world but the United States recently had a judge say the Indian Child Welfare Act is racially discriminatory against white people. SMH! Like white people haven’t been colonizing American Indians since they arrived in America!
In 2019, the tribunal ordered the Canadian government to pay $40,000 in compensation to every child who was needlessly removed from their families since Jan. 1, 2006, and to the parents and grandparents whose children were stolen. They appealed and hired Senator Murray Sinclair, who chaired the Truth and Reconciliation Commission to facilitate negotiations.
And then, just recently Ottawa set aside $40 billion, and it is thought that about half of that will go towards reforming the child welfare system under Bill C-92 that passed in June of 2019, and only about $2 billion towards compensating the children and family members that were devastated by the evil system. Tuesday, the Assembly of First Nations Manitoba Regional Chief Cindy Woodhouse will be joined with Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Marc Miller, Indigenous Services Minister Patty Hajdu, and Cindy Blackstock, the executive director from the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society to make an announcement that will explain how the funds are being laid out.
No amount of money will ever be able to pay for the damage that child welfare systems have done to First Nation’s peoples, but this agreement can pave the way to a better future for not only Indigenous children, but all children around the world.
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