The federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations (FSIN) wrapped up its assembly Thursday on child welfare and declared that the child welfare system in the province needs to change and it needs to have more control over it.
“Because we need grassroots, grassroots support as well, ask your band members, how we can be better and stronger,” said FSIN Chief Bobby Cameron. “How can we not lose our little ones no more.”
The FSIN says it is looking to form an independent committee that wll address and take care of Indigenous youth in care with the goal of eventually taking over the system entirely.
Tim Korol, a child advocate and former deputy minister of social services in Saskatchewan, said that’s a move in the right direction.
“There has become such a culture of non-compliance with the provincial ministry,” he said. “The only way is to turn child welfare back over to the first nations and metis people. They need to have paramountcy and the decisions with respect to their children.”
Korol says the system is fatal for children and he’s frustrated with the amount of Indigenous children dying while in care of the government.
“The system is not working, we have 30 to 40 years of reports, audits that show that social services in Saskatchewan is not able to do the job,” says Korol. “We have 15 to 20 kids dying in care every year, we have our jails loaded with children from the child welfare system and we have this cycle, the children’s children end up in child welfare.”
The FSIN’s timing couldn’t have been better
On Friday, Indigenous Services Minster Jane Philpott is expected to announce that the government is moving on new legislation to turn control of child welfare over to First Nation, Metis and Inuit communities.