Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations and Advocate for Children and Youth September 18, 2012

by mmnationtalk on September 19, 20122071 Views

 

MEDIA RELEASE

For Immediate Distribution:

September 18, 2012

Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations and Advocate for Children and Youth
Sign Letter of Understanding

Traditional territory of Treaty No.6 (Saskatoon, Saskatchewan) –A Letter of Understanding (LOU) was signed today between the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations and the Saskatchewan Advocate for Children and Youth. This new partnership signifies a foundation that will build on mutual respect and trust to address issues specific to First Nations children and youth receiving child welfare, health, education and justice services within Saskatchewan.

“The Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations recognizes and supports the role and mandate of the Saskatchewan Advocate for Children and Youth,” said Vice Chief Dutch Lerat. “As the majority of the office’s clientele are First Nations children and youth, it is critical to ensure First Nations have meaningful input into the priorities of the office as it relates to systemic advocacy and investigations.”

Through the Letter of Understanding (LOU), both the FSIN and the Advocate are solidifying their shared goals to keep young people safe and to promote the rights and entitlements of First Nations children and youth, on and off-reserve. 

“On a daily basis, we see the challenges and struggles in life of First Nations children and youth whether they are in family care or in the care of the province or First Nations Child and Family Services Agencies,” said Bob Pringle, Advocate for Children and Youth. “Our goal in signing this letter of understanding is to continue to build relationships that will help us understand First Nations perspectives and issues.”

Both FSIN and the Advocate for Children and Youth carry unique mandates to serve the First Nations children and youth of Saskatchewan and ensure that they are nurtured and protected. FSIN has recently undertaken the development of a sound and culturally responsive First Nations Child Welfare Framework and Child and Youth Agenda, which respects traditional, social, economic and environmental infrastructures for the well-being and benefit of all First Nations children and families in Saskatchewan.

As the former Chair of the 2010 Child Welfare Review and now Advocate for Children and Youth, Pringle has recommended fundamental change to the child welfare system in Saskatchewan with the creation of an easily accessible preventive family support stream for all families who need it, and a much smaller formal child welfare stream for families where the authority of the courts is required. An integral part of that transformation is the planned and deliberate transition to First Nations and Métis control of the system, and acknowledgement at all levels of government that poverty-related conditions drive child neglect and other social problems.

“These solid steps we are taking today will assist us in mitigating the socio-economic drivers leading to families coming into contact with child welfare system,” said Vice Chief Lerat. “FSIN shares the Advocate’s belief in a child welfare system that focuses on prevention as its first priority and to keep children with their families and communities of origin whenever possible.  We want to create opportunities for our First Nations children today so they can become our leaders of tomorrow.”

The Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations represents 74 First Nations in Saskatchewan. The Federation is committed to honouring the spirit and intent of Treaty, as well as the promotion, protection and implementation of the Treaty promises that were made more than a century ago.

The Advocate for Children and Youth is an independent officer of the Legislative Assembly of Saskatchewan. The Advocate’s vision is that the rights, interests and well-being of children and youth are respected and valued in our communities and in government legislation, policy programs and practice.

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For more information, please contact:

Mervin Brass, FSIN Communications                        Laura Beard, Advocate Communications     

Direct:             306.956-1026                                  Mobile:           306.227-6955

Mobile:            306.220-7187                                  Email:              lbeard@saskadvocate.ca

Blackberry:     mervin.brass@fsin.com                     www.saskadvocate.ca

www.fsin.com

 

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