Flawed Child Act Fails First Nations
For Immediate Release
April 11, 2008
The Council of Yukon First Nations is deeply distressed the Yukon Government is refusing to take the time and make the effort to work with Yukon First Nations to get the Child and Family Services Act right.
“The government’s actions are unacceptable and inexplicable,” says Grand Chief Andy Carvill. “We have identified substantive concerns. This is contrary to any sort of collaboration with respect to this important matter.”The CYFN believes Bill 50 misses the opportunity to substantively reform the territorial child welfare system so that it supports families and children in crisis. If passed as written, it will only continue to perpetuate the current system that is confrontational and fragments families rather than supports families in crisis.
“We need a reformed system to establish accountability measures with respect to the decisions and actions of the director of family and children’s services and social workers,” adds Carvill. “We need to ensure that Yukon First Nations and their citizens are involved in key decisions that affect our children or share responsibilities with the territorial officials. We need to establish alternatives to the court process since its adversarial nature often serves to push aside the best interests of the child. This bill does none of those things.”
Furthermore, the CYFN finds the government’s refusal to allow Yukon First Nations to appear as witnesses and speak directly to MLAs when the bill is debated on the floor of the legislature very frustrating and counterproductive to having any constructive relationship based on trust and respect.
“They are talking about our children here, as 80 per cent of the children in care are First Nations, but have been denied our right to participate,” says Carvill. “We need to contribute to this debate. So we call on Premier Dennis Fentie to not pass this bill until the substantive concerns of Yukon First Nations, and others, are addressed and this bill is revised accordingly.”
For more information:
Director of Health & Social
(867) 393-9230, lori.duncan @ cyfn.net (no spaces)
(867) 393-9202, peter.lesniak @ cyfn.net (no spaces)