Speaking Notes for The Honourable Jim Prentice Announcing A Family Services Partnership with Nova Scotia First Nations and the Government of Nova Scotia
SPEAKING NOTES for
The Honourable Jim Prentice, PC, QC, MP Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non Status Indians
A Family Services Partnership with Nova Scotia First Nations and the Government of Nova Scotia
Sydney, Nova Scotia
June 27, 2007
Check against delivery
It’s a real pleasure to be here today — with our partners in Nova Scotia — to take an important step towards developing a new approach to child welfare that will bring improved services for children in First Nation communities.
I’m pleased to be joined by Michael Baker, Nova Scotia Minister of Finance and Aboriginal Affairs; Judy Streatch, Nova Scotia Minister of Community Services, and Chief Lawrence Paul, President of Mi’kmaw Family and Children’s Services of Nova Scotia.Services for children — especially those relating to families in crisis — are among the most important responsibilities we share — as governments, as communities, as citizens.
So, I’m pleased to announce today that Canada’s New Government is beginning discussions with the Province of Nova Scotia and First Nations of Nova Scotia to improve child and family services.
We will explore ways to implement a prevention-focused approach similar to the “The Alberta Model.”
Several years ago, First Nations and government child welfare agencies in Alberta came together. They wanted to find innovative ways for improving services for children who come into contact with the child welfare system. The starting point for all their actions was to focus on long-term stability for the child.
They developed new methods for intervening early with families before they reach a crisis, so kids don’t have to be removed from their home.
They involved families in choosing options for care.
And they got results. In Alberta, this model has decreased caseloads by 22 per cent. That means valuable child welfare resources are used more effectively. But even more important, it means healthier and better outcomes for children.
Here in Nova Scotia, people are just as committed to providing high-quality services, just as willing to innovate and just as eager to achieve better results. Mi’kmaw Family and Children’s Services of Nova Scotia has a strong network of caring and committed counselors and caregivers. They provide services that reflect the values, and lifestyle of First Nation families.
The lessons learned in Alberta can help us work together — Nova Scotia First Nations, the Province of Nova Scotia and the federal government — to tailor this successful model to the circumstances in this province.
I know we can be successful. We share a common goal. Because we all recognize that to build stronger, healthier First Nations, we need everyone at their best.
In closing, I would like to thank First Nations in Nova Scotia and the Province of Nova Scotia for working with our government to provide the best possible services to children. We look forward to working with you and delivering results for children, families and First Nations in Nova Scotia.