VANCOUVER _ British Columbia’s representative for children and youth says indigenous kids are being removed from their homes and placed in care because agencies supporting their families are underfunded.
Bernard Richard blames both the provincial and federal governments, saying current funding models mean aboriginal agencies are unlikely to provide the same level of help compared with their non-aboriginal counterparts.
Richard says in a report that the province’s confusing funding arrangements with agencies delegated to help aboriginal families mean inequitable services depending on where indigenous children live.
He says the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal’s finding last year of discriminatory funding for aboriginal child welfare has also not led to action by the federal government.
Richard’s report says aboriginal agencies are struggling to cover operational costs and can’t pay equal wages compared with those offered by the province to employees in the Children’s Ministry.
Children’s Minister Stephanie Cadieux released a statement saying Richard’s conclusions don’t reflect many of the recent improvements the province has made to help ensure better outcomes for indigenous children and families.
Richard’s report is based on interviews with 45 staff in the aboriginal agencies, including child-protection workers, and an international review of staffing issues involving indigenous child-welfare systems.