Today, Health and Social Services Minister Tracy-Anne McPhee tabled Bill No. 11 in the Yukon Legislative Assembly. The Act to Amend the Child and Family Services Act (2022) would improve outcomes for children, youth and families who are involved with the child welfare system.
The proposed amendments are the culmination of significant work by the Child and Family Services Act Steering Committee, which includes representation from Yukon First Nations and is co-chaired by the Council of Yukon First Nations.
While carrying out its mandate, the Steering Committee focused on the over-representation of Yukon First Nations children in care and looked at ways to better support the safety and wellbeing of Yukon First Nations and Indigenous children and families.
The amendments embed the importance of collaboration throughout the Child and Family Services Act. They also support caregivers, including extended family members, and clarify preventative services offered to help children and families that have a protection concern.
Amendments to the Child and Family Services Act will carve a path forward to reduce the number of Indigenous children in care and lead to better outcomes for all children and families involved in the child welfare system. Tabling this Bill represents an important milestone on our path to reconciliation. This achievement would not be possible without the dedication and collaboration of the Steering Committee on this important legislation. Work with our Yukon First Nation partners and the Council of Yukon First Nations will continue as we continue to realize a new approach to child welfare.
– Minister of Health and Social Services Tracy-Anne McPhee
CYFN and Yukon First Nations are pleased to see the adoption of these amendments that will address the recommendations made by the Child and Family Services Act Advisory Committee. These legislative changes represent an important milestone in ultimately addressing the over-representation of Yukon First Nations children and youth in care.
– Council of Yukon First Nations Grand Chief Peter Johnston
- This Act addresses the recommendations from Embracing the Children of Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow, the 2019 final report by the Child and Family Services Advisory Committee and can be found here.
- The final report includes 149 recommendations, sixty-five of which require legislative amendments.
- The Child and Family Services Act Steering Committee was established in July 2020 and includes representatives from Kwanlin Dün First Nation, Carcross/Tagish First Nation, Little Salmon Carmacks First Nation, White River First Nation, First Nation of Na-Cho Nyak Dun, Ross River Dena Council, Liard First Nation, Champagne and Aishihik First Nations, Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation Government, Ta’an Kwäch’än Council, Teslin Tlingit Council and Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in.
- All 14 Yukon First Nations were invited to sit on the committee. The two First Nations not on the Committee are welcome to join at any time or can provide input via Council of Yukon First Nations. They also receive updates from the Steering Committee on the progress of this initiative.
- The Yukon provides child welfare services to all Yukoners, including First Nations children and youth, under the Child and Family Services Act (CFSA) which came into force in 2010.
- As of December 2021, there were 84 children and youth in the care of the Director of Family and Children’s Services.
- This number represents a decrease of about 40 per cent over the past four years.
- About 89 per cent of children and youth in care of the Director are Yukon First Nations or Indigenous.
Communications, Health and Social Services
Communications, Council of Yukon First Nations