Statement: Indigenous Child Welfare Agreement

January 6, 2022

The Edmonton Social Planning Council applauds the announcement of the $40 billion agreement-in-principle between the federal government and First Nations leaders to compensate young people harmed by Canada’s discriminatory child welfare system.

Canada’s colonial legacy towards Indigenous peoples has harmed generations of Indigenous children and robust efforts to address these wrongs and reform these systems are urgently needed. Governments need to fully implement Jordan’s Principle so that every First Nations child can equitably access all the supports they need. This pending agreement could not come soon enough.

Child poverty is a particularly pressing problem among Indigenous populations. As noted in our Alberta Child Poverty report, While First Nations make up 6% of Alberta’s population, child poverty rates are at 47%, a staggering high. Within the child welfare system, Indigenous children are widely overrepresented. About 70% of the children in care are Indigenous.

We encourage all parties to finalize the agreement so the system can be overhauled as we work towards meaningful reconciliation.

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