Child Welfare Law Initiative

• Comprised of thirty nine (39) First
• Represents approximately 56,000
Anishinaabe people
• Four regions: Northern-Superior;
Lake Huron; Southeast; and
Current sectoral negotiation tables include:
Education Agreement;
Governance Final Agreement;
Other areas of jurisdiction Anishinabek Nation
is creating laws in:
• Ngo Dwe Waangizid Anishinaabe, Child
Welfare Law, Citizenship Law, Matrimonial
Real Property Law
Future plans also include, but are not limited
to: Health, all Social Service programs, Lands
and Resources.
Visit: for more info.
 3X more First Nation’s children in care
than were in residential schools at the
height of their operation (FNCFCS)
 Since 1996, there has been a 65%
increase of First Nation children- in- care
 First Nation Child Welfare Laws protect
First Nation Children
 We are taking back our responsibility to
look after our own Anishinabe children!
 Anishinabek Nation/Union of Ontario Indians
met with Attorney General Chris Bentley to
discuss the Anishinabek Nation’s intentions to
move forward with the development of a AN
Child Welfare Law (March 2010)
 Anishinabek Nation met with Minister Laurel
Broten in July 2010 at AN headquarters and
reiterated our commitment to drafting the
Anishinabek Nation Child Welfare Law
 Anishinabek Nation met with MAA/MCYS
senior officials to discuss our law development
 8 Community consultations held in
2009 with Anishinabek Nation citizens
both on-reserve and off-reserve;
 A strategic planning session was held
April 2010 on the development and
implementation of the Anishinabek
Nation Child Welfare Law;
 June 2011, Draft Anishinabek Nation
Child Welfare Law presented to
Chiefs- in-Assembly
First Nation CW Service Providers
 Child welfare agencies with protection mandate:
Dilico Anishinabek Family Care
Payukotayno James & Hudson Bay Family Services
Anishinaabe Abinoojii Family Services
Tikinagan Child & Family Services
Weechi-it-te-win Family Services
Native Child and Family Services of Toronto
 MCA’s Akwesasne Child & Family Services (ACFS)
(effective Sept.6, 2011)
 Child welfare related agencies (similar to a Children’s Aid
Society without the authority to apprehend children):
 Six Nations of the Grand River Child & Family Services
 Kina Gbezhgomi Child & Family Services
 Kunuwanimano Child & Family Services
 Nog-Da-Win-Da-Min Family & Community
 Mnaasged Child & Family Services
 Dnaagdawenmag Binnoojiiyag Child & Family Services
What We Need
 A child welfare system that is
understanding and responsive to the
realities and needs of Anishinabek
children and families in accordance with
the First Nation’s customs and traditional
child rearing practices;
 For Anishinabek children and families to
have the same level of services no matter
where they reside and to have access to
culturally appropriate services preferably
delivered by qualified first nation’s staff;
What we need:
 Equal and comparable funding levels for First
Nations Child and Family Service Agencies as their
non-First Nation agency counterparts;
 Re-instatement of Band Representative funding
with adjustments based on actual costs currently
paid by some First Nations. The Band
Representative function must be resourced to
ensure First Nation’s equitable access to justice for
First Nation’s children and families;
Protecting the Spirit of the Child
The Anishinabek
Nation is moving
forward with Child
Welfare Law
Development to
provide culturally
relevant Child
Welfare Laws that
are consistent with
our Language,
Culture and
Anishinabek Nation Child Welfare Law
 Source of Authority:
 First Nation Inherent Jurisdiction
 Part X of the Ontario Child and Family
Services Act
Case Law
1997: Delgamuuk (SCC):
Since the purpose of s. 35(1) is to reconcile the
prior presence of aboriginal peoples in North
America with the assertion of Crown
sovereignty, it is clear from this statement that
s. 35(1) must recognize and affirm both aspects
of that prior presence – first, the occupation of
land, and second, the prior social organization
and distinctive cultures of aboriginal peoples
on that land.
Case Law:
1990: R. v. Siou (SCC)
Chief Justice Lamer stated that:
The British Crown recognized that the Indians had
certain ownership rights over their land, it sought
to establish trade with them which would rise
above the level of exploitation and give them a fair
return. It also allowed them autonomy in their
internal affairs, intervening in this area as little as
Case Law
1993: Casimel v. ICBC (BC)
The Court did not call customary adoption an
“inherent right” but did rule that: “There is
nothing in the Adoption Act or the Indian Act
which regulates or qualifies the right of
Aboriginal people to continue their custom
of adoption in accordance with the customs,
traditions and practices which form an
integral part of their culture.”.
Case Law
2000: Campbell v. British Columbia (BCSC)
This judgment held that there is
“constitutional space” in Canada for First
Nation inherent rights. However, the
Court once again chose to define
inherent rights through the perspective
of self-government, that is, something
less than sovereignty, and something
more than the constitutional rights
afforded to non-Aboriginal Canadians.
Children hold a special place in Aboriginal
cultures. According to tradition, they are gifts
from the spirit world and have to be treated
very gently lest they become disillusioned
with this world and return to a more congenial
place. They must be protected from harm
because there are spirits that would wish to
entice them back to that other realm. They
bring a purity of vision to the world that can
teach their elders. They carry within them the
gifts that manifest themselves, as they
become teachers, mothers, hunters,
councillors, artisans and visionaries. They
renew the strength of the family, clan and
village and make the elders young again with
their joyful presence.
The Special Place of
Anishinabek Traditional Teaching
Failure to care for these gifts bestowed on the
family, and to protect children from the
betrayal of others, is perhaps the greatest
shame that can befall an Aboriginal family. It
is a shame that countless Aboriginal families
have experienced some of them repeatedly,
over generations. RCAP, Vol. 3, p.23
*adapted from Weechi-it-te-win presentation at the
Kinoondida’gamig Conference
Mainstream Practice
Mainstream practice:
• safety of child is the
paramount test
• family preservation
takes a secondary role
• narrow focus within
context of the child and
the immediate family
*adapted from Weechi-it-te-win
presentation at the
Kinoondida’gamig Conference
Mainstream Practice
Mainstream Practice
Removes child from the layers
of the protection network of
family, community and cultural
*adapted from Weechi-it-te-win
presentation at the
Kinoondida’gamig Conference
Anishinabek Child Welfare Law
Anishinabek Child Welfare Law
Content of the Anishinabek Law:
 Rights of Children
 Rights of Families/Parents/Grandparents
 Voluntary access to services
 Child protection services
 Confidentiality and access to information and
 Licensing prevention and protection agencies
 Community Customary Care
 Band Representative function
What We Are Doing Now
 We implemented a communications strategy
to keep Anishinabek Nation citizens informed
using various multi-media and in-person
presentations (print, video, Facebook, You
Tube,, workshops,
community consultations, etc.)
 We are engaging communities to provide
additional input on the Draft AN Child Welfare
 We are working to establish a Child Welfare
Working Group to develop culturally
appropriate tools, policies and regulations
Some Next Steps
 Present the Draft Anishinabek Nation Child
Welfare Law to the Chiefs-in-Assembly for
agreement in principle via Grand Council
 Present the Draft AN Child Welfare Law to First
Nations for approval via Band Council
 Proceed with Implementation stage and
recognition of our parallel law or the imbedding
of our law in Part X of CFSA (initial indications
expressed by some First Nation Chiefs indicates
a directive to pursue a parallel law process)
So What Do We Do Next?
Revised January 23, 2012

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