One year after Truth and Reconciliation Commission, still no plan for Aboriginal children

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(Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press)

(Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press)

VICTORIA— The Christy Clark government still has no plan to reduce the number of Aboriginal children in care in B.C. a year after the Truth and Reconciliation Commission called on all provincial governments to take action.

“The Commission’s report was released one year ago, on June 2, yet despite the call for action we still have a situation where 60 per cent of children in care in B.C. are Aboriginal, and no plan from the Christy Clark government to stop taking these children from their families and their communities,” said New Democrat children and families spokesperson Doug Donaldson.

“The number one call to action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission was for provincial governments to reduce the number of Aboriginal children in care. Yet, a year later, the Christy Clark government has still not addressed this over representation in our foster care system.”

The 2016 service plan for the Ministry of Children and Family Development calls for the number of Aboriginal children in care to be reduced from 55.2 per 1000 this year to 54.9 per 1000 next year. In real terms, even if this target is met, this means just 24 Aboriginal children will get to stay with their families – leaving more than 4390 in government care.

A Freedom of Information request asking for evidence and policy advice used to set this pathetic target came back with “no records.”

“It’s clear that the Christy Clark government has no plans, no goals, and no interest in reducing the number of Aboriginal children in care. Even their pathetic targets are plucked out of thin air, created without consultation and without evidence,” said Donaldson.

“It’s not just that we are taking these children from their families – which is bad enough – but once we do, we’re not giving them the kind of care we would demand for our own children.

“The Christy Clark government is keeping children in hotels, or shuttling them between placements until they end up on the streets. Once these children turn 19 they are cast out, without connections to their families and their communities, and without continuing ministry support.

“It’s a shameful record of neglect and incompetence, and it shows that the Christy Clark government is all talk and no action when it comes to reconciliation with First Nations in this province.”