B.C.’s children’s rep says funding practices for Indigenous child welfare are flawed

VICTORIA — British Columbia’s representative for children and youth says the system of funding child welfare services for Indigenous kids is “deeply flawed” and there’s an urgent need to overhaul practices to make data accessible and transparent.

Jennifer Charlesworth says in a report released today that data from the Children’s Ministry makes it impossible to compare allocation of funds for First Nations, Metis, Inuit and urban Indigenous youth with non-Indigenous service providers.

Charlesworth says there’s no way to know how much money is being spent on child welfare for Indigenous children in order to assess if they and their families are being adequately supported.

She also says the Ministry of Children and Family Development can’t definitively provide information on how much of the federal funding it gets reaches First Nations.

Charlesworth says different levels of funding are allocated based on whether a young person lives on- or off-reserve and whether First Nations work with their own child and family services agencies.

She says the disparities amount to “fiscal discrimination” within a complex system from a provincial government that needs to take meaningful action toward reconciliation.

The Ministry of Children and Family Development did not immediately respond to a request of comment.

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