Port Alberni's Huu-ay-aht First Nation hears 30 recommendations on improving child welfare
An independent panel has delivered recommendations to Huu-ay-aht First Nations in Port Alberni on how to improve its child protection and family welfare services.
They made 30 recommendations that build on the previous work of the B.C. Representative for Children and Youth, and Special Advisor Grand Chief Ed John, but with a focus on a 'made-in Huu-ay-aht' path forward.
Among them: Building front line supports for life, meaning no one will "age out" of care in the community; Creating "circles of protection" by ensuring decision making happens with and by children and families first, and is supported by extended families, and the Nation; Involving youth in planning and decision-making; Providing transitional supports like counselling, co-parenting, anti-violence education, safe houses and transitional housing; And renegotiating relationships to ensure all 3 levels of government work in partnership for the well-being of Huu-ay-aht children and families.
First Nations children in B.C. are more likely to be placed into the foster care system than are non-indigenous children due to the lingering legacy of treatment under colonialism, the residential school system, and the 60's Scoop.
The panel was appointed by the Huu-ay-aht Executive Council and 2 former elected First Nations chiefs ( Kim Baird, Tsawwassen First Nation, Order of Canada; Lydia Hwitsum, Cowichan Tribes, Chair of First Nations Health Authority Board of Directors) as well as a psychiatrist (Dr. Myles Blank, Psychiatrist working with indigenous children, adults and families) and a lawyer
(Maegen Giltrow, Legal counsel with experience in Huu-ay-aht laws and Treaty implementation).
As a self-governing treaty nation, the Huu-ay-aht government says it's well positioned to act upon the recommendations.