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Aboriginal child welfare system needs reform says BCGEU report

The BC Government Employees Union is sounding the alarm bells about the Province’s Aboriginal Child Welfare System.

BCGEU President Stephanie Smith says the system is made up of a patchwork of different groups.

“There isn’t an overarching framework. That results in serious administrative complexity. There are historical and cultural factors, lack of funding and insufficient staffing levels.”

The BCGEU says more than half of the 8,100 children government care are Aboriginal. The reports also states roughly one in five Aboriginal children will require at least some level of care from B.C.’s child welfare system during their lifetime.

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Smith says many frontline workers are too short-staffed to deal with the unique cultural complexities of first nations children.

“Workers in the sector are often dealing with not just individual children, but the extended family and in some cases the entire community.”

She added the cases with a child on reserve adds a whole other layer of bureaucracy as the federal government then has some jurisdiction.

The report makes 7 recommendations, one of which is a discussion which brings all the working agencies to one table to improve communication and working relationships.

The full report can be read here.

(Files from MY PRINCE GEORGE NOW)

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