Auditor General Slams INAC’s Child Welfare Funding
Tuesday, May 06, 2008 at 21:41
Canada’s Auditor General says Indian Affairs does not take sufficient account of federal policy requirements in its funding of First Nations agencies to operate child welfare services.
Sheila Fraser makes the comments in her report tabled today in the House of Commons.
Fraser says government policy requires that services to First Nations children on reserves meet provincial standards, be reasonably comparable with services to children off reserves, and be culturally appropriate.
Her report notes that the funding formula to cover the operating costs of First Nations agencies was developed in 1988, and has not changed significantly since then to reflect variations in provincial legislation and the way child welfare services have evolved.
She says Alberta is the only exception.
Fraser also says the formula assumes that all First Nations agencies have the same percentage of children in care and that these children all have similar needs.
According to Fraser: “In practice, the needs of children in care who are served by First Nations agencies vary widely. The outdated funding formula means that some children and families are not getting the services they need.”
Nationally, a little over five per cent of children living on reserves are in care.
Fraser’s report estimates that this is almost eight times the proportion of children in care residing off reserves.