The federal government says they it will begin direct dialogue with Metis leaders on the over-representation of Metis children in child welfare systems.

The announcement came today in Winnipeg at a summit on child and family services hosted by the Metis National Council.

Minister of Indigenous Services Jane Philpott announced $1 million in funding for the MNC to support consultation efforts toward child welfare reform.

MNC President Clem Chartier says he is encouraged by the minister’s comments and looks forward to the opportunity to engage in meaningful conversations.

“We commend the Government of Canada and specifically Minister Jane Philpott for her leadership and commitment to the children, youth and families of the Métis Nation,” said Chartier in a release. “The opportunity to engage in meaningful child welfare consultations is a first and important step in building a better, safer future for our citizens.”

These conversations will be undertaken under the Metis Nation Accord which outlines a process to tackle shared priorities.

In addition to addressing child welfare systems, Minister Philpott announced funding for the expansion of an Indigenous youth program at the Ndinawe Youth Resource Centre in Winnipeg.

The expansion of the program is said to be in dedication to the memory of Tina Fontaine and in support of her family.

A total of nearly $350,000 will be made available to the program.

“I am proud that our government can support this Indigenous-led program,” said Philpott in a  release. “This initiative undertaken by Ndinawe and their partners recognizes that youth are most vulnerable when they have no safe place to turn for help.”

The Child and Family Services Conference in Winnipeg will continue into tomorrow.

(PHOTO: Indigenous Services Minister Jane Philpott.  Photo courtesy