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Manitoba, Dec 3 (Canadian-Media): Increased funding for the First Nations child welfare would be the priority of the First Nations chiefs' meeting this week in Ottawa for the annual Assembly of First Nations (AFN) special chiefs assembly, media reports said.
Assembly of First Nations. Image credit: Facebook page
About $3.5 billion in funding over five years would be needed by the First Nations to cover all the legal complexities of taking over a child-welfare agency and co-ordinating with provincial agencies, said Kevin Hart, Manitoba's Assembly of First Nations (AFN) regional chief, to effectively take over responsibility for child welfare services under a new law that comes into force on Jan. 1.
Bill C-92, or An Act Respecting First Nations, Inuit and Métis Children, Youth and Families, passed earlier this year lacked statutory funding.
"That is something we find unacceptable and unfair when we are taking over the sovereignty and jurisdiction of our children, and it needs to be properly and adequately resourced," Hart said.
Federal government's decision to challenge the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal order for compensation to First Nations children Many chiefs caused great concern many chiefs.
"I am pretty disheartened, but I am hoping Canada gets it right sooner rather than later because our kids are falling through the cracks as we speak," said Saskatoon Tribal Council Chief Mark Arcand of the government's decision to fight the order.
One of the resolutions chiefs will be debating calls on the federal government to provide transitional funding for Bill C-92 to for implementation planning process of all stages and in all regions.
Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller's office sent a statement saying money under Bill C-92 would be tailored to what individual First Nations need.
"We cannot presume how partners will want to exercise their jurisdiction," said the statement.
"We will work with those partners to identify needs and ensure funding that supports their jurisdiction over child and family services."