A Manitoba woman who has been struggling for more than a decade to gain legal care of her siblings in Child and Family Services is feeling encouraged by a Canadian Human Rights Tribunal ruling.
The tribunal ruled Tuesday that the federal government discriminates against First Nations children on reserves by failing to provide the same level of child welfare services that exist elsewhere.
- Canada discriminates against children on reserves, tribunal rules
- Manitoba child welfare agencies breaking law by ignoring relatives, watchdog says
- Human rights tribunal to rule whether Canada discriminated against First Nations children on reserves
"It was amazing," said the Manitoba woman, who legally can't be named to protect her siblings who are in care. "People in society, the government, are finally going to open their eyes to the reality of kids in child welfare and the racial discrimination that goes on."
She also grew up in care on a reserve and had to advocate for herself.
"Growing up like that, I was able to learn those skills to advocate for other people now today," she said.
The Manitoba woman's siblings have lived in care on and off a reserve and the biggest difference she has seen is access to resources, such as recreation, health and education.
She said she would like to see kids in care involved in case planning.
"They're the ones that know what they want, what they need," she said. "That would make them feel like they're a part of their own life instead of having someone else dictate their life."
Cindy Blackstock, executive director of the First Nations and Family Caring Society, along with the Assembly of First Nations, filed a complaint against Ottawa with the Canadian Human Rights Commission in February 2007.