B.C. First Nation secures federal funding for plan to keep children out of foster care
$4.2M over next 5 years will allow Huu-ay-aht to continue work it started last August
The Huu-ay-aht First Nation has secured federal funding to help keep their children out of foster care.
On Tuesday, Indigenous Services Minister Jane Philpott committed $4.2 million to the Huu-ay-aht's extensive plan to reduce child apprehensions and keep their children with their families.
The money will be spent over the next five years to implement 30 recommendations from a social services report completed last year.
The province is providing an additional $400,000.
Philpott praised the amount of work the Huu-ay-aht have already done on the project.
Speaking to Huu-ay-aht leaders gathered in Nanaimo, B.C., she said the First Nation will continue to steer the process.
"The federal government is not the one who would know how that can be successful — you know how it will be successful, you know what needs to be done," Philpott said.
The <a href="https://twitter.com/HuuayahtFN?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@HuuayahtFN</a> Social Services Project will improve the well-being of Indigenous children and foster community support so that they can grow up in their own cultural environment. <a href="https://t.co/X3wRh72wfN">https://t.co/X3wRh72wfN</a> <a href="https://t.co/BWQ4IBekaZ">pic.twitter.com/BWQ4IBekaZ</a>—@Min_IndServ
The money will provide dedicated positions for family support workers, protection support workers and expanded pregnancy and baby-welcoming programs.
It will also fund youth outreach, an elders council and anti-violence education.
A task force has been set up to oversee the work and examine other successful initiatives elsewhere in the province.
Chief Robert Dennis called it an "incredible achievement" to now have the federal government as a partner.
The Huu-ay-aht have pressured the federal and provincial governments for help and began funding the plan themselves last August.
In March, the Huu-ay-aht declared a public health emergency over the number of their children in foster care. At the time over 20 per cent of Huu-ay-aht children were in care, most in non-Indigenous homes.
Canada announces $4.2 million over five year and BC pledges $400,000 this year to fund the Social Services Project. For more info: <a href="https://t.co/ryL1FClFv0">https://t.co/ryL1FClFv0</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/huuayahtstrong?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#huuayahtstrong</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/huuayahtfn?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#huuayahtfn</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/Garacaius?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Garacaius</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/robertdennishfn?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@robertdennishfn</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/Min_IndServ?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Min_IndServ</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/scottfraserndp?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@scottfraserndp</a>—@HuuayahtFN
Dennis stressed the importance of connecting Huu-ay-aht children with their traditional culture.
"You know, living by the values and principles of our ancestors. Because it worked for them for thousands of years."
Huu-ay-aht Culture and Wellness Program Administrator Edward Johnson says this plan will help the nation move forward with larger, strategic goals.
"I think it's going to help us in the long run so that our future generations, they don't have any children in care. That we have them home and healthy and learning our culture."
Following the announcement, Philpott met with Nuu-chah-nulth leaders to gather input for potential federal legislation concerning Indigenous child and family services.