National aboriginal child welfare strategy needed says former B.C. judge
Ted Hughes helped engineer major child welfare reforms but says country needs national strategy
A former judge who helped engineer major child welfare reforms in B.C. and Manitoba says too many First Nations are living within Canada's child-welfare system.
Ted Hughes is calling on Canada's premiers and three territorial leaders to address the need for a national aboriginal child-welfare strategy at the August meeting of the Council of the Federation in Charlottetown, P.E.I.
In a written copy of his speech that was to be presented at a conference for staff in the office for the B.C. Representative for Children and Youth, Hughes says there is a dramatic over representation of aboriginal children in care in Canada and the problem needs a national focus.
Hughes conducted a public inquiry into the death of Phoenix Sinclair, who died under horrible circumstances in 2006 at the hands of her mother and her mother's boyfriend in Manitoba.
His report concluded that the province's child-welfare system did not protect the five-year-old aboriginal child from her parents who were both convicted of first-degree murder. The report prompted a major overhaul of child-welfare in Manitoba.
In 2006, Hughes delivered a report on B.C.'s stretched system that prompted the Liberal government to create an independent body to oversee and monitor children's issues, currently held by former Saskatchewan judge Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond.