Saskatoon

Sask NDP, FSIN demand more action on Indigenous child welfare

The Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations and the Saskatchewan NDP say governments need to do more to help children in care.

Not enough being done on poverty reduction, addiction, mental health, they say

Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations vice-chief David Pratt says it's appalling that 86 per cent of Saskatchewan children in government care are Indigenous. (Zoom)

The Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations (FSIN) and the Saskatchewan NDP say governments need to do more to help Indigenous children in care.

FSIN vice-chief David Pratt and NDP leader Ryan Meili hosted a joint news conference Friday via video.

"Numbers show the failure of the current child welfare system," Pratt said.

"That system continues to break apart families."

Pratt and Meili said the provincial government needs a comprehensive strategy to reduce poverty, addictions and mental health problems. Meili said the children's advocate has published multiple reports, so the road map is already there.

"Right now those reports are basically put on a shelf and nothing is done with them. We're committed to working with the advocate to implement the changes. Why have an independent advocate if you're not actually going to listen to what they have to say?" Meili said.

Pratt said another part of the solution is for governments to give First Nations more control over child welfare. Pratt said First Nations have the expertise, but it it won't work unless the funding also shifts to their agencies.

"We're ready to get going. We just need the tools," Pratt said.

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