NDP calls for comprehensive child welfare reform

The Sask. Party government has failed to make significant progress to address the Saskatchewan Child Advocate’s concerns regarding Indigenous children in the province’s care. Today, the NDP is calling on the government to follow through and stop ignoring the growing issue.

“Over the last several years, the Sask. Party has dropped the ball on addressing the needs of Indigenous children,” said NDP Deputy Leader Carla Beck. “Instead of making the changes that are needed to protect vulnerable children in care, they have failed to deliver on the comprehensive reform they promised back in 2010. Despite record revenues over the last decade, the Sask. Party has consistently made life harder for people living in poverty.”

From 2013 to 2017 the total number of children in care increased from 4492 to 5212. During that same period of time, the percentage of Indigenous children among children in care increased from 67 per cent to 72 per cent. The percentage of children who were Indigenous among those who died in care increased from 62 per cent to 79 per cent.

The NDP is calling on the government to:

  • Establish a Provincial Advocate for Indigenous Children;
  • Conduct a comprehensive review of child welfare legislation, similar to reviews that have been announced or undertaken in B.C., Alberta, Ontario, Manitoba and New Brunswick;
  • Create more supports for vulnerable families and prevention programs to help children stay in their homes and communities.

“We can’t afford to sit back and watch as the next generation suffers,” said NDP Critic for First Nations and Métis Relations Buckley Belanger. “The number of First Nations and Métis children in care continues to grow and is not sustainable. These numbers are going in the wrong direction and now is the time to engage with First Nations and Métis communities to bring the change that is needed.”