OCYA’s report shows change desperately needed in child intervention process

MLA David Swann and Alberta Liberal Leader David Khan are calling the government to act on the Office of the Child and Youth Advocate’s latest report into the tragic deaths of three young children of Indigenous heritage.

David Swann points specifically to the role and support for Delegated First Nations Agencies (DFNAs) as a key part of the issue. “A successful transition of a child from government care back to their families relies on the DFNA,” he says. “However, funding for these agencies is inadequate, particularly for band designates who act as the link between the band and Children’s Services. The lack of support for the DFNAs at both the provincial and federal levels is a recurring and longstanding issue. They simply do not have the resources or time to effectively collaborate with the individuals and organizations involved.”

“Once again this report highlights the serious changes that still need to be made to the child intervention system,” adds Khan, whose legal career specializes in Indigenous Law. “In addition to his recommendations from the three cases he investigated, the Advocate repeated a call from eight months ago to enhance policies and procedures around family unification. We need to start seeing real change in how this system is run.”

“The deaths of Sarah, Anthony, and Mikwan are unspeakably tragic and our thoughts and prayers go out to their families,” Khan concludes. “We can only hope that we can learn from the circumstances surrounding their deaths and improve our systems so it does not happen again.”


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Following a request in May from Liberal MLA Dr. David Swann, Saher’s office said it would include the $4.2 million grant in a review of how Alberta Health approves, pays, and records grants. In June, a spokesperson for the auditor general said no decision had yet been made on whether there will be a separate performance audit to determine if the funding itself was merited and provided value for the public money spent.

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