Kamloops Métis agency receives full control over child welfare

Kamloops Métis agency receives full control over child welfare

Kamloops This Week

The provincial government has transferred child-protection authority for Métis children in the Kamloops area to Lii Michif Otipemisiwak Family and Community Services.

The decision came in a press release send out Saturday.

“We are committed to keeping children out of government care and returning them to their families, their communities and their culture,” said Minister of Children and Family Development Katrine Conroy in a statement.

“Transferring authority for Métis children and family services to the Lii Michif Otipemisiwak is a great way to mark Métis Day and one of the ways we can act on our commitment to true and meaningful reconciliation. Indigenous and Métis communities know best how to take care of their children.”

Delegation is the method through which the ministry transfers all or parts of its legislated authority under the Child, Family and Community Service Act (CFCSA) to an Indigenous child- and family-serving agency, which then delivers services directly to children in government care.

“Reclaiming this responsibility has remained our priority, as it is through healing our families that we will strengthen our communities and Nation,” said Colleen Lucier, executive director of Lii Michif Otipemisiwak Family and Community Services (LMO).

There are three levels of delegation, increasing in authority from voluntary services to full child-protection services, which includes investigation of child-protection concerns. The LMO has achieved the highest level of delegation, which allows it to deliver all the services that the ministry would offer under the CFCSA — from family supports to developing foster homes to providing services for children moving out of care to child-protection investigations and enforcement.

As part of the delegation process, the LMO will receive $2.7 million from the ministry, money to be used for staffing, program delivery and operational costs. The LMO will take over responsibility for 50 Métis children who are currently in government care in the Kamloops area.

Lii Michif Otipemisiwak Family and Community Services is one of 24 delegated Aboriginal agencies in B.C., representing approximately 116 First Nations bands and urban Aboriginal and Métis communities.. As of Oct. 31, there are 4,310 Indigenous children in care, of which 581 are Métis.