'Bring them back': First Nations Chiefs seek provincial action on child welfare
EDMONTON -- Chiefs of several Alberta First Nations walked out of a meeting with Premier Jason Kenney and other government leaders on Wednesday in protest of the province's child welfare system.
The chiefs were seeking action on federal Bill C-92, a law designed to stop the over-representation of Indigenous children in foster care -- a situation that has become so dire in Canada it has been described as a humanitarian crisis.
"So we could start the process of engaging with our kids that are in the system and bring them back," said Chief Allan Adam of the Fort Chipewyan First Nation.
The bill was passed in June and took effect on Jan. 1, 2020. Quebec has challenged the law in court, claiming it is a federal intrusion into provincial jurisdiction.
Despite the walkout, Children's Services Minister Rebecca Schulz called the meeting productive.
"I will stay focused on the safety of vulnerable kids and supporting their families while three levels of government come together on this path forward," she wrote in a statement to CTV News.
Currently, Indigenous children account for 52.2 per cent of children in foster care in private homes, according to 2016 census data.
With files from Bill Fortier and the Canadian Press