The draft Yukon Child and Family Services Act is full of holes, say aboriginal chiefs and NGOs.
“The government did not enter into real negotiations with First Nations,” Kwanlin Dun Chief Mike Smith told a news conference on Friday.
“As usual, it’s their way or that’s it.”
Smith chose not to participate in the revision process.
“Because I didn’t think the act would meet our concerns,” he said.
The revisions are regressive, said Carcross/Tagish Chief Mark Wedge.
And the omission of a child advocate is huge, he added.
There’s been little First Nations involvement in the process, said Corrine McKay, who left her role representing the Council of Yukon First Nations during the revision process in 2005.
“We wanted to ensure First Nations had a voice in the new legislation,” she said.
“But the new act doesn’t involve First Nations in the decision-making process. First Nations will only be notified after a child goes into care.
“On paper, nothing has changed.”
The new legislation is disconnected from what was said during the consultation process, said Victoria Fred, the former First Nations liaison on the file.
“We need to try something different,” said Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Society of Yukon executive director Judy Pakozdy.
“We’ve been working with survivors of foster care at FASSY for long time,” she said.
“And we know the current system doesn’t work.”
Smith and Wedge both plan to draw down family and children’s services, but in the interim hope the draft will be amended to meet their needs.
See full story on Monday.
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