Webinar Briefing on Monday, November 14, 2011 2:00 PM – 3:30 PM EST

A report called Kiskisik Awasisak: Remember the Children. Understanding the Overrepresentation of First Nations Children in the Child Welfare System will be released next week and there will be a webinar briefing on the report on November 14th @ 2pm (EST).

The report is based on the largest study of child welfare investigations involving First Nations children ever conducted in Canada. The study examines data collected from 89 provincial/territorial agencies and 22 First Nations and urban Aboriginal agencies and the findings are intended help understand the factors contributing to the over-representation of First Nations children in the child welfare system and to make changes to funding and practice models.

Canada’s child welfare system has a historical pattern of removing Aboriginal children from their homes. You can learn more about this issue by examining the Aboriginal Child Welfare section of the Canadian Child Welfare Research Portal.

One component of the report documents issues that female caregivers were dealing with at the time of the investigations and which  potentially influenced their abilities to care for their children. Case workers noted:

  • multiple risk factors in 56% of First Nations child investigations (vs. 34% of non-Aboriginal child investigations).
  • domestic violence victimization in 43% of First Nations child investigations (vs. 30% of non- Aboriginal child investigations).
  • alcohol abuse in 40% of First Nations child investigations (vs. 8% of non-Aboriginal child investigations).
  • lack of social supports in 37% of First Nations child investigations (vs. 30% of non-Aboriginal child investigations).
  • drug/solvent abuse in 25% of First Nations child investigations (vs. 10% of non-Aboriginal child investigations).
  • history of foster/group home care in 13% of First Nations child investigations (vs. 5% of non- Aboriginal child investigations).

It would be interesting to see how these issues were addressed after they were identified. For example, did learning that a woman has a substance use problem lead to support in accessing treatment or child apprehension? Or, how many apprehensions could have been averted if the woman had identifiable social supports?

You can register for the webinar here and learn more about the study here.