ontario news watch

AFN national chief says child-welfare funding to top $20B as chiefs raise concerns

OTTAWA — The national chief of the Assembly of First Nations says it is about to finalize a deal with Ottawa on child-welfare reforms that will top the $20 billion promised as part of a landmark settlement.

Cindy Woodhouse Nepinak is calling it a “monumental agreement” and says she will continue to work with chiefs before they ratify it later this year.

Three regional chiefs representing more than half of First Nations recently penned a letter to Woodhouse Nepinak saying the AFN is overstepping by making decisions about reforms without consulting with children and families.

They also raised concerns that the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society, which jointly launched the human-rights complaint that led to the settlement agreement, is being frozen out.

Woodhouse Nepinak says the agreement is unlikely to include funding to ensure Jordan’s Principle is followed.

That’s a legal rule that says First Nations children must receive the health care and social services they need even if there is a jurisdictional dispute over which government should pay for it.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 25, 2024.

The Canadian Press