Grand Chief Ed John appointment welcome, but systemic change urgently needed in Aboriginal child welfare

September 11, 2015

The BCGEU welcomes the temporary appointment of Grand Chief Ed John as Senior Advisor to the Ministry for Children and Families (MCFD), but cautions that broader systemic issues must urgently be addressed in B.C.’s Aboriginal child welfare system.

“Grand Chief Ed John is highly respected. His past knowledge and experience may help reduce the number of Aboriginal children in care and find them a permanent home,” says BCGEU president Stephanie Smith.

While BCGEU welcomes Grand Chief Ed John’s leadership and insight, the union is concerned that the appointment may not have the authority or independence needed to push for urgent, systemic change that is desperately needed in Aboriginal child welfare services.

“Now is the time for the B.C. government to prioritize responsive, culturally appropriate and properly funded Aboriginal child welfare services, including child protection, fostering and adoptions, and for support services such as mental health and special needs,” says Smith.

Over the past year, the BCGEU has surveyed and consulted with frontline Aboriginal child, youth and family workers. A report outlining some of the systemic failures in the province’s Aboriginal child welfare system, along with recommendations, will be released in early October as part of the union's Choose Children campaign.

    •    To learn more about the BCGEU Choose Children campaign, visit http://www.bcgeu.ca/campaign/choose-children