Westcoast LEAF publishes Pathways in a Forest: Indigenous Guidance on Prevention-Based Child Welfare
3 October 2019
By Kevin Zakreski
Late last month, Westcoast LEAF issued a major report (PDF) on child protection in British Columbia. As noted in the organization’s news release, Pathways in a Forest: Indigenous Guidance on Prevention-Based Child Welfare “highlights efforts by Indigenous families, communities, and Nations to revitalize Indigenous approaches to child welfare, develop comprehensive community-based supports, and fight for self-determination.” The report’s focal point is “the voices of 64 caregivers who share their stories of fighting to keep their children out of government care.”
The report contains 10 chapters. After setting out introductory material and a description of its methodology, the report deals with the legal context of child protection and discusses discrepancies in the delivery of services across the child-protection system. It delves into family violence and substance abuse and makes recommendations for reform on these topics. The report closes by examining increasing financial support for Indigenous families.
In total, the report makes 32 recommendations for reform, broken down into recommendations for systemic reform (three recommendations), for legislative reform (eight recommendations), for improving financial supports (seven recommendations), for improving prevention-based efforts (nine recommendations), and for improving advocacy for parents and Indigenous communities (five recommendations). The report also highlights three broad areas for further investigation.