Grant Name: First Nations Child and Family Services
Indigenous Services Canada’s First Nations Child and Family Services program funds prevention and protection services to support the safety and well-being of First Nations children and families living on reserve.
ISC provides funding to First Nations child and family services agencies, which are established, managed and controlled by First Nations and delegated by provincial authorities to provide prevention and protection services. In areas where these agencies do not exist, ISC funds services provided by the provinces and Yukon but does not deliver child and family services. These services are provided in accordance with the legislation and standards of the province or territory of residence. As of January 1, 2020, service providers delivering child and family services to Indigenous children must comply with the national principles and minimum standards set in An Act respecting First Nations, Inuit and Métis children, youth and families.
Funding for child and family services in Nunavut and the Northwest Territories is provided by the Department of Finance Canada through transfer payment agreements with the territorial governments, which make up a portion of their annual budgets. These governments decide how and where to spend the funds.
ISC uses a prevention-based funding model to support early intervention and alternatives to traditional institutional care and foster care, such as the placement of children with family members in a community setting.
The program provides 3 streams of funding:
- Operations: core and operational funding for protection services (such as salaries and overhead)
- Prevention: resources for enhanced prevention services
- Maintenance: direct costs of placing First Nations children into temporary or permanent care out of the parental home (such as foster care rates and group home rates)
To better support First Nations children’s access to the support services they need to transition to adulthood, the program now provides funding to extend services for up to an additional 2 years after the youth:
- has reached the age of majority in their province or territory, or
- is no longer eligible for extended care services as per the provincial or territorial legislation
In January 2016, in response to a 2007 complaint by the Assembly of First Nations and the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society, the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal found the FNCFS program to be flawed, inequitable and discriminatory under the Canadian Human Rights Act. The tribunal ordered the department to cease its discriminatory practices and to reform the program and the1965 Agreement in Ontario (PDF, 1.37 MB, 182 pages) to reflect the findings in their decision.
Further orders were made in:
The Government of Canada has accepted the rulings and is working to fully implement the orders. In response to the February 2018 ruling, Canada immediately began to cover the actual costs of prevention, intake and assessment, legal fees, building repairs, child service purchase and small agency costs (in all areas), as well as actual costs of band representatives and mental health for First Nations youth, in Ontario, retroactively to January 26, 2016, and going forward until an alternate funding system is in place. ISC will continue to work closely with the Consultation Committee on Child Welfare to fully implement the orders.
ISC is also:
- accelerating Budget 2016 funds to meet the immediate service delivery needs for First Nations children and families
- continuing to support engagements and tripartite tables including
Tripartite tables, technical working groups and regional advisory committees comprised of representatives from First Nations, ISC, all provinces and Yukon are in place:
- British Columbia: First Nations Leadership Council tripartite working group and memorandum of understanding between Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada and the First Nations Health Council in relation to services for First Nations children and families in British Columbia
- Alberta: Senior Officials Steering Committee and Technical Working Group
- Saskatchewan: regional table
- Manitoba: Regional Advisory Committee on Child and Family Services and funding model working group
- Ontario: Technical Table on Child and Family Well-Being
- Quebec: regional roundtable and tripartite working group
- Nova Scotia: tripartite working group
- New Brunswick: tripartite working group
- Prince Edward Island: Indigenous child well-being committee
- Newfoundland and Labrador: Innu Round Table Secretariat
Yukon: the Council of Yukon First Nations, the territory, and ISC are partnering in a tripartite table
There is no application process. The following service delivery providers are eligible to receive funding through this program:
|Eligible recipients||Funding—FNCFS||Funding Band Representative Services in Ontario|
|FNCFS agencies societiesFootnote4or other child and family services providers delegated by provinces or Yukon and where the province or Yukon maintains jurisdiction||yes||yes|
|Provincial and Yukon governments directly providing child and family services||yes||no|
First Nations includes authorities, boards or other entities created by such First Nations for the purpose of providing social services or health care
How to Apply?
Applications are not required for this program. Funding is provided through agreements between Canada and the recipient.
Questions relating to child and family services and funding provided for Inuit and Métis children and First Nations children living off reserve should be directed to the appropriate provincial or territorial ministry.
- British Columbia: Ministry of Children and Family Development
- Alberta: Ministry of Children’s Services
- Saskatchewan: Ministry of Social Services
- Manitoba: Ministry of Child and Family Services
- Ontario: Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services
- Quebec: Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux
- New Brunswick: Ministry of Social Development
- Newfoundland and Labrador: Department of Children, Seniors and Social Development
- Nova Scotia: Ministry of Child, Youth & Family Supports
- Prince Edward Island: Department of Family and Human Services
- Yukon: Family and children services
Please see website for contact details