Alberta’s Child and Youth Advocate argues systemic issues have led to the overrepresentation of Aboriginal children in the child welfare system. They make up 69 per cent, although they only account for one in 10 children in the province. Watchdog Del Graff adds that those Aboriginal children “come into care more often, stay in care longer, and are less likely to be returned to their families than their non-Aboriginal peers.”
Graff points to socioeconomic factors, residential schools and the breakdown of Indigenous families on reserves in the sixties as adding to the problem. A difference in views on family responsibilities and a distrust of governments are also a factor.
Graff makes several recommendations, including the province establishing a new relationship with Aboriginal communities and reviewing their child welfare legislation. The report was based on interviews with 700 children, youth, Elders, and caregivers over a year,