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“All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.” - Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860)

“‘Tis strange – but true; for truth is always strange; Stranger than fiction.” - British poet Lord Byron (George Gordon Byron)

A lot of evidence concerning abuse and corruption connected with Children's Aid/Children Services/CPS and the various related government departments and non-government organizations (NGOs) has surfaced in both the U.S. and Canada - yet, over the years, nothing changed.

This indicated that there was a larger more powerful connection at play. It did not take long to find this bigger connection. However, in the early years, there were few people who would accept the reality of these larger global connections.

Most people do not want to believe that corruption and abuse against innocent families and children exists in Canada and the U.S.. They need to feel a sense of security in the society they live in, and that need is so great that most people will prefer to believe a lie rather than face the truth. They want to believe that such things only exist in third world countries !

Understanding that even the basics of the wickedness in Nova Scotia, Canada was hard for most people to accept, we originally limited the information we posted to local concerns. This way, at least, we hoped that we could begin educating Nova Scotians about the reality of abuse and corruption connected with Children's Aid/Children Services/CPS.

However, it broke our hearts to find testimonies from parent groups throughout North America and beyond who had worked years to inform the public and had attemped to change the system, as we had, with no success. They were frustrated and did not understand why, despite all the evidence that had come forward, nothing was done, nothing changed.

We felt they were owed an explanation, so, hopefully, now is the time for people to hear and accept the "Bigger Global Picture".

The powerful connections that are responsible for abusing our innocent families and children go to the highest levels that hides behind secrecy and secret organizations.
Countless people will hate the New World Order and will die protesting against it. When we attempt to evaluate its promise, we have to bear in mind the distress of a generation or so of malcontents, many of them quite gallant and graceful-looking people." ~ H. G. Wells (1939)

Finally alternate media, first hand testimonies from people coming out of these evil organizations, and countless politicians began now declaring openly the plan for a New World Order and a one world government. Because of this, it is hoped that people will accept the evidence we are now posting concerning this evil global connection. Please view topics under "Bigger Picture" , "Agenda 21" , "Democracy Destroyed" etc .

Because of the push to form a One World Government, we are all connected in our struggle. What is being done elsewhere is being, or will be, done to us because it is the same global power which is working towards the destruction of our families and our children worldwide - And the corruption in Children's Aid/Children Services/CPS is is just one of the instruments they use to achieve this goal.

Thus far there are at least 8 powers that are struggling for this one world domination: the Illuminati, Communism, the Vatican, the Masons, the Islam extremists (understand these Islam extremists are killing fellow Islamic people who do not agree with their extreme views) and India, China, and Russia. They all use and manipulate each other but, ultimately, each wants ultimate control.

In the Christian Bible, it is prophesied that an evil Anti-Christ will set up a one World government utilizing a one world religion where all the people of the world will eventually be forced to worship him alone. It is difficult, at this time, to determine, for certain, if this Anti-Christ raises up from any of the 8 powers mentioned above or elsewhere. Please link here if you are interested in learning more about the Anti- Christ.

Over the years, we have seen the voice of the people shut down: Newspapers, and Radio stations, that were willing to write and broadcast critical articles and interviews against Children Services/CPS and government folded. And radio/media personalities, who allowed people to speak out against Children Services/CPS and the government, lost their jobs or were heavily curtailed.

Both the US and Canada have passed laws to remove our right and freedoms, including free speech: the Patriot Act, numerous Executive Orders nullifying the US Constitution. The latest US government grab for power is the NSAA that would allow the US government to put any US citizen in indefinate detention without charges or a trial.

Oath Keepers (military police and sheriffs loyal to the US Constitution - ready to defend the people against enemies "foreign or domestic" ) and some congress people, senators and US States have also taken a stand. Even concerned individuals have gone to the courts to fight the NSAA.

We believe the internet, as we know it, soon will be limited. Eventually internet use will be removed completely from the hands of the people. The time is short. The time to get this information out is now. No one is immune from the abuse of Children Services /New World Order/Agenda 21 etc. The victims can be your family, your children, your grandchildren, your nieces and nephews etc.

You cannot move away from this threat - It is global !You must not put your head in the sand! - There is a global plan to destroy the family unit and physical, sexual and mental abuse is an essential part of Trauma-Based Mind Control, one of the many mind control programs used by this global system to destroy our children. They are also using the more insidious Neuro Linquistic Programing (NLP) to alter people's value system. But the current and planned use of Electronic, Psychotronic Mind Control which can be used on people in mass is the most alarming of all ! Please view the many topics on this site under the title MIND CONTROL.

They want our children to rebel against us. They want the new generation to view the "state" as their parent.

But worse than all this, they want to kill off most of the people on this planet, and all under the guise of environmentally saving the planet. We have been declared the enemy - They openly state that we, and our children must be sacrificed for the greater good.

If this sounds extreme to you then it is because you have not been paying attention to the world events that are unfolding before your very eyes. You have been lulled into ignorance and apathy. The expansion of sports and sports arenas, the addiction to various social networks, the focus on celebraties on so called "news" shows. This has all been designed to placate the masses and to get your focus off politics and the changes that are being done to you and your family. Your attention has also been diverted to worrying about the economy and an "enemy" that shifts and changes to suit the political manipulating whims of a small powerful elite. - and this spell has been caste over you "by design". The people in the highest realm of this global power call us "stupid sheep", and we are being lead to the slaughter !

You must wake up NOW! Time is VERY short ! I suggest you start with the several topics listed under "Agenda 21" :

1. AGENDA 21/ Sustainable Development Explained: North America - US - Canada - Nova Scotia (It is recommended that you read this 1st)

2. AGENDA 21/ SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT: Population Cut/ Cull (kill) Part 1
(They want to kill us, You should question, Vaccines, Fluoride, Water, GMOs, Chemtrails, Morgellons - GMO/Chemtrail desease.

3. AGENDA 21/ SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT: Population Cut/ Cull (kill) Part 2
(Morgellons, Meat, Aspartame, No home gardens, Planned vitamin, mineral and organic food ban, Smart meters, Cancer cures, Pollution free energy and cars, Abortion, After birth abortion, Denying medical care, Killing our own troops, Gun control)

4. AGENDA 21/ SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT: Pushback - People are waking up Part 1
(States, Governors, Sheriffs, )

5. AGENDA 21/ SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT: Pushback - People are waking up Part 2
(Militia, Military, Whistleblowers)

6. Agenda 21/Sustainable Development: The Bigger picture

7. AGENDA 21/ SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT: Political Takeover

8. AGENDA 21/ SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT: Canada - New World Order (NWO)

If we do not WAKE UP, fight back, and win then you need to seriously prepare yourself and your family for, incarceration without trial, torture, persecution, and even death.

Did you know that Obama has declared Christians to be "potential domestic terrorists"? - Especially those who believe in the promised Second Coming of Jesus Christ, who, as it happens, according to the Bible, comes to put a stop to an evil one world government. http://youtu.be/c0kiSGKbljs

Maybe some of these Christians and Messianic Jews know something that is very important for these times and perhaps we should pay attention to what their holy books have to say about the "End Times" "End of the Age" etc. (the 3 1/2 to 7 years just before the return of Yeshua Ha Mashiach/ Jesus the Messiah or Anointed One.

For those who want to check this out, please LINK HERE (scroll down to topic list on the right) . Beautiful pictures, fab songs, great testimonies from ex- satanists, ex-witches, ex-illuminati, ex-islamists, Christ believing Jews, etc, archeological evidence for Biblical events and most important scriptures to help you, encourage you and guide you.

May you find the path to the Creator of the heaven and earth. He foresaw these days (view topics on the "End Times" in the link above) we are living in right now and He has instructed us clearly on what we must do and what we are NOT to do. ( "The Mark of the Beast" View all scriptures on this subject HERE Revelation 13: 11-17, 14: 9-11, 16: 2, 19:20, 20:4 . Acceptance of the mark is not a matter to be taken lightly. The Bible states that anyone who accepts the mark, that one must have to buy or sell, denies Christ in favor of a false god. This decision, once made, is irrevocable, and the consequences are everlasting. - ( LINK HERE to read in context with fab pictures and music)

Get yourselves educated. Get familiar with the law and the illegal and unconstituional actions of your government . Educate yourselves about the New World Order and Agenda 21. Get vocal with the government to protect your family and children. Get into the family court and bear witness to what is going on in the name of "justice".
Above written by - Reverend Niemoeller, a German Lutheran pastor who was arrested by the Gestapo and sent to the concentration camp Dachau in 1938.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

36. May 2008 REPORT Ministers Advisory Committee: Children and Family Services Act

REPORT Ministers Advisory Committee on Children and Family Services Act and Adoption Information Act -May 2008

Well folks here it is July and the May Report of the Minister's Advisory Committee is only now out ! This is a committee that is suppose to be annual and here it is MORE than 2 years later that we have a report - A report put together by an illegal committtee that has continued to funtion without the full membership specified under law.

The claim that they are not able to find people to fill the positions is the doing of the government itself. We are well aware of a number of qualified persons (verified by the Executive Council itself) who have asked to be on this committee several times but are repeatedly overlooked . They refuse to pay this committee the normal $100 per diem, they make the committee members wait for months to have their legitimate costs refunded, and to add insult to injury, behind their backs, they cancel their lunches ordered, while they are in session.

Besides not have the full membership mandated by law for this committee, the people on this committee have been sliding on and off continually. This has been a concern of ours because when the presentations that were critical of Comunity Services were made, at the beginning of this process, they were not recorded in any manner, by audio or video. Because this committee dragged on beyond their 1 year mandate, the people who would have written this report were NOT privy to these presentation.

We were surprised when the bureacrats of Community Services made a presentation to the multi-party Community Services Committee on, of all days, April the 1, 2008, April Fools Day. Read article on this HERE . Not one of the committee members was there ! In fact, we learned that the chair of the Advisory Committee was only informed of this presentation through one of the MLA who just happened to be on that multi-party committee.

We find this report wastes a lot of space quoting the act as they did on the April Fools Day presentation - The problem is not so much the Act. ( though we do recommend some changes) The biggest problem is that the province ignores the Act- ignores the law ! And we are sick and tired of the bureacrats quoting the Act as if they actually follow it - They do NOT !

When the Senate Committee on the Rights of the Children came to to Nova Scotia to hear the provincial government reps' rhetoric - they did not believe them - why should you! Read the news paper article concerning the senate report HERE . Read the Senate commite report Children: The Silenced Citizens HERE. And read the presentation given to this committee by advocates from Nova Scotia who traveled to Ottawa at the Senate's expense HERE and HERE on the Senate website, itself.

Below is the report- We will be adding comments in square brackets [ ] . This may take while to post and edit with our highlights and comments so please be patient.


REPORT Ministers Advisory Committee on Children and Family Services Act and Adoption Information Act -May 2008

Overview
This report reflects the work of the Minister’s Advisory Committee on the Children and Family Services Act and the Adoption Information Act. The Committee for this report was established in November 2005 in accordance with the mandate of the Advisory Committee as stated in Section 88(1) of the Children and Family Services Act. This section states:


The Minister shall establish an advisory committee whose function is to review
annually
the provisions of this Act and the services relating thereto and to report annually to the Minister concerning the operation of the Act and whether the principles and purpose of the Act are being achieved. -CFSA Section 88 (1)

The Advisory Committee experienced significant problems in meeting its mandate. Lack of provision in the legislation to specify terms of office coupled with the current system of making appointments annually presents obstacles to the ongoing functioning of the Committee.
Additionally there have been significant delays in filling vacant positions as they became available due to expiration of terms, resignations and controversy concerning appointments made. These issues are addressed in Part 3 of this report, Section 88 Advisory Committee.

[This controversy stemmed from the government continually appointing people in specific categories that did NOT meet the requirements of the categories and stubornly overlooking people who did meet the requirements of the categories - opting to appoint government people who did NOT meet the requirements specified in law]

The Committee did its best to obtain meaningful input from individuals and community groups
throughout the Province, discover experiences and insights concerning child welfare and
adoption information issues and services in Nova Scotia, and review current child welfare and
adoption literature trends (See Bibliography). Coupled with the fact that has been more than
seven years since the previous Advisory Committee Report (1999) was released
, [The correct date for the last time a Committee met to review the CFS Act was 1996] the Committee found that it required much longer than a year to produce a report that would adequately meet its mandate.

As part of the consultation process, the Advisory Committee held 27 all day meetings over a 23 month period. During the spring and summer of 2006 a campaign was developed and implemented to solicit feedback from the community. Letters were sent to approximately 250 organizations/individuals throughout the Province requesting written submissions, with invitations to present in person to the Committee.

[ No special invites were sent out to people whom the government knew would criticise the Department of Community Services - No special invites were sent to the 2 women, Linda Youngson and Marily Dey who took the Minister of Community Services to court to force him to follow the law that mandated him to set up this Advisory Committee ]

One-page flyers were included with the letters asking organizations to place them on their notice boards. A newspaper advertisement was placed in the major newspapers throughout the Province and

[This was a VERY tiny print general advertisement for all government committees buried in the back of the papers and only published for 1 or 2 days, depending on the paper] ,

in September 2006, notices were included with Income Assistance cheques. The notices advised individuals, who may not have been involved with organizations, of the Committee’s mandate, and solicited their input through written and/or personal presentations about their experiences with the Act and its’ implementation as well as any suggestions for improvement. Contact information via email, postal address and web page information was included with all campaign literature. [ This is NOT correct !] The Children and Family Services Act and the Adoption Information Act was made available on the Internet.

[ When people who did not have internet access, requested print copies of the Act, this was denied.]

(See Appendix’ B Campaign Literature)

Over an eight-month time frame, the Advisory Committee received 51 written and verbal submissions, 14 of which were presented in person from groups and individuals from throughout the Province.

[ There should have been more individual presentation. We are aware of people who were denied this opportunity because of Lynn Cheek : Lynn Cheek is a government person who was appointed to this committee by this government to prevent people critical of the government from making personal presentations. Ms Cheek invented new requirements to present to this committee including having to read the ACT and having to connect their presentations to specific sections of the ACT - yet denying people copies of the ACT when requested. Also, when the submission closing date was fast approaching, she suddenly required all submissions and requests to present be made through the mail "with a stamp". Linda Youngson, one of the 2 ladies who took the Minister to court to get this committee appointed, was told by Ms Cheek that because her written submission was so thorough that she did not have to make a personal presentation. Of course Ms Youngson did not accept this . But when she and another advocate went to present, there was only 2 members there to hear the presentation (The chair had already informed her that the quorum for this committee was 8 ) When these 2 ladies requested to present again, there were a few more members present but still NOT a quorum - Yet they were told, at this time, that the supportive presentation, which were heard 1st, all received a quorum. When the press got hold of Lynn Cheek's behavior and questioned her on this, she suddenly resigned - Only to be reappointed later, when the heat died down]

Most submissions came from people who had direct experience with child protection services - as professionals providing services to families, parents whose children had been in need of protective services, and youth who are/were in care. Many submissions from individuals were received in the form of hand-written letters, email messages, typed personal letters and/or oral presentations to the Committee describing personal situations and experiences of their involvement of child protection services. About 20 percent (11) submissions were from people who had experience with the Adoption Information Act. The Committee appreciates the time and dedication from these individuals and organizations represented. To establish a basis for this report, the Committee also reviewed recommendations and follow-up actions from the three previous committee reports:
Report Ministers Advisory Committee on Children and Family Services Act, 1993;
Report Ministers Advisory Committee on Children and Family Services Act, 1996;
Report Ministers Advisory Committee on Children and Family Services Act, 1999.

A summary of recommendations from the 1999 report is included in Appendix ‘C’ Summary of
Follow Up to Previous Reports from the Advisory Committee Report, 1999 and Current Status.

Eight major themes emerge from reports and submissions received. They are as follows:

• The Nova Scotia Children and Family Services Act (CFSA) is generally considered to
be a good Act.

• There is a critical lack of resources to implement the CFSA in accordance with its
principles.

[ This is the same old cry for more money - This is NOT the answer ! - When CS gets more money, they feel they have to justify this by victimizing more families and children. They need to spend the money they have already, HELPING families with the services mandated in the CFS Act , NOT using it to gather lyinging information against families by hiring organizations and individuals who have lucritive contracts with Children Services, who will sell their souls to give CS whatever they want in order to keep these contracts]

• 16-18 year olds receive inadequate protection, insufficient services and have little
input into decision-making.

[ The Act -Section 37 (2) - states that children 12 and over have the right to their own lawyers - The Act - Section 41 (4) - also states that it is the responsibility of the Court to make sure the child knows this right. We know CS and the provincially funded Legal Aid system is willing to lie and stymie the parents and children to prevent them from this right. We know no judge who had followed through on their responsibility to be sure the child knows their right. The family lawyer system in Nova Scotia is so corrupt, the lawyers do not defend the parents as they should - They actually direct the parents to the slaughter - So if the lawyers do not defend the parents as they should, why would they defend the children? - After many years of advocacy work there is NOT one NS family lawyer we would recommend for families - These lawyers take direction from CS NOT the parents. See more information about this concern HERE ]

• Extended family has little if any involvement in custody/protection plans.

[ The act itself states that family members are to be contacted as possible foster parents before being shipped out to stangers. Concerning this responsibility to seek family member to do so, the act says "the Court shall" Section 42 (2) and "the Agency shall" Section 28(1) . "Shall" is a legal term which means the Agency and the Court are legally required to do so . See more information on this HERE ]

• There were divergent opinions regarding Section 22 of the CFSA.

[ This is the concern that gives the government the right to apprehend a child on the basis that "maybe, perhaps, sometime in the future a parent might possibly" etc . It is NOT based on any wrong doing that the parent has done - just a supposition that they MIGHT ! See more information HERE]

• There is a lack of trust in the child protection system by recipients of services and
the members of the public
. [ This fact and realization was also reported in the Nunn Report -NS government WAKE UP! ]

• There is a need for the establishment of a Children’s Advocacy Office.

[ The current Ombudsman office is NOT doing their job protecting the children in the system and informing them of their rights. See more information HERE and HERE ]

• There is a trend toward open adoption and disclosure of adoption information.
This report has been divided into three parts.
Part One - Service issues and Child Protection Legislation.
Part Two - The Adoption Information Act
Part Three - The Mandate of the Advisory Committee as stated in Section 88(1) of the
Children and Family Services Act.


ADVISORY COMMITTEE-CHILDREN & FAMILY SERVICES ACT

-Member List 2005-2006 [ Look back here for updates questioning accuracy of appointment dates and comments on Mr Van Zoost's (personal friend of the Minister who was appointed to the parent category) appointment that is not listed her ]

1. Minority Representative - Section 88(2)(e)
Ms. Mira Musanovic
Metropolitan Immigrant Settlement
Association
Halifax, Nova Scotia
15/12/05-14/12/05

2. Parent Representative - Section 88(2)(a)
Mr. Frederick Francis Benson
Halifax, Nova Scotia
01/02/06-28/02/06

3. Community Member- Section 88(2)(f) [ This NOT a category specified in the ACT ! The term used here is deliberately used to mislead the people of Nova Scotia ! Just above, this report took the time to quote Section 88 (1) but NOT Section 88 (2) which specifies the different categories of appointments and makes clear which are mandatory and which are not. Please hyperlink HERE to read Section 88 (2). This misnamed catergory is NOT mandatory - This is a category where the Minister gets to stack the committee with 3 more supporters " as the Minister may determine". Give us a break - you are not fooling us with this deceiving title. When we went to witness people giving their presentations, these apointees proudly identified themselves as "Special appointment by the Minister" ]
Ms. Barbara Sowinski
Dartmouth, Nova Scotia
01/11/05-31/10/06

4. Community Member- Section 88(2)(f) [ Here is another "Special appointment by the Minister" ]
Ms. Cheryl Gillett Harawitz (chair)
Halifax, Nova Scotia
01/11/05-31/10/06

5. Community Member- Section 88(2)(f) [ Here is another "Special appointment by the Minister" ]
Ms. Trena Slaunwhite Gallant
Parent Resource Centre
Halifax, Nova Scotia
01/11/05-31/10/06

6. Legal Aid Lawyer - Section 88(2)(d) [ Remember Legal Aid, whether Dalhousie or NS Legal Aid is run by the government- So here we have more government people]
Ms. Kathy Briand
Antigonish, Nova Scotia
01/11/05-31/10/06

7. Minority Representative - Section 88(2)(e)
Mr. Kenneth Deveau
Department des sciences de l’éducation
Université Sainte-Anne
Point-de-l’Église, Nouvelle-Écosse
15/12/05-14/12/06

8.Ministerial Representative – Section 88(2)(c)
Ms. Lynn Cheek (resigned, December, 2006) [ Read explaination above concerning Ms Cheek blocking people from making presentations - Being found out by the media - resigning and then sneaking back on the committee when the heat died down and the multi-party Human Resources committee was asleep on the job - again ! Read HERE our serious concerns with the Human Resources Committee]
Department of Community Services

Halifax, Nova Scotia
1/12/05-31/12/06
Resigned October 2006

9. Agency Representative - Section 88(2)(b)
Mr. Richard B. Gruchy
Department of Community Services
Halifax, Nova Scotia
01/11/05-31/10/06

10. Parent Representative - Section 88(2)(a)
Ms. Valerie Hill
Sydney, Nova Scotia
1/12/05-31/12/06


Saturday, May 31, 2008

WARNING: Never - Never - Never go to Children Services/Aid

WARNING ! ! !
Never -Never - Never
go to
Children Services/Aid
for
help.


We have put off placing this warning front and center on this site. But the horrors we have come to know of a system that is arrogant and out of control demands that this warning be placed front and center.

Time and time again, we have seen innocent naive families go to Children/Aid for help - thinking this Agency cares about families - only to find their families victimized by a system that was suppose to help them.

Instead of helping, their children are torn from them and all sorts of wickedness is manufactured against them by a system that is NOT professional or ethical.

Once in court, any services given are thinly veiled investigation tools and information gleaned is then twisted and used against families. These people are experts at twisting anything against you: Too little education ! Too much education! Dishes in the sink! And the latest - Too many books! - You are damned if you do and damned if you don't.

And we are still amazed when the bureaucrats from this department parrot their repetitive lies with such an air of virtue and purity and throw out their avoidance phrases with such innocence.

Do not go to them for help !

We need a good, proper functioning Children's Aid/Service/Agency - But that it NOT what we have now !


Monday, May 26, 2008

34. The Streatch Exterior begins to Crack

37. The Streatch Exterior begins to Crack

First the Minister lends her government car to her son who then crashes the car and now this :

N.S. Audit Uncovers 'Alarming' Errors in Children's Aid Office
By DAVID JACKSON Provincial Reporter
Wed. May 21, Halifax Herald

Community Services Minister Judy Streatch says her department will take control of Family and Children's Services of Kings County after an audit found troubling errors and failure to meet provincial standards.

A five-year-old child found alone in front of a hospital one night didn't warrant an investigation by Kings County's children's aid office, just one of many serious errors an audit of the office has uncovered.

The audit, released today, also noted many cases of poor record-keeping and failure to meet provincial standards for child protection.

"Overall, the auditors noted significant and pervasive concerns with respect to poor file organization, errors in judgement, lack of compliance with mandatory standards, lack of oversight and direction, lack of documentation, and a general under-response to situations of risk to children," the audit summary said. [ What most people do not understand is that the Minister is directly responsible for the PRIVATE agencies because they are suppose to report directly to her - While the PUBLIC agencies have a whole bureaucracy between them and the Minister . So you see folks the accountability for this poorly run agency lies squarely on Ms Streatch's lap ! ]

Despite the problems, Community Services Minister Judy Streatch said they didn't find any children being left in unsafe situations. [Shake your head Ms Streatch, a 5 year old child out alone at night is UNSAFE! ]

"No. Fortunately, our audit very clearly points out, though we have standards, procedures and practices that were not being met to the provincial standard, fortunately, no children or youth were at risk," [ Shake shake? - I am assumming Ms Streatch said this thinking the media did not have the details of this young child - Good for you media - caught her in a lie and actually wrote about it ! ] she said. "We were very in-depth in our analysis."

In the case of the five-year-old, whom police found, the audit said staff decided not to investigate based on dealing with the family in the past, and because the incident had occurred "a few weeks ago."

Auditors called it an "alarming error."

Ms. Streatch said that her department will absorb Family and Children's Services of Kings County, and she's appointed an interim executive director in the meantime. Leonard Doiron, a former acting director of child welfare for the province, takes over today.

Robert Myles was the executive director at the time of the audit in December. Ms. Streatch said she couldn't comment on whether he was still with the office because personnel issues are confidential, but she did say that no one was fired. [ What we have found in the past is just this - no one is fired, they are just shuffled around. Sound familiar? Like the priests who abused little childrren- the system protects their own ]

Mark Mander, president of the aid society's volunteer board of directors, said the board decided within the last month to integrate into the department, something other agencies have also done in the last two years. On Tuesday, the department announced Family and Children's Services in Cumberland, Queens, and Yarmouth counties would join.

Mr. Mander characterized the audit as "informing" and said one expects any audit to find deficiencies.

"This was mostly process-based - did you dot that i, cross that t," said Mr. Mander, who works as Kentville's police chief. [With this attitude, perhaps the Kentville police need to be audited too?]

He said he didn't have information about the case of the five-year-old. [Shake- Shake-Shake ! Mander is a Kentville's police CHIEF - the police found this child - But he has no information on this case? Do we believe this? ]

The audit, by two department staff [an inside job] , said the office has one casework supervisor, seven social workers, plus a contract worker who handles intake calls. The auditors said only registered social workers should handle intake calls.

During intake, the social worker is supposed to actively gather information about allegations of child abuse and/or neglect.

When the worker determines the risk to the child, the severity determines the time to start an investigation.

"Priority 1" is a life-threatening situation, with a response of one hour, down the scale to "Priority 5" with no risk, and a response within 21 working days.

The audit found the majority of cases were labelled low risk, even allegations of a risk of violence in the home or a parent's drug abuse that should have had a higher priority.

In one case, a worker labelled a high risk sex offender in "a parenting role" with children as an "'unsuitable association'" rather than "'risk of sexual abuse.'"

The auditors also found shortcomings in child protection work, including problems with risk assessments.

There was one example of a parent designated high risk whom the office allowed to resume an unsupervised care-giving role, without appropriately deciding whether the children were still at risk.

Ms. Streatch said workers will get a thorough review of the guidelines and procedures they're supposed to follow in the complex field of child welfare.

"We will do what we have set out as concrete steps to ensure that the community can rest assured that those standards and those procedures are being met."

Comments:

TEAbbott wrote:I blame Judy Streatch... She should be fired and a replacement hired.

Little Jonny wrote:Nothing new here.

unfit wrote:what about the 12 year old boy that lied and said his parents abused him, just so he could go to a different school with his cousin,...2 family members backed his story up just for the monthly check,one being the cousin,the other the aunt... childrens aid jumped all over the parents even though they were involved with many organizations with their lil handicapped daughter including ,apsea,early intervention,physio and occupational theraphy,all these workers stated this family was fantastic,the mother treated her kids and half the neighbourhood kids great...she was always doing or taking her kids on outings plus a few other kids as well..yet those statements mysteriously were lost or never recorded..,one childrens aid worker even went to court and lied on the stand [We know of other cases when workers have out and out lied] , after about 2 months this boy decided to tell the truth, childrens aid went to his school to talk to him, when he told them he lied they told him he was abused and to remember they read him a statement they claimed he told them, yet this boy denied he said it, the boy still says childrens aid had stories of abuse that never happened and he never said half of what they read him [Again unfortunately this is not the first time that we are aware that children were coached to tell stories that were not true] ...i think it boils down to this one worker didnt like the mother on the first meeting becuze the mother is straight forward and dont pull no punches she gets right to the point... I think its time the glace bay office is investigated...

rcs wrote: judy streatch:it is so obvious your employees are not doing the job they are paid to do!**you need to get back to basic business practices and procedures..ill suggest a few tips to you from a common man --rcs.**first- have all employees describe their job descriptions as they understand them..have them list all the things they were hired to do and list all the things they are not doing or are most lax in doing. then have them list why they are not doing the tasks hired to complete.then ask them what they suggest should be done to rectify this situation.this shall shed much necessary light needed to move foreward.the questions should be asked one at a time ,in private with each employee. i do not know how many employees you have but you must either do this yourself or your second in command **if you feel comfortable with him or her**.sit in private with each employee and let them write down the answer to each question and have them sign at the bottom line..then pass out the next question, sign then the next and so on.....try not to give the employees time to communicate with others until the final employee has completed this process.**do not be afraid to "replace "any employee.**.this will send a clear and immediate signal to the employees and to the public........the message is"judy streatch"means to fix the problem immediately......one very important thing to remember..................!!!!!!never shift the blame to others!!!!!!!!!!the public is sick and tired and fed up with blame shifting....!!!!!you must i repeat must shoulder the entire blame!!!!!!!!do not lollygag on this .get it done immediately and make updates to the public...nothing earth shaking just let folks know judy streatch is working diligently on this major concern.

David fm CH wrote: Although this is a very challenging and often thankless job, we must hold our community services to a high standard, especially when it comes to children. Lets use the recommendations of the auditor to improve the system.

Shell_B_98 wrote: Does not surprise me in the least. Children's aid is a joke most of the time. Please read FB group "father wronged by Children's aid" Sad and true story

melvina wrote: Hopefully there wasn't a dangerous dog prowling around the hospital. It is beyond sad that issues like a child being left alone is ignored (or not dealt with properly) by the powers that be, yet "so called dangerous" dogs are a "hot topic"! Yet another sad day in politics!

bpnormal wrote: Well Well Well colour me surrrrprised.

stephen burke wrote: How can the Minister make a statement none of the childern where in unsafe situation when in the same breath she made the statement "poor record keeping and failure to meet provincial standard's" along with the auditors found alarming errors" After adopting my grandchild that took three years to complete, (granted in another province) the glaring mistakes made where alarming and difficult to process, still bother me today and knowing there are childern and families in the system that are being affected negitivly not only in Nova Scotia but across the country.

sassy wrote: I am shocked a Government worker not investigating cases that are dealing with innocent children why is she able to keep her job.She should be fired and the position given to some one qualified and who will actually take their job serious.

myoppiniononly wrote: Well im glad for the five year old picked up by a police officer and not a pedofile. No investigation?..where was her mother?..why was she left there? INVESTIGATION or if something happens to a child in these circumstances they will wear the blood on their hands..kids need to be protected !!!!

DUKE wrote: i think the executive director should be fired as he was in charge there ! He was suppose to report this to the minister, she should have to baby sit these people

TheWorldCop wrote: Keep playing and at the same time making money.

tgpebb wrote: Nope. Never left in an unsafe situation. I guess I "don't" recall 2 small children being forgotten by children's services. They were in a physically unsafe home and were reported by the police to children's services. Oddly enough, children's services were "looking" for that family (having lost track of them once), but neglected to follow up on the police report until the family had moved again. This only happened next door to me (having been the one complaining to the police), but obviously my recollection is fuzzy.

Wake Up Canada wrote: What is Judy Streatch talking about, placing Leonard Dorion in supervision? DCS controls Children's Aid Society.They are side contracts for DCS,when DCS took over their territory back in 1998, after the Ceasor Lalo case! And speaking of Leonard Dorion, when two Halifax women took DCS to the Supreme Courts regarding "NOT HAVING A ADVISORY COUNSEL BOARD FOR 10 YEARS",that Judy Streatch [Correction: David Morse was the Minister of Community Services at this time] failed to attend this Court case and placed Leonard Dorion in her [his] place,and guess how he answered all of Graham Steele's [the lawyer for the 2 women] questions,I DON'T KNOW! What does he know and will he turn the other cheek and claim that he doesn't know anything in King's County,in the future? [Actually, the justice was so shocked by the many different ways Leonard Dorion had of wording his avoidance that he kept a running list of the various phrases Leonard used to say "I don't know" - When the justice was summing up he actually read this list out to everyone in court - Too bad Leonard Dorion had not bothered to stay for the rest of the court session because he missed this obvious public humiliation by the justice - After being on the stand, he immediately donned his coat and rushed off]

JohnJon wrote: In Nova Scotia, I don't believe it. How shocking. Yeah right. Who in there right mind wouldn't believe this happened in this province where lack of integrity and honesty is a normal thing. Time to clean house and get rid of these bureacratic imbeciles that run this province. This just goes to show of all the millions of tax dollars that are wasted by these individuals that couldn't run a Lemonade stand let alone a government department. And then we wonder why the debt in this province is so high, while these individuals get paid enormous salaries and perks for a job they can not even do properly in the first place. Time for the people of this province to demand someones head on a silver platter, starting with Robme MacDonald on down.

Wake Up Canada wrote: Judy Streatch already controls the Children's Aid Society folks,their side kick contractors for DCS. DCS took control of Children's Aid Society after the Ceasor Lalo case back in 1998. It's about time people want this department investigated!!!

marti wrote: I totally agree with TEAbbott! Get rid of the embarrassingly inexperienced, incapable Judy Stretch! Taxpayers should be outraged and should get proper service for their hard earned money.

Ahem-ahem wrote: In another front-page story on the NS businessman and IWK volunteer who was caught buying child pornography, the police are quoted as saying, "The child exploitation unit first received information about the case in 2004 but was unable to act sooner because of other complaints it was investigating". Why in heavens name are Nova Scotia children such a low priority?!

scottnhalifax wrote: go figure, i had the a problem with them years ago with false statments from kids, turns out (name removed by moderator) was wrong and told to move on.

Ms M wrote: I feel all Childrens aid departments should be audited. Expecially HRM I have never dealt with so much misinformation and false statements from any government department as I have with Child services in HRM. Nothing is ever noted and nothing is provided in writing. They will blame each other before taking owership of their miscommunication or actions.

from the cape wrote: I find it very hard to believe that DCS has only found out about this from an audit. I am sure that people on the front lines and exec directors aren't as tight lipped as these audits make them appear about the workload and staffing issues that plague child protection across the country. I am sure DCS is not auditing their own agencies and if they did they would likely find more of the same of what they are finding at the children's aid offices. I find it absolutely appalling how the government pretends it knows nothing before the audit and takes no responsibility for the mess they create. There are many problems with DCS and CAS agencies, they are overworked, understaffed, don't have enough experienced workers and don't have the resources to appropriately respond to the problems they are dealing with. Rest assured most people aren't sleeping on their desks in these offices so don't let a few bad apples ruin your perspective on these workers. DCS is doing more of the same, glorifying themselves while making children's aid agencies look really bad. Case and point, this review and the CAS in cape breton takeover. You can't expect people to do an outstanding job if you don't give them the tools to do it. The public should be outraged as they pay for these services. I would hope at the end of the day someone would not leave a child in an unsafe circumstance. But while making sure children are safe when is there time for paperwork ?

douthinkso? wrote: There should be regular check ups on this office especially when your dealing with kids safety.

Reality chick wrote: I am not sure this is a Judy Stretch problem. I can not speak to her abilities in this area, but I would think that anyone who is given such an important job as ensuring that children are safe and cared for, as those employed in Family and Children Services, should not need to have a babysitter to ensure they are doing their job. I know what would happen in my work if I (or anyone else) were not performing as expected - we would be dismissed. It does not take a rocket scientist to figure out that a child left standing outside of a hospital alone, is a child at risk. I would question the abilities of those employed within this department.

endlessdaze wrote: No time for paper work? What about dictation and trans-scribing it...forwarding to superiors...those in the position to ensure that ALL results have reached the next level...Works for Doctors...you never see them far away from their little pocket recorders that then goes directly to the appropriate computer, where it is dealt with and passed on...by a live body with a brain whose job it is to ensure this happens. Try it, apparently it works.

The Rat wrote: what a joke she runs Community Services!!! she can't even run her own household!!! her son smashing up a government vechice! she should be canned!!!!

kingscountyvictim wrote: I hope Bob Myles and his staff are scrutinized for what they've done. They ruined my life over a false allogation.

reklaw wrote: It is very unfortunate the government is not taking responsibility for the actions of workers they manage. What is also very unfortunate is the number of people who abuse our systems and require follow up by case workers that could be working on serious threats to childrens safety. In this day in age, whenever a childs welfare is in danger & nothing is done to protect the child, everyone is to blame. Anyone directly involved with the child who chooses to ignore the obvious all the way up to the minister herself.

jdubya wrote: Hence the adage: 'Social Services does it's job, there won't be a job for social services to do'. And once again the #1 job priority of a social worker: Make sure there is work for social workers.

Kerianne wrote: It is true, the errors found in the audit are definately 'alarming', however, I think that stating Mrs. Streatch can't control her own family simply because her son had an accident in her government vehicle is a little outrageous. I can only speculate that the person who made that comment doesn't have any children. Because if they did, they would know that even the most stable, loving, healthy family in the world is still prone to a car accident or two by one of their teenagers.

john_peters29 wrote: Congratulations Judy Streatch on continuing to successfully destroy the reputation of aid societies around Nova Scotia. I cannot commend you enough for finally deciding to make an appearance to audit these agencies after these audits have been MIA for almost ten years. I’m ecstatic to know that social workers will now be more concerned with paper work than actually taking action about child protection. The number of under-staffed agencies in this province is revolting and the high caseloads are unacceptable which is why, perhaps, your department is so eager to jump at the chance to put the blame on these agencies that have been mostly privately run until two years ago, instead of looking within the larger department to find the cause. Obviously, there going to be uncrossed T's and undotted I's when there are a small number of workers for the high number of demands within a large area. Goodluck with this band-aid approach - but it can only stick for so long.

goldie wrote: Folks: This is not an audit in the real sense. This is an audit done by silly sevants themselves!! Would be interesting to know what really happened to get a review going. This children's aid agency is out of King's where they have "secret courts" [provincial Family courts with provincially appointed judges] - no one is allowed in the courts so, they do what ever they want! Here in Halifax we have an open family court at least, even though they try to keep you out, it is open. [ Supreme Court Family Division with federally appointed justices - this system was suppose to be extended all across the province but it started AND STOPPED with Halifax and Cape Breton in 1998, I believe, - The people of this province need to push our politicians to get this open court system extended throughout this province. Anyone has the right to go into court and sit in on any Childen Services case on Halifax and Cape Breton -Do not bother even asking - the court officials lied to us about our ability to do so when we asked BUT when we started walking in they could do nothing to stop us because that was our right and once we knew our right, they could not stop us ] Judy Streatch is breaking the law by refusing to put in place the Annual Review Commmittee for the Children and Family Services Act, and she knows it, and so do a lot of other people! This committee is to be set up with two parent representatives on it to report to the government on the workings of the Act. The Committee has been high-jacked by appointees who are government employees. The parents are rarely appointed, even though qualified parents have applied to be on the committee.The committee has not been working for more than ten years! There is no place where parents can go once child protection gets involved with the family. The lies,distortions, harassment and harm are a terror for the child and the family. Children of Nova Scotia are being harmed everyday by the actions of the very agency put in place to help them. Young teens are acting out with violence against what has happened to them once child protection attaches itself to their family. There are cases after cases in the courts and reported in the newspaper every week. Child protection hides the corruption behind "confidentiallity" to keep it hidden from the public.Take a visit to Devonshire Court to see for yourself. The whole child protection deal needs an INDEPENDENT AUDIT!!

caper70 wrote: Where was Judy Streatch when all this was happening? oh right she was "out for Ice Cream"!!

Heatherdee wrote: Community Services has to be the most troubled department in any province, but especially this one. There are some pretty messed up people out there experiencing some pretty desperate times, some they bring on themselves and some they don't. I trust the Minister will be taking measures to correct some of the damage so people, families can heal.

The Rat wrote: To Kerianne : Obviously you didn't read what I wrote -"government vehicle"; her son never should have been driving it!!!! The problem with Politicians is they are like diapers, they are full of .... and should be changed frequently! Half the time you have Ministers that have zero experience in the Dept. they are running......so they rely on the "experts" that run the depts. like the executive Director. Lets look at Corrections for an example Fred Honsburger the executive Director stated in the paper that inmates eat in the dining hall and there isn't one in Burnside; so this is the bigger question -how are the Politicains to know what is going on when the "experts" they rely on in each dept. are idiots??? I'm sure there is some fool in upper management in Community services that has been telling the Minister all along that everything is running GREAT;) and yes I have kids

matt409 wrote: this great system of ours i'm still waiting for a dog to be removed from babies mothers house - dog already bit the baby once - guess they want the dog to eat her first -what else can i do they won't do nothing

scorned wrote: The only way to get this government to do anything is through public humiliation. [First: for humiliation to work, one must have the ability to feel shame - these bureaucrats are adept, habitual liars who feel no shame - Second: one has to be around to hear the public humiliation - As mentioned above, when the justice publiclly humiliated Leonard Dorion, he was not even there - I was - And I remember thinking the lawyers for the government will probably not even tell Leonard Dorion that he had been publically shamed in court.] And you can bet that even then, folks who failed to do their jobs correctly still won't be fired. The Old Boys Club runs the show in NS, and they look out for each other.

applejack wrote: While I agree that government run agencies are often sorely lacking in their accountability. What all of you have failed to get from this story is that at the time of the audit the Kings County's children's aid office was not being run by the government but was a privately run agency. [ What you do not understand is that the Minister was still responsible for the private agencies - actually the Minister is more directly responsible for the private agencies because they are suppose to report directly to her ! ] As a result of the findings in this recent audit it is now being taken over by the Dept of Community Services. Will things be run any better with this change? that remains to be seen. However one is left to wonder if it could be any worse. With the 'alarming errors' that were uncovered one must also wonder why Robert Myles executive director at the time,would still be employed with an agency in charge of the welfare of our children ? is he not accountable for what happened under his watch?

goldie wrote: Applejack: There is no accountabiity only cover-up in this child protection business. Families are being destroyed by this government run business. It's a money making deal with no or very little interst in helping families. As soon as childrens aid gets involved, the children are labelled "special needs", all of them. Why, so child protection/government can apply for disability payments for each and everyone of the kids they have in care. Child tax benefit credits - where does that go - back to the government?? The child tax benefit credit should be in a trust for the child available for the child when they age out of the sytem. You have hundreds of kids-14, 15, 16 year olds out on the street trying to break free of the system that has destroyed them. Just walk down Spring Garden Road and check it out for yourself. We are allowing this government to do this to our families and children by not finding out what is happening and by allowing it to continue.

nano wrote: Goldie is right...what we have is government investigating itself...this inherently precludes accountability and ONLY conceals the corruption that is pervasive in this department...no doubt Judy Streatch should be terminated from employment as she refuses to acknowledge the problems with the child protection system and is contravening the CFS Act herself with impunity...

lugubrious wrote: I find the comments attributed to the former president of the Kings County aid society’s volunteer board of directors, Kentville Police Chief Mark Mander, toward the audit of the agency are disturbing. He WAS the president of the board of directors, wasn't he? "Informing"? "Process based"? Dotting i's and crossing t's? Why did the board need to be "informed" by the audit? Did they not know that violent parents or drug using parents were being labelled as low risk caregivers? Is this the "process" he's referring to? Maybe it's the process that led the board to be uninformed as to what was happening to the children under their care. Who would know? Maybe instead if i's and t's and dotting or crossing, he should be concerned with the grammatical problem when "...a worker labelled a high-risk sex offender in "a parenting role" with children as an "’unsuitable association’" rather than "risk of sexual abuse...." Comparing putting a child under the direct care of of a high risk sex offender with grammatical errors is disgusting. How about "...a parent designated high-risk whom the office allowed to resume an unsupervised caregiving role, without appropriately deciding whether the children were still at risk...." Mr. Mander did not want to comment on this type of audit finding. Perhaps he could compare this to using a singular instead of a plural, or a typo. The fact that Mr. Mander would make such comments (or lack thereof) in a newspaper article about an agency that he was directly responsible for says a lot about his commitment to the position. Apparently he is more concerned about covering his own behind than the behinds of the children who were in danger. The BOARD decided within the "last month" to integrate into the department? They probably had lots of choice after the audit..... Mr. Mander should just admit the board and those they oversaw just screwed up. There is no room for political cowardice when it comes to ensuring the safety and welfare of children. At least he had the nerve to make some ill chosen comments. Where is Robert Myles, the executive director at the time of the audit? Well, at least we know that he wasn't fired. "...Community Services Minister Judy Streatch said the audit findings were troubling. But despite the problems, she said no children were left in unsafe situations...." How does the Minister know this? Later in the article, it said: "...a parent designated high-risk whom the office allowed to resume an unsupervised caregiving role, without appropriately deciding whether the children were still at risk...." If it was not decided appropriately if there was a risk or not, how do you know the children were safe in an unsupervised environment? The Minister's comments are ridiculous! Well done Mr. Mander, Mr. Myles and Minister Streatch. The children of Kings County are grateful for your political efforts on their behalf. Thank heaven for auditors.

Alain wrote: A very complex series of situations. You can only do the best you can. I wish them continued success in what is often a very difficult and challenging field.

CapeHalifax wrote: One expects an audit to find deficiencies ? Holy cow dude could you be more blasé ? I guess as long as your paycheque is still coming in there is nothing to worry about. Whose brother-in-law is this guy ? What a pitiful state this province's affairs are in.

Raoul Duke wrote: I feel there is an awful lot of information missing pertinent to this particular case, however, the simple fact thet Community Services is performing an internal audit is very unsettling. This audit should be administered by the NS Ombudsman's office. Quite frankly, an internal audit presents an opportunity to clean up the mistakes quickly and quietly, and without informing the general public. Here in Halifax, Children's Aid/Child Protective Services/Family and Children's Service already operates under the umbrella of the Dept. Of Community Services and am a little concerned it isn't that way provincewide. Our family has had to deal with Children's Aid recently, and I would love to have our case audited, as there are a great many issues that we had to overcome and I would sleep easier at night knowing that our family wasn't used as a means of an inexperienced newbie worker trying to justify her own personal agenda. I've been told directly that the only persons that Child Protection workers have to answer to and account for their actions is the Office of the Ombudsman. FWIW... they are now called Child Protective Services so they don't actually have to be responsible for the children, but as a means of punishing the parents/adults/guardians involved in cases. In my day... teens didn't hold a lot of respect for the law, but we certainly respected our parents (in general), which was enough to keep the majority on a path to becoming successful adults.
singlemommy wrote:I am writing to you to let you know that I have read this article and I am very upset by some of the things said in it. It has been stated that the office was not doing their job. I have to agree with that statement whole heartedly. I went to the department 2 yrs ago when my 5 yr old daughter came home from her weekend visits with her father. She informed me that her father and his girlfriend at that time were drinking and driving with her in the vehicle and he had thrown a beer can at the girlfriend while she was driving and nothing was done about this. They told me to contact the police which I did. The police told me they couldn't do anything with out instructions from Family and Children's Services. I called them back and told them that. I got a complete runaround during that time. The following summer the same issue came up again, again I called the office and told them what my daughter was telling me again, again I got the same runaround. How can they make a statement saying no child was left in an "unsafe situation" when I was telling them that my daughter's life was in danger? I am very, very, upset by this article. what were these people doing when I was asking them to help protect my daughter?

valley gurl wrote: we recently made calls to family and childrens re concerns of a 2 year old's witnessing violence...ah let's see now.. that was about a month ago we have yet to hear from them.and we were told on the phone they don't get involved in child custody cases.....hello!!!Mom is forced to deal with the abuser regularly during acess scheduled and agreed to [by parents and by the court.]and has no recourse when he becomes abusive at those times,,and yes police have been called...[ we are still waiting to hear from them as well]follow up???? guess we will have to wait untill something really bad occurs ,then folks will want to know why we didn't see the signs /or do something about it earlier....

Ocean Beach-California wrote: Bingo! Now it's coming together! There's more to this story than meets the eye. When a woman, we'll call, Leslie made a complaint to the police department about the Kings County child protection agency, the police department refused to take the complaint!! NO WONDER - THE CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD WAS THE POLICE CHIEF!! How convenient is that?? The same thing with Larry and Carline when they made their complaint to the police department, they refused to take it, the same thing with Ali,the police refused to take the complaint. We need an independent audit of the whole child protection business!! What's going on with child protection needs to be unravelled AND NOW! This is no AUDIT! It's nothing more that what should be done by any organization - it's called supervision and it should be done on a regular basis. This smacks of corruption and at the least CONFLICT OF INTEREST. HUM! wonder what the conflict of interest commissioner would be willing to do about this and others like it?

Ocean Beach-California wrote: Hi Folks, Read this when you have the time. Finally someone has got it right! If these children of the sect were abused by the men, then it is the men who need to be apprehended or arrested, NOT THE CHILDREN. The children are the victims and have been traumtized by the very agency put in place to help them. They will need professional help to get over this. The same thing goes on here in Nova Scotia with child protection. This business needs to be looked at for what it is. The theory, if there is a theory, is wrong. The ones that are doing the harm to the children need to be made accountable. What we have here in Nova Scotia for child protection is bringing harm to children. We need to agency to see what is actually happening to the children. Children in our society are acting out with violence and self destructive behaviors as a result of what has happened to them once child protection becomes involved in their lives. This needs to be changed. Child protection needs to be made accountable for the harm they are doing to children and society as a whole. US May 23, 2008 Court Says Texas Illegally Seized Sect's Children

nano wrote:Ocean Beach-California is right on...what we have is government auditing itself...this inherently precludes accountability and conceals the corruption that is pervasive in this department...no doubt Judy Streatch should be terminated from employment as she refuses to acknowledge the problems with the child protection system and is contravening the CFS Act with impunity...

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

33. Auditor General of Canada Exposes Shoddy Childrens Services in First Nations Communities

Auditor General of Canada Exposes Shoddy Childrens Services in First Nations Communities


Except for the numbers and the percentages of children apprehended, what is being exposed concerning inadequate services for children and families to prevent apprehensions is true for most, if not all provincially funded Children Services.

What people are not understanding is that there is a BIG MONEY connected with Children Service. To justify this money, the governments believe they need numerous apprhensions.


In a additions there are numerous other government departments, health services, organizations, and individuals that are getting fat contracts connected with Children Services. In turn, these fat contracts justify the existence of many of these other government entities .


It does not matter to this system whether they permanently take your children, grandchildren, nieces or nephews or if they only have them in the system for 1 1/2 to 2 years, making you fight in the the courts to get them back - It is still feeding the system - And they will go after other innocent families once they throw your emotionally scarred children back to you .

We hope the Auditor General's report might be an eye opener to the people of Nova Scotia - AND a

WARNING TO THE GOVERNMENT OF NOVA SCOTIA
We are exposing you
You will be found out
You will be held accountable !


See full list of Canada Auditor General Reports
See full 2008 May Report of the Auditor General of Canada
See Chapter 4 of 2008 May Report of the Auditor General of Canada -First Nations Child and Family Services Program


Government News Release:
Funding for child welfare on reserves does not fulfill federal obligations
http://www.oag-bvg.gc.ca/internet/English/mr_20080506_e_30733.html

Ottawa, 6 May 2008—Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) does not take sufficient account of federal policy requirements in its funding of First Nations agencies to operate child welfare services, says the Auditor General of Canada, Sheila Fraser, in her Report tabled today in the House of Commons. Government policy requires that services to First Nations children on reserves meet provincial standards, be reasonably comparable with services to children off reserves, and be culturally appropriate.

“Funding for the services needs to match the requirements of the policy, reflect differing needs, and support the delivery of services that are culturally appropriate,” said Ms. Fraser.

The Report notes that the funding formula to cover the operating costs of First Nations agencies was developed in 1988. It has not changed significantly since then—except recently in Alberta—to reflect variations in provincial legislation and the way child welfare services have evolved. In addition, the formula assumes that all First Nations agencies have the same percentage of children in care and that these children all have similar needs.

“In practice, the needs of children in care who are served by First Nations agencies vary widely. The outdated funding formula means that some children and families are not getting the services they need,” said Ms. Fraser.

Nationally, a little over five percent of children living on reserves are in care; the Report estimates that this is almost eight times the proportion of children in care residing off reserves.

The Auditors General of Canada and British Columbia are issuing separate reports to their respective legislatures on child welfare services to Aboriginal and First Nations children. The two audits were performed concurrently to obtain a broader view and understanding and to minimize duplication of effort.

The chapter “First Nations Child and Family Services Program” is available on the Office of the Auditor General of Canada website. The Report of the BC Auditor General is available at http://www.bcauditor.com/.


Chapter 4 of 2008 May Report of the Auditor General of Canada -First Nations Child and Family Services Program

http://www.oag-bvg.gc.ca/internet/English/parl_oag_200805_04_e_30700.html

Foreword

Children are among the most vulnerable people in society. All provinces in Canada have child welfare legislation in place to protect children from abuse and neglect and to help families overcome their problems so that children can grow up in a safe home environment. Where this is not possible, the goal is to find a safe, permanent home for the child.

The Auditors General of Canada and British Columbia are issuing separate audit reports to their respective legislatures on the management of child welfare services, including protection, for Aboriginal and First Nations children and families. The two audits were performed concurrently to present a broader perspective on child welfare services in British Columbia. Our offices shared methodologies and met jointly with some Aboriginal and First Nations agencies and other organizations.

The Auditor General of Canada looked at the First Nations Child and Family Services Program of Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) not only in British Columbia, but also nationwide. The audit covered primarily the management structure, the processes, and the federal resources used to implement the federal policy on First Nations child and family services on reserves. INAC funds the operating and administration costs of child welfare services provided to children and families ordinarily resident on reserves, as well as the costs related to children brought into care.

The Auditor General of British Columbia assessed whether the province's Ministry of Children and Family Development has the program design, resourcing, management, and accountability reporting to deliver effective, culturally appropriate services to Aboriginal children and families. The Ministry delivers child welfare services through both mainstream and Aboriginal service teams, as well as through Aboriginal and First Nations agencies that provide the services—either fully or in partnership with the Ministry. The Ministry is also responsible for ensuring that child welfare services meet the requirements set out in provincial legislation.

The federal and BC governments share similar principles in their policies for delivering child welfare services, both on and off reserves. Children and their families are to have equitable access to comparable services that are effective in meeting their needs. Where Aboriginal children, including First Nations children, are concerned, the services are to be culturally appropriate. In addition, both governments support efforts to have Aboriginal and First Nations agencies deliver the services.

Outcomes for children
Nationally, INAC data show that about 5 percent of the First Nations children living on reserves are in care; the Auditor General estimates that this proportion is almost eight times that of children in care residing off reserves.

Studies indicate that in British Columbia, an Aboriginal child is about six times more likely to be taken into care than a non-Aboriginal child. Of all BC children who are in care, 51 percent are Aboriginal—yet Aboriginal people represent only about 8 percent of BC's population.

Neither the federal nor the BC government knows enough about the outcomes. What happens to these children who receive child welfare services? Are they better off? Our legislatures and Aboriginal and First Nations communities need to know if the services being provided make a difference. More and better information on outcomes is critical to measure the impact of services and to change or improve them where necessary.

Funding practices
Neither government takes policy requirements sufficiently into account when establishing levels of funding for child welfare services. Under federal and provincial policies, Aboriginal children, including First Nations children, should have equitable access to a level and quality of services comparable with those provided to other children. Funding for the services needs to match the requirements of the policies and also support the delivery of services that are culturally appropriate—which is known to take more time and resources. Current funding practices do not lead to equitable funding among Aboriginal and First Nations communities.

Need for improvements
Although access to good child welfare services alone cannot resolve some of the problems faced by Aboriginal and First Nations children and families, whether on or off reserves, the services are essential to protect these children from abuse or neglect. The overrepresentation of Aboriginal and First Nations children in care—and the indications that outcomes are poor—call for all parties involved in the child welfare system to find better ways of meeting these children's needs.

Our audits have identified a number of other problems that also remain to be resolved, in the areas of staffing, capacity development, and monitoring. We urge our respective governments, working together and with Aboriginal and First Nations organizations, to take prompt action to carry out our recommendations.






Sheila Fraser, FCA
Auditor General of Canada
John Doyle, MBA, CA
Auditor General of British Columbia


Main Points
What we examined
Under federal government policy, Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) is responsible for supporting the provision of child welfare services for on-reserve First Nations children and families. The Department provides funding to First Nations, their child welfare agencies, and provinces to cover the operating costs of child welfare services on reserves and the costs related to children brought into care. These services are expected to meet provincial legislation and standards, be reasonably comparable with those provided off reserves to children in similar circumstances, and be appropriate to the culture of First Nations people. The policy also confirms the federal government's view that provinces have jurisdiction over the welfare of all children, including those living on reserves.

The audit examined the First Nations Child and Family Services Program of INAC. It also included, where relevant, the support available from other INAC programs and programs of other federal departments. The audit covered primarily the management structure and processes and the resources used to implement the government policy on First Nations child and family services on reserves. We interviewed officials of INAC and other departments and reviewed relevant files and documents. We also sought the views of First Nations and First Nations child welfare agencies and met with some provincial officials.

Why it's important
Children are among the most vulnerable people in society. Some of the most vulnerable children in Canada are First Nations children. Information collected by INAC shows that the number of on-reserve First Nations children in care has grown considerably over the last 10 years, as have program expenditures. At the end of March 2007, about 8,300 First Nations children ordinarily resident on reserves were in care. This represents a little over 5 percent of all children residing on reserves (almost eight times the proportion of children residing off reserves). INAC spent $270 million in 2007 to directly support on-reserve children placed in care and another $180 million for the operations, including prevention, of child welfare services for First Nations.

What we found
The funding INAC provides to First Nations child welfare agencies for operating child welfare services is not based on the actual cost of delivering those services. It is based on a funding formula that the Department applies nationwide. The formula dates from 1988. It has not been changed to reflect variations in legislation and in child welfare services from province to province, or the actual number of children in care. The use of the formula has led to inequities. Under a new formula the Department has developed to take into account current legislation in Alberta, funding to First Nations agencies in that province for the operations and prevention components of child welfare services will have increased by 74 percent when the formula is fully implemented in 2010.
The Department has not defined key policy requirements related to comparability and cultural appropriateness of services. In addition, it has insufficient assurance that the services provided by First Nations agencies to children on reserves are meeting provincial legislation and standards.
INAC has not identified and collected the kind of information it would need to determine whether the program that supports child welfare services on reserves is achieving positive outcomes for children. The information the Department collects is mostly for program budgeting purposes.
The Department has responded. Indian and Northern Affairs Canada agrees with all recommendations. In its response to each recommendation, the Department has indicated the action it has taken or will take.

Introduction
4.1 Children are among the most vulnerable people in society. In Canada, child welfare is a provincial responsibility. According to the Centre of Excellence for Child Welfare, "child welfare" refers to a group of services designed to promote the well-being of children by ensuring their safety, and to support families in successfully caring for their children.

4.2 All provinces have child welfare statutes in place. Although these statutes have similarities, they vary in how a child in need of protection is defined, the age of children to be protected, investigation procedures, and timelines.

4.3 For First Nations children and families living on reserves, access to child welfare services within their communities is a recent undertaking. There is no explicit reference to child welfare on reserves in either the Constitution Act,1867 or the Indian Act. As a result of the application of section 88 of the Indian Act (extending to First Nations people provincial laws of general application), provincial legislation regarding child welfare is deemed to apply on reserves.

Background on First Nations child welfare services
4.4 Before the 1950s, federal officials intervened in extreme cases if a child living on reserve was abused or neglected; however, their intervention was not based in law. From the 1950s on, provinces began to deliver child welfare services on reserves.

4.5 In the 1970s, First Nations began to express dissatisfaction with the way provinces delivered child welfare services: many First Nations children were adopted out of their communities, some even outside Canada, severing the children's ties to their communities and culture. To remedy these problems, First Nations demanded greater control and jurisdiction over child welfare. Some First Nations developed their own child welfare agencies. The development of First Nations agencies funded by Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) continued until the mid-1980s, when the Department put a moratorium on the creation of new agencies until the adoption of a federal child welfare policy for First Nations children.

4.6 In 1990, a First Nations child welfare policy was approved by the federal government. This policy promoted the development of culturally appropriate child and family services controlled by First Nations for the benefit of on-reserve children and their families. Under the policy, a First Nations agency must obtain its mandate from the province and provide child welfare services in accordance with provincial legislation and standards. The policy also recognizes the need to ensure that the services delivered on reserves are culturally appropriate and reasonably comparable with those delivered off reserves in similar circumstances. Over the years, the policy has been confirmed through several government and Treasury Board decisions.

4.7 Today, most provinces provide delegated authority for child welfare services on reserves to local First Nations agencies. These agencies generally are responsible for receiving and investigating reports of possible child abuse or neglect and for taking appropriate actions to ensure the safety and protection of children and promote their well-being. INAC considers that it is the responsibility of each provincial director of child welfare to ensure that the delegated authority is appropriately exercised and to take remedial action when deemed necessary.

4.8 First Nations Child and Family Services Program. INAC created the First Nations Child and Family Services Program in 1990, based on the new First Nations child welfare policy. Under the program, INAC provides funding to First Nations, their organizations, and provinces to cover the operating and administrative costs of the child welfare services provided to children and families living on reserves, as well as the costs related to First Nations children placed in care. In addition, a single First Nation or a group of First Nations can obtain funding to prepare for delivering child welfare services. According to INAC, 108 First Nations agencies across the country are now providing at least a portion of child welfare services to about 442 of the 606 First Nations covered by the program. Yukon and provincial agencies serve the rest.

4.9 In 2007, from over $5 billion appropriated by Parliament for transfers and services to First Nations, INAC spent $450 million on this program ($270 million on direct support for First Nations children in care and another $180 million on the operations and administration of child welfare services provided to First Nations). INAC does not track separately what it spends on managing the program.

Child welfare on reserves
4.10 Studies have linked the difficulties faced by many Aboriginal families to historical experiences and poor socio-economic conditions. The Report of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples linked the residential school system to the disruption of Aboriginal families. Data from the 2003 Canadian Incidence Study of Reported Child Abuse and Neglect link poverty, inadequate housing, and caregiver substance misuse on many reserves to the higher substantiated incidence of child neglect occurring on reserves compared to non-Aboriginal children off reserves. Given these linkages, the solution to some of the problems faced by on-reserve children and families do not depend entirely on the availability and quality of child welfare services. Exhibit 4.1 summarizes some of the current challenges that face First Nations children and families as presented to us at meetings with First Nations.

Exhibit 4.1—Challenges facing First Nations children and families

Socio-economic conditions. Many First Nations face difficult socio-economic conditions. Some communities are in crisis. According to First Nations, these conditions present different challenges for First Nations than for mainstream society, but are not taken into account in the child welfare system. There is also a need to address the underlying causes of child welfare cases.

Jurisdiction. First Nations maintain that they have never surrendered their right to care for their children. These rights extend to all members of a First Nation, whether they live on or off reserves.

Legislation. First Nations consider that they have limited input into provincial child welfare legislation. Some provincial standards can be obstacles to providing culturally appropriate child welfare services, which can result in the placement of First Nations children out of their communities.

Program design. As currently designed, the INAC program does not have the flexibility to move funds between operations of an agency and services to children in care. First Nations consider that, at times, this forces agencies to take children in care in order to access funds to provide the required services.

Access to and availability of services. First Nations state that funding allocated to provide child welfare services is not adequate. Travel needs alone require a lot of resources as specialized services are located in large urban centres. They also face difficulties in attracting workers, partly because INAC funding is not sufficient to pay competitive salaries and benefits. The situation is worse in remote and isolated communities.

Emerging issues. Some First Nations note that the number of First Nations children born addicted to drugs is increasing. This causes strains on child welfare resources as these children require special medical or social services that are not always covered by existing funding.
Source: Interviews with First Nations and documents provided by them (unaudited)

4.11 An analysis funded by INAC, contained in the Wen:de Report, found significant differences between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal children who come into contact with the child welfare system. For example, Aboriginal children are more likely to be reported for neglect than non-Aboriginal children, but they are not over-represented among reports of child abuse. Additionally, Aboriginal children are twice as likely to be investigated for possible abuse or neglect as non-Aboriginal children. Neglect of Aboriginal children was also confirmed 2.5 times more often. Further, Aboriginal children were more likely to require ongoing services and to be placed in care.

4.12 As shown in Exhibit 4.2, between 1997 and 2001 there was a rapid increase in the number of on-reserve children placed in care. Over this period, the total number of children in care increased by 65 percent, from 5,340 to 8,791 children. This number has remained around the same level since then. At the end of March 2007, there were about 8,300 on-reserve children in care, a little over 5 percent of all children aged from 0 to 18 living on reserves. We estimate that this proportion is almost eight times that of children in care living off reserves.

Exhibit 4.2—The number of on-reserve children placed in care remains high

4.13 Little is known about the outcomes of children placed in care, whether they are Aboriginal or non-Aboriginal. The limited information available regarding children in care shows that they appear to have poor outcomes—a recent British Columbia report noted that the outcomes related to children taken into care in that province were poor. A child who has been in care is less likely to complete high school than a child who has never been in care. For Aboriginal children in care, education results are poorer than for non-Aboriginal children in care.

Focus of the audit
4.14 In this audit, we examined whether INAC is fulfilling its responsibilities, under federal policy, to support child welfare services to on-reserve children and families that are culturally appropriate and reasonably comparable with provincial services available off reserves in similar circumstances. We also looked at how INAC determines whether these services meet provincial legislation and standards. We examined how INAC funds the delivery of child welfare services under its First Nations Child and Family Services Program. We also looked at whether accountability for providing the required services is clearly established. Finally, we examined how the Department determines whether the program is achieving expected results.

4.15 We interviewed officials of INAC at the Department's headquarters and in regional offices in British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, and Quebec, and reviewed relevant files and documents. We sought the views of First Nations and their child welfare agencies through visits and consultations. We also met with some provincial officials and organizations, and child welfare specialists.

4.16 More details on the audit objectives, scope, approach, and criteria are in About the Audit at the end of this chapter.

Observations and Recommendations
Program implementation
The program has not defined key policy requirements
4.17 The First Nations Child and Family Services Program was established by Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) to carry out the federal policy commitment to fund the provision, for on-reserve children, of child welfare services that are culturally appropriate, that comply with provincial legislation and standards, and that are reasonably comparable with services provided off reserves in similar circumstances. The policy confirms the federal government's view that provinces have jurisdiction over the welfare of all children and that the federal government is responsible for funding reasonably comparable programs and services for children living on reserves.

4.18 To deliver this program as the policy requires, we expected that the Department would, at a minimum, know what "culturally appropriate services" means, what provincial legislation and standards require, and what services are available in neighbouring off-reserve communities to children in similar circumstances.

4.19 Comparability. We found that INAC has not analyzed and compared the child welfare services available on reserves with those in neighbouring communities off reserves. However, INAC officials and staff from First Nations agencies told us that child welfare services in First Nations communities are not comparable with off-reserve services.

4.20 Child welfare may be complicated by social problems or health issues. We found that First Nations agencies cannot always rely on other social and health services to help keep a family together or provide the necessary services. Access to such services differs not only on and off reserves but among First Nations as well. INAC has not determined what other social and health services are available on reserves to support child welfare services. On-reserve child welfare services cannot be comparable if they have to deal with problems that, off reserves, would be addressed by other social and health services.

4.21 The context in which child welfare services are delivered can be very different on and off reserves and also differs from one First Nation to another. Making comparisons could be difficult in remote and isolated areas, where First Nations constitute a large proportion of the population and provincial services are limited.

4.22 Moreover, in some cases, comparability may not be appropriate. For example, one First Nation we looked at had 14 percent of its children in care as of March 2007. In another case, a First Nations agency advised us that it has taken 70 children into care over a three-year-period because of parental problems with addictions. In situations like these, availability of placement opportunities and access to support services in the communities present difficulties. In such communities, the well-being of children and their chance of achieving positive outcomes can be compromised if the level and range of services are not adequate.

4.23 Cultural appropriateness. We found that INAC has not defined the meaning of "culturally appropriate services." Further, while INAC has provided funding to First Nations to develop culturally appropriate standards for the provinces we covered, only British Columbia has approved Aboriginal standards, although BC's own standards contain an Aboriginal component. However, Aboriginal standards are intended for use only by the Aboriginal agencies, and in 2007, these agencies were providing services to about 65 percent of on-reserve children in care in British Columbia.

4.24 The number of First Nations agencies being funded is the main indicator of cultural appropriateness that INAC uses. According to INAC, the fact that 82 First Nations agencies have been created since the current federal policy was adopted means there are more First Nations children receiving culturally appropriate child welfare services. However, we found that many agencies provide only a limited portion of the services while provinces continue to provide the rest. Further, INAC does not know nationally how many of the children placed in care remain in their communities or are in First Nations foster homes or institutions.

4.25 In our view, INAC needs to define what is meant by reasonably comparable services and find ways to know whether the services that the program supports are in fact reasonably comparable. Further, the work of developing and implementing culturally appropriate standards for First Nations agencies to provide culturally appropriate child welfare services that meet the requirements of provincial legislation needs to be completed.

4.26 Recommendation. Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, in cooperation with provinces and First Nations agencies, should

define what is meant by services that are reasonably comparable,
define its expectations for culturally appropriate services and standards, and
implement this definition and these expectations into the program.
The Department's response. Indian and Northern Affairs Canada agrees. In partnership with provinces and First Nations—beginning with Alberta in the 2007–08 fiscal year—the program is moving to an enhanced prevention-focused approach over the next five years.

Tripartite Enhanced Prevention Frameworks will more clearly define services that are reasonably comparable with services provided in similar circumstances by the provinces to children living off reserve. Definitions of culturally appropriate services will be developed through discussions with the various First Nations based upon community circumstances, and are targeted for completion in 2012.

Responsibilities and services are not always well defined
4.27 Given the complexity associated with coordinating the federal policy of covering the costs of child welfare on reserves, the provinces' jurisdiction over child welfare, and the First Nations delivery of services, we expected to see agreements that would clearly define the respective responsibilities of INAC, the provinces, and the First Nations agencies, and the services to be provided to children. We reviewed the agreements that INAC or the federal government has signed with the provinces and the agreements signed among the provinces, First Nations agencies, and INAC.

4.28 We found that INAC has no agreement on child welfare services with three of the five provinces we covered in the audit—BC, Manitoba, and Quebec. The federal government has agreements with Alberta and Ontario that define these provinces' responsibilities for child welfare services on reserves, and how it will fund these services. However, the child welfare sections of the 1965 Canada-Ontario Welfare Agreement have not been updated since 1981. INAC officials told us that this has no impact on its transferring funds to Ontario to pay for services to children living on reserves. There are, however, provisions in the 1965 Agreement to keep it up-to-date and these could be used to ensure that both the Agreement and the services that the federal government pay for are current.

4.29 Under the program, except in Ontario, INAC needs confirmation that First Nations agencies are mandated by their respective province. This is done through delegation agreements. These agreements can be bilateral, between a province and a First Nations agency, or tripartite, when INAC is a signatory to the agreement. We found that the content of these agreements varies widely. Some agreements clearly define roles and responsibilities and the services to be provided. Others make it difficult to find out what services will be provided to First Nations children and by whom.

4.30 We also found that funding arrangements between INAC and First Nations agencies are generally not tied to the responsibilities that First Nations agencies have under their agreements with provinces; INAC pre-determines the level of funding it will provide to a First Nations agency without regard to the terms of the agreement between the First Nation and the province. Moreover, the funding arrangements rarely define the child welfare services to be made available by the funded agency, the results expected, or the desired outcomes. In the Alberta region, changes being made to the program require each First Nations agency to develop a business plan that outlines goals, targets, and strategies to achieve them.

4.31 In our view, ensuring the safety, protection, and well-being of children requires that INAC, the provinces, and First Nations agencies have a clear understanding of their responsibilities. Up-to-date agreements among them that clearly define their respective responsibilities and the services to be provided are essential.

4.32 Recommendation. Indian and Northern Affairs Canada should ensure that it has up-to-date agreements with the provinces and with First Nations agencies in place. As a minimum, these agreements should consistently define who is responsible for providing the child welfare services required under provincial legislation, and what services will be provided.

The Department's response. Once an enhanced prevention approach model is approved, business plans will be prepared by funding recipients. The Department is already working on arrangements with other provinces to ensure roles and responsibilities and services to be provided are accurately defined and funded. Recipients in those provinces will be asked to develop work plans in the 2008–09 fiscal year, based on those arrangements.

The Department has limited assurance that services meet legislation and standards
4.33 Given how important the standards of care required under provincial legislation are to the safety, protection, and well-being of children, we expected that INAC would obtain assurance from provinces that First Nations agencies deliver child welfare services in accordance with provincial legislation and standards.

4.34 We found that in the five provinces we covered, INAC has limited assurance that child welfare services delivered on reserves by First Nations agencies comply with provincial legislation and standards. INAC officials in Ontario told us that the Department places reliance on the provincial delivery system and that it is informed by the province when there are problems.

4.35 We also found that Alberta and BC did inform the Department that certain provincial legislative requirements and standards were not being fully met by First Nations agencies due to a lack of funding or of flexibility in using funds available. In those cases, for example, there were indications that some on-reserve First Nations children were not receiving prevention or in-home services and were instead being placed into care.

4.36 INAC receives reports from two provinces on some First Nations agencies' compliance with provincial legislation and standards. We reviewed some of those reports and, in our view, certain observations should be of concern to INAC. For example, some First Nations agencies had low rates of compliance with standards of appropriate child welfare services. INAC officials told us that some provinces have intervened in critical situations. We think that when the Department is informed of deficiencies, it should follow up to ensure that timely remedial actions are taken. Without assurance that standards are met and that appropriate actions are taken, INAC does not know whether on-reserve First Nations children are adequately protected and are receiving appropriate services.

4.37 Recommendation. When negotiating agreements with each province, Indian and Northern Affairs Canada should, in consultation with First Nations, seek assurance that provincial legislation is being met. INAC should also analyze the information obtained and follow-up when necessary.

The Department's response. Indian and Northern Affairs Canada agrees and has already initiated discussions with its partners—provinces/territories and First Nation agencies—to clarify accountabilities for monitoring and to support First Nation agencies' adherence to provincial/territorial standards.

Indian and Northern Affairs Canada is working to revise its funding agreements to require assurances that provincial legislation is being met and to follow up when necessary.

Coordination with other programs is poor
4.38 As the protection and well-being of First Nations children may require support from other programs, we expected that INAC would facilitate coordination between the First Nations Child and Family Services Program and other relevant INAC programs, and facilitate access to other federal programs as appropriate.

4.39 We found fundamental differences between the views of INAC and Health Canada on responsibility for funding Non-Insured Health Benefits for First Nations children who are placed in care. According to INAC, the services available to these children before they are placed in care should continue to be available. According to Health Canada, however, an on-reserve child in care should have access to all programs and services available to any child in care in a province, and INAC should take full financial responsibility for these costs in accordance with federal policy. INAC says it does not have the authority to fund services that are covered by Health Canada. These differences in views can have an impact on the availability, timing, and level of services to First Nations children. For example, it took nine months for a First Nations agency to receive confirmation that an $11,000 piece of equipment for a child in care would be paid for by INAC.

4.40 First Nations children with a high degree of medical need are in an ambiguous situation. Some children placed into care may not need protection but may need extensive medical services that are not available on reserves. By placing these children in care outside of their First Nations communities, they can have access to the medical services they need. INAC is working with Health Canada to collect more information about the extent of such cases and their costs. Exhibit 4.3 outlines a proposal from the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada to deal with these and other issues.

Exhibit 4.3—A dispute-resolution mechanism is needed

Jordan's Principle

The provision of services to children in care with complex medical needs often involves many federal departments, provincial ministries, and agencies. Jurisdictional disputes do arise and may result in delays or disrupt services to First Nations children that are otherwise available to other Canadian children. The First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada proposes that to deal with these disputes, the government or ministry/department of first contact pay for the services without delay or disruption and then refer the question of responsibility for funding to a jurisdictional dispute-resolution mechanism.

The Society calls this proposal Jordan's Principle, in the name of a child who died in hospital while governments debated who was responsible to pay for his care when discharged.

However, in our view, a dispute-resolution mechanism will not work in the presence of irreconcilable differences and without a change in funding authorities. Such difficulties need to be resolved if this proposal is to result in better and timelier services to First Nations children.

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4.41 We found that responsibilities for coordination are not clearly defined. INAC officials told us that First Nations agencies are expected to identify linkages between the various programs funded by INAC and by other federal departments. However, we found that some services are not available in all First Nations communities; for example, INAC's Family Violence Prevention Program is accessed by approximately half of the First Nations communities. Further, departments' rules for their respective programs, as approved by the Treasury Board, do not always facilitate coordination.

4.42 Recommendation. Indian and Northern Affairs Canada should resolve the fundamental differences with Health Canada related to their respective funding responsibilities for services to First Nations children in care.

The Department's response. Indian and Northern Affairs Canada and Health Canada are working to establish clear agreements on roles and responsibilities, in line with current program authorities before they expire.

4.43 Recommendation. In order to develop a coordinated approach to the provision of federally funded child welfare services, Indian and Northern Affairs Canada should

ensure that the Department's program rules facilitate coordination; and
in cooperation with First Nations, work with the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat and other federal departments that fund programs for First Nations children to facilitate access to their programs.
The Department's response. Indian and Northern Affairs Canada agrees to work with federal partners to improve coordination efforts at headquarters and regional levels and will support First Nations Child and Family Services Agencies as they develop and implement a more coordinated approach to the provision of federally funded child welfare services. Currently in Alberta, agencies are using a business plan mechanism to reflect and report on coordination efforts. As the enhanced approach is adopted in other provinces, the same mechanism will be used.

INAC devotes limited human resources to the program
4.44 INAC's headquarters allocates staff to the management and policy direction of the First Nations Child and Family Services Program, while regional offices allocate staff to the program's delivery. We reviewed organization charts and discussed human resources issues with department officials to assess whether INAC had a sufficient number of people to carry out the program.

4.45 We found that the level of human resources INAC devotes to either managing or delivering the program is insufficient. At headquarters, no executive positions are dedicated full-time to this program, and for many years, only a few positions were devoted to the policy direction and analysis of the program. Most regional offices we visited do not have enough staff to carry out all aspects of the program's management structure. For example, INAC officials informed us that a lack of resources is the main reason why on-site compliance reviews of First Nations agencies were not carried out as required.

4.46 Although INAC has increased the number of positions for the program at headquarters, many of the staff are acting in their positions. And while two positions are to be added to the Alberta regional office, there are indications that implementing the new funding formula and approach will draw significantly on existing resources. For example, the Alberta regional office will need to review business plans coming from 18 Alberta First Nations agencies, and monitor their implementation.

4.47 Recommendation. Indian and Northern Affairs Canada should examine the human resources requirements for this program and allocate sufficient resources to meet these requirements.

The Department's response. Indian and Northern Affairs Canada agrees and has already made major progress on a comprehensive human resources plan that places the needs for this program in the broader context of the wide range of pressures on the Department.

Funding of services
Program funding is inequitable
4.48 We expected that INAC would design its funding of the First Nations Child and Family Services Program in a manner consistent with the program's policy and objectives. We reviewed INAC funding practices, including funding arrangements between INAC and First Nations or provinces.

4.49 INAC funds some provinces for delivering child welfare services directly where First Nations do not. INAC has agreements with three of the five provinces we covered on how they will be funded to provide child welfare services on reserves. We found that in these provinces, INAC reimburses all or an agreed-on share of their operating and administrative costs of delivering child welfare services directly to First Nations and of the costs of children placed in care. Exhibit 4.4 summarizes the Department's approaches to funding the provinces covered in our audit.

Exhibit 4.4—INAC funding methods vary by province
British Columbia. INAC signed a memorandum of understanding with the province in 1996. Under this agreement, INAC reimburses the province for the administration and supervision costs of on-reserve child welfare services and for the on-reserve children in care costs.

Alberta. Canada signed an agreement with Alberta in 1991. The agreement provides for the reimbursement to Alberta of the estimated operating and administrative costs of the child welfare services delivered directly by the province to some First Nations and the actual costs of services to children from these First Nations who are placed in care.

Ontario. Child welfare services are covered under the 1965 Canada-Ontario Welfare Agreement. INAC pays the province an agreed-on share of its costs to deliver child welfare services to on-reserve First Nations people, including the children in care costs. In addition to regular funding, INAC also provides over $18 million annually to Ontario for enhanced prevention services provided directly to First Nations and to child welfare agencies controlled by First Nations, as well as First Nations agencies that are developing but not yet mandated.

Quebec. INAC has no agreement with the province. INAC signs contribution arrangements with provincial agencies directly providing services to some First Nations. Funding for the operations of these agencies is generally based on the funding formula used to fund First Nations agencies. Costs of services to children in care are reimbursed in the same manner as those reimbursed to First Nations agencies.

Manitoba. INAC has no agreement with the province and no funds are directly provided to it. INAC funds First Nations agencies to deliver all services on reserves.

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4.50 INAC funding to cover the costs of operating and administering First Nations agencies is established through a formula. Although the program requires First Nations agencies to meet applicable provincial legislation, we found that INAC's funding formula is not linked to this requirement. The main element of the formula is the number of children aged from 0 to 18 who are ordinarily resident on the reserve or reserves being served by a First Nations agency. At the time of the audit, INAC provided First Nations agencies $787 annually for each child ordinarily resident on reserves. In addition, INAC reimburses the agencies for the costs of children placed in care.

4.51 The funding formula is outdated. We found that the formula was designed in 1988 and has not been significantly modified since. This has had a significant impact on the child welfare services provided to some First Nations children, as the formula does not take into account any costs associated with modifications to provincial legislation or with changes in the way services are provided.

4.52 The formula leads to funding inequities. We also found that the formula does not always ensure an equitable allocation of program funding. The formula is based on the assumption that each First Nations agency has 6 percent of on-reserve children placed in care. This assumption leads to funding inequities among First Nations agencies because, in practice, the percentage of children that they bring into care varies widely. In the five provinces we covered, for example, it ranged from 0 to 28 percent in 2007. Further, funding is not responsive to factors that can cause wide variations in operating costs, such as differences in community needs or in support services available, in the child welfare services provided to on-reserve First Nations children, and in the actual work performed by First Nations agencies. In some instances, INAC has had to provide additional funding to respond to needs. For example, in one case we examined, a First Nation was able to convince INAC that its level of funding was not sufficient because a large number of its children required services. INAC provided it with an additional $1.2 million over two years to increase its capacity to serve children in need.

4.53 Further, we found that INAC does not have a consistent interpretation of the costs covered by the formula when a province has not fully delegated all child welfare services to a First Nations agency. The Quebec regional office takes the position that the funding provided to First Nations under the formula is to cover the costs of all child welfare services, whether delivered by a First Nation or provided by the province. As program funding is not tied to needs, a group of First Nations has accumulated around $4.7 million in unpaid bills owed to a provincial agency for services it provided to them because funding from INAC was not sufficient to pay for all the services. At the time of the audit, INAC was working with the group of First Nations and the agency to address this situation.

4.54 In contrast, the BC regional office does not require First Nations agencies funded under the formula and delivering only a portion of on-reserve child welfare services to pay the province for the administrative costs of the child welfare services they receive from it. INAC estimates that it pays over $2 million annually to BC for services it provides to these First Nations agencies. The BC regional office considers this a duplicate payment, but we note that no concrete actions are being taken to deal with it. We believe that these inequities need to be addressed.

4.55 The formula is not adapted to small agencies. Consistent with the federal policy, the funding formula was designed on the basis that First Nations agencies would be responsible for serving a community, or a group of communities, where at least 1,000 children live on reserve. This was considered the minimum client base an agency could have and still provide services economically and effectively, although exceptions could be made.

4.56 We found that 55 of the 108 agencies funded by INAC are providing child welfare services to fewer than 1,000 children living on reserve. We noted concerns in INAC that small agencies do not always have the funding and capacity to provide the required range of child welfare services, and also have difficulties with governance, conflicts of interest, training, and management. However, action to address these concerns has been limited.

4.57 The shortcomings of the funding formula have been known to INAC for years; some were outlined in a policy study undertaken jointly by INAC and the Assembly of First Nations and completed in 2000. INAC needs to work with First Nations agencies and the provinces on finding ways to resolve these issues.

4.58 Program funding is not properly coordinated. Under the Children's Special Allowance Act, the federal government provides all child welfare agencies in Canada a monthly payment for the care and maintenance of each child placed in care. For the agencies serving children on reserves, this special allowance is paid for the same children that INAC pays for under its program.

4.59 We found that INAC does not deal with special allowances consistently. In Ontario and BC, the special allowance payments are taken into account in the amounts that these provinces claim from INAC. In 2007, for example, we estimate that this resulted in a reduction of approximately $6 million in INAC program costs. Conversely, in the other provinces covered in our audit, and when First Nations agencies deliver the services, INAC funding does not take the special allowance into account. We estimate that these provinces and First Nations agencies received around $17 million in special allowance payments in 2007 for the care and maintenance of on-reserve children in care. Under its program, INAC paid them the full costs of the care and maintenance for the same children.

4.60 Under the current Treasury Board authority, starting 1 April 2008, INAC has to deduct special allowance payments from its funding for the maintenance costs of First Nations children in care. INAC was given one year to advise the provinces and First Nations agencies and allow them to prepare for this change. At the time of our audit, however, INAC had not formally communicated this change.

4.61 We note that the change is likely to have serious implications for some First Nations agencies, particularly those with a large number of children in care. For example, one First Nations agency we examined received about $1.2 million annually in special allowance payments and used this money to supplement INAC funding for its operating and administrative costs. When the special allowance is no longer available for that purpose, the resources for this agency's operations will be reduced by approximately 30 percent. INAC officials were aware of the problem. It is not clear how this First Nations agency, and others in a similar situation, will cope with the change.

4.62 The funding formula is being revised in Alberta. In 2007, INAC obtained authority from the federal government to link its funding of Alberta First Nations agencies to provincial legislation. It has undertaken to provide them with funding and flexibility to deliver services that meet provincial legislation. In cooperation with First Nations and Alberta, the Department has developed a new formula and funding approach for Alberta First Nations agencies.

4.63 We analyzed the new funding formula and approach and found that it will provide more funds for the operations of First Nations agencies; it also offers them more flexibility to allocate resources to different types of child welfare services. On average, funding to Alberta First Nations agencies for the operation and prevention components will have increased by 74 percent when the new formula is fully implemented in 2010. This should lead to better services for First Nations children.

4.64 However, we also found that the new formula does not address the inequities we have noted under the current formula. It still assumes that a fixed percentage of First Nations children and families in all the First Nations served by an agency need child welfare services. Consequently, in our view, the new formula will not address differing needs among First Nations. Pressures on INAC to fund exceptions will likely continue to exist under the new formula.

4.65 INAC states that it plans to seek similar authority to change the way it funds First Nations agencies in all provinces where it funds them directly. The plan is to complete this work by 2012.

4.66 In our view, the funding formula needs to become more than a means of distributing the program's budget. As currently designed and implemented, the formula does not treat First Nations or provinces in a consistent or equitable manner. One consequence of this situation is that many on-reserve children and families do not always have access to the child welfare services defined in relevant provincial legislation and available to those living off reserves. It is also not consistently harmonized with the special allowance payments provided by the federal government for children in care.

4.67 Recommendation. Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, in consultation with First Nations and provinces, should ensure that its new funding formula and approach to funding First Nations agencies are directly linked with provincial legislation and standards, reflect the current range of child welfare services, and take into account the varying populations and needs of First Nations communities for which it funds on-reserve child welfare services.

The Department's response. Indian and Northern Affairs Canada's current approach to Child and Family Services includes reimbursement of actual costs associated with the needs of maintaining a child in care. The Department agrees that as new partnerships are entered into, based on the enhanced prevention approach, funding will be directly linked to activities that better support the needs of children in care and incorporate provincial legislation and practice standards.

Financial obligations are not reflected in the allocation of resources to the program
4.68 Under government policy, the costs of child welfare services to children and families ordinarily resident on reserves are covered by the federal government. In accordance with that policy, INAC enters into funding agreements with First Nations agencies and provinces to pay for on-reserve child welfare services and cover the costs of children placed in care. Through delegation agreements with provinces and funding arrangements with INAC, First Nations agencies are obligated to ensure that child welfare services available to First Nations children meet provincial legislation and standards.

4.69 We found that there is no link between the financial obligations of this program and how resources are allocated to it. Unlike other programs, the program's expenditures are not fully under the control of INAC. However, the program can be affected by global budget decisions. For example, in 1995, INAC decided not to adjust the funding formula for inflation. This was a response to a federal government request that INAC and other federal departments moderate the pace at which their program expenditures were growing. INAC officials told us that this action was consistent with measures taken across the federal government at that time.

4.70 INAC states that it addresses health and safety issues properly when it makes these budgeting decisions. It also says, however, that over time the lack of adjustment for inflation has had negative impacts on many First Nations agencies. These agencies could not, for example, pay their staff at the same pay scale as staff working for provincial agencies and, as a result, they have difficulties attracting and retaining qualified social workers and meeting their obligations under provincial legislation or their agreements with the province. In 2005, the federal government provided $125 million over five years to support the program and increase First Nations agency funding.

4.71 The program's budget has increased significantly over the last few years—from $193 million in 1997 to $450 million in 2007. The Department attributes this increase to the creation of new First Nations agencies and to factors outside its control, such as the growing number of children living on reserves, the number placed in care, the need to use expensive types of placement, such as specialized institutions, and the child welfare services required.

4.72 Because the program's expenditures are growing faster than the Department's overall budget, INAC has had to reallocate funding from other programs. In a 2006 study, the Department acknowledged that over the past decade, budget reallocations—from programs such as community infrastructure and housing to other programs such as child welfare—have meant that spending on housing has not kept pace with growth in population and community infrastructure has deteriorated at a faster rate.

4.73 In our view, the budgeting approach INAC currently uses for this type of program is not sustainable. Program budgeting needs to meet government policy and allow all parties to fulfill their obligations under the program and provincial legislation, while minimizing the impact on other important departmental programs. The Department has taken steps in Alberta to deal with these issues and is committed to doing the same in other provinces by 2012.

4.74 Recommendation. Indian and Northern Affairs Canada should determine the full costs of meeting the policy requirements of the First Nations Child and Family Services Program. It should periodically review the program's budget to ensure that it continues to meet program requirements and to minimize the program's financial impact on other departmental programs.

The Department's response. Indian and Northern Affairs Canada agrees to regularly update its estimate of the cost of delivering the program with the new approach on a province-by-province basis, over the next five years.

The program budget will be periodically reviewed by the Department in the context of overall priorities and program requirements.

Compliance with Treasury Board authority could be improved
4.75 We expected that INAC would comply with the Treasury Board authority for the program and would ensure that the funding it provides is used for the intended purposes.

4.76 We found that INAC complies with the Treasury Board authority for the program by ensuring that funding for operations is provided for eligible First Nations agencies. However, we also found that compliance with authority could be improved.

4.77 Compliance reviews. To be eligible for INAC funding, a child has to be registered as a status Indian and be ordinarily resident on a reserve. We found that INAC officials can determine whether a child is registered as a status Indian or is entitled to be by using the Indian Registry System operated by the Department. We also found, however, that INAC has not developed a consistent manner to assess a child's residency. INAC usually relies on the information provided by the province, First Nations, or agencies but cannot independently verify this information.

4.78 In its Alberta, Manitoba, and Quebec regional offices, we found that INAC reviews the claims for reimbursement submitted by First Nations agencies or by the province to identify expenses that are not allowable, and that it reconciles the amount it provides them with the actual expenses claimed. However, we also found that INAC's reviews of these claims cannot determine whether the expenses claimed are reasonable. For example, one region reimbursed a First Nations agency for transportation costs that were high enough to be considered questionable.

4.79 To strengthen the review of the expenses claimed by First Nations agencies, INAC is supposed to periodically carry out on-site compliance reviews. The main purposes of these reviews are to provide INAC with additional assurance that children whose care it is funding are ordinarily residents on reserves, that only allowable expenses have been claimed for reimbursement, that expenses are reasonable and accurate, and that the funds were used for the intended purposes.

4.80 While some on-site compliance reviews were undertaken, sometimes in partnership with a province, we found that INAC regional offices do not perform all required periodic compliance reviews. In addition, in two regions where compliance reviews were done, we found that payments made for non-allowable expenses were not recovered as they should have been under the program's authority. For one First Nations agency we examined, approximately $100,000 should have been recovered. INAC officials told us that it was decided before undertaking the reviews not to recover non-allowable expenses in order to emphasize to recipients the need to improve practices. They also told us that the intent is to recover non-allowable expenses in future on-site compliance reviews.

4.81 Costs for children in care in BC. Treasury Board authority for the program requires INAC to reimburse First Nations agencies for the actual costs of each child placed in care and to ensure that all expenditures are allowable under the program. We found that INAC pays First Nations agencies in BC a pre-determined amount per day of care and makes no attempt to relate this amount to the actual expenses incurred for these children. We also found that the actual costs of First Nations children placed in care in some First Nations agencies are lower than the amount provided by INAC. Further, INAC does not review the agencies' expenses to ensure that they are allowable under the program. In our view, these practices are not consistent with the Treasury Board authority.

4.82 Recommendation. Indian and Northern Affairs Canada should carry out the on-site compliance reviews required under the First Nations Child and Family Services Program. It should also ensure that its British Columbia region complies with Treasury Board authority.

The Department's response. Indian and Northern Affairs Canada agrees. The Department has begun to revise the Child and Family Services program manual and an updated Compliance Directive will be added in the 2008–09 fiscal year.

Indian and Northern Affairs Canada will be working with regional offices, British Columbia in particular, to ensure compliance with program authorities. Compliance audits will be undertaken where risk indicates that this is required.

Information for accountability
The Department lacks information on the program
4.83 Given the program's impact on the lives of on-reserve First Nations children and families, we expected that INAC would define and collect appropriate information to manage and account for the program. We reviewed the information collected by INAC and a program evaluation completed in 2007.

4.84 We found that while INAC has defined some of its information needs, they relate mostly to its funding responsibilities. The information that INAC requires from First Nations and provinces is focused on the volume of services to children in care, such as days of care, and on the costs of services provided to these children. This information is tied directly to actual payments to provinces and First Nations agencies and supports program budgeting and funding allocation to regions.

4.85 We found that INAC collects very limited information on the actual services funded through its funding formula. It does not have information on the volume of activities carried out by the First Nations agencies, such as the number of contacts with child welfare services, the number of assessments, or the major reasons why children come into care. This information would be important in assessing the need for child welfare services in a particular First Nations community and providing guidance to determine the funding needed. It could also help in monitoring how the funding provided was used and what difference it made in the lives of on-reserve First Nations children and their communities.

4.86 We found that INAC has little information on the outcomes of its funding on the safety, protection, or well-being of children living on reserves. As a result, it is unaware of whether or to what extent its program makes a positive difference in the lives of the children it funds.

4.87 In our view, the information INAC collects falls far short of the child welfare program and policy requirements. The Department is aware of the limits of the information it possesses, and it has identified some of the additional information it needs. These are steps in the right direction. However, a lot of work remains to clearly identify performance indicators and the necessary information, and to obtain the cooperation of the provinces and First Nations in collecting this information and ensuring its quality.

4.88 Program evaluation. INAC completed a departmental evaluation of the program early in 2007. From the outset, the evaluation questioned whether evaluating the program was possible: it considered that the program objectives were too broad and that the expected outcomes had not been defined. In addition, it found no systematically collected interim or longer-term outcome information on the program.

4.89 We found that given these limitations, the evaluation did not explore the effectiveness of First Nations agencies or the quality of the services they offer. Instead, it was future-oriented, seeking to explore and recommend program changes to help reduce the number of on-reserve children coming into care and to improve outcomes for First Nations children and families.

4.90 In our view, this evaluation missed an opportunity to find out more about the program, the effectiveness of First Nations agencies, and the overall impact of services on children's lives. INAC plans to undertake another evaluation in 2010. Unless procedures are soon put in place to collect more and better information and responsibilities are assigned, this evaluation will face the same limitations as the previous one.

4.91 Recommendation. Indian and Northern Affairs Canada should define the information it needs to manage the program and account for its results, with a particular emphasis on results and outcomes. In cooperation with First Nations and provinces, INAC should develop performance indicators, define the information required, collect the information, and ensure its quality.

The Department's response. Indian and Northern Affairs Canada agrees. It began a comprehensive validation exercise in February 2008 to be completed by December 2008. The program intends to validate the performance indicators with First Nations, to ensure that they are robust and that performance measures lead to data collection that is appropriate, with emphasis on results and outcomes.

The Indian and Northern Affairs Canada "Smart Reporting" exercise is intended to drive the collection of meaningful, relevant, and timely performance data, while ensuring the reduction of reporting requirements on First Nations. This exercise will be used to establish what performance information is required and, if it is not currently available, how it will be obtained.

Conclusion
4.92 Our audit found that Indian and Northern Affairs Canada does not have assurance that the First Nations Child and Family Services Program funds child welfare services for on-reserve First Nations children and families that are culturally appropriate and reasonably comparable with those normally provided off reserves in similar circumstances. In most provinces we visited, many on-reserve children and families do not always have access to the child welfare services defined in relevant provincial legislation and available to those living off reserves.

4.93 We also found that INAC obtains insufficient assurance that the child welfare services funded under the First Nations Child and Family Services Program are delivered in accordance with relevant provincial legislation and standards.

4.94 Finally, INAC does not have sufficient and appropriate information to monitor the program's results and costs for purposes of both program management and accountability.

4.95 This program was established to implement a federal government policy. It is linked to provincial legislation and has direct impact on the safety and well-being of on-reserve children and families. In our view, the program needs to be better supported, managed, and overseen. It also requires better information on results and on the outcomes for children. Although the solutions to some of the problems faced by on-reserve children and families do not depend entirely on the availability and quality of child welfare services, steps need to be taken to address the management deficiencies noted in this audit.

About the Audit
Objectives
Our objectives for the audit were to determine whether Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC)

has assurance that the First Nations Child and Family Services Program provides on-reserve First Nations children and families with culturally appropriate child welfare services reasonably comparable to those normally provided off reserves in similar circumstances,
has assurance from the provinces that the child welfare services funded by the program are delivered in accordance with their legislation and standards, and
collects sufficient and appropriate information on results and costs for program management and accountability purposes.
Scope and approach
Our audit focused on INAC's First Nations Child and Family Services Program; in particular, we examined the management structure and processes and the resources used to implement the federal government policy on First Nations child and family services. We also included, where relevant, information on the support available from other INAC programs and programs of other federal departments, such as Health Canada (non-insured health benefits) and the Canada Revenue Agency (Children's Special Allowance). The audit mainly covered fiscal years 2005–06 and 2006–07.

We looked at the program's design and implementation, as well as INAC's monitoring and measurement of program results. We interviewed INAC managers and staff and reviewed relevant documents at five INAC regional offices (British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, and Quebec) and at headquarters. In most of these regional offices, we reviewed the information that INAC had on selected First Nations and First Nations agencies. We also looked at INAC files containing information on the funding provided to provinces. In the Ontario regional office, we reviewed the interpretation and implementation of the 1965 Canada-Ontario Welfare Agreement as it relates to First Nations child welfare.

Additionally, we interviewed officials at the Canada Revenue Agency, Health Canada, and Human Resources and Social Development Canada. Although we did not audit the activities carried out by First Nations and their agencies, we sought their views on matters related to child welfare. To that end, we visited eight First Nations communities or child welfare agencies. In these community visits, we discussed matters with managers and staff working on child welfare. We also sought the views of national and regional First Nations organizations and reviewed the documentation provided by them. We also met with some provincial officials and organizations and child welfare specialists.

Criteria
We expected Indian and Northern Affairs Canada

to have clear authorities and expected results for the program;
to have agreements clearly defining respective responsibilities for INAC, First Nations agencies, and the provinces and the child welfare services to be provided;
to obtain from provinces assurance that First Nations agencies deliver services in accordance with provincial legislation and standards;
to facilitate coordination between the First Nations Child and Family Services Program and other relevant INAC programs, and facilitate access to other relevant federal programs;
to design its funding of the program consistent with the program's policy and objectives;
to comply with Treasury Board authority and ensure that funding is being used for the purposes intended; and
to define and collect appropriate information for program management and accountability.
Audit work completed
Audit work for this chapter was substantially completed on 9 November 2007.

Audit team
Assistant Auditor General: Ronnie Campbell
Principal: Jerome Berthelette
Lead Director: André Côté

Directors: Michelle Salvail, Charlene Taylor

Amy Begley
Kevin McGillivary
Jo Ann Schwartz
Daniel Steeves

For information, please contact Communications at 613-995-3708 or 1-888-761-5953 (toll-free).

Appendix—List of recommendations
The following is a list of recommendations found in Chapter 4. The number in front of the recommendation indicates the paragraph where it appears in the chapter. The numbers in parentheses indicate the paragraphs where the topic is discussed.

Recommendation:
4.26 Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, in cooperation with provinces and First Nations agencies, should define what is meant by services that are reasonably comparable, define its expectations for culturally appropriate services and standards, and implement this definition and these expectations into the program. (4.17–4.25)

Response:
Indian and Northern Affairs Canada agrees. In partnership with provinces and First Nations—beginning with Alberta in the 2007–08 fiscal year—the program is moving to an enhanced prevention-focused approach over the next five years.

Tripartite Enhanced Prevention Frameworks will more clearly define services that are reasonably comparable with services provided in similar circumstances by the provinces to children living off reserve. Definitions of culturally appropriate services will be developed through discussions with the various First Nations based upon community circumstances, and are targeted for completion in 2012.

Recommendation:

4.32 Indian and Northern Affairs Canada should ensure that it has up-to-date agreements with the provinces and with First Nations agencies in place. As a minimum, these agreements should consistently define who is responsible for providing the child welfare services required under provincial legislation, and what services will be provided. (4.27–4.31)

Response:
Once an enhanced prevention approach model is approved, business plans will be prepared by funding recipients. The Department is already working on arrangements with other provinces to ensure roles and responsibilities and services to be provided are accurately defined and funded. Recipients in those provinces will be asked to develop work plans in the 2008–09 fiscal year, based on those arrangements.

Recommendation:
Response:

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Response:

2011 June Status Report of the Auditor General of Canada
http://www.oag-bvg.gc.ca/internet/English/parl_oag_201106_04_e_35372.html#ex6

INAC has taken action on child and family services but has not defined its policy commitment to provide comparable services
4.46 First Nations children are among the most vulnerable members of society. In 2008, we noted that over five percent of all children residing on reserves were in care; this was close to eight times the proportion of children residing off reserves. INAC has taken some actions to implement the two recommendations on which we followed up for this audit. Nevertheless, there has yet to be a notable change in the number of First Nations children in care.

4.47 In 2008, we audited INAC’s program for child and family services on reserves. We found that INAC had not defined key policy requirements related to culturally appropriate child and family services and comparability of services with those provided by provinces. Moreover, the Department had no assurance that its First Nations Child and Family Services Program funded child welfare services that were culturally appropriate or reasonably comparable with those normally provided off reserves in similar circumstances. We also found that there was no link between the financial obligations of the program and the way resources were allocated to it. Because the program’s expenditures were growing faster than the Department’s overall budget, INAC had been reallocating funding from other programs. In our 2008 audit, we also noted that INAC had joined with the Government of Alberta and First Nations in that province to introduce a new child and family services program emphasizing prevention. This was a departure from the existing model, which focused on intervention with families and children at risk.

4.48 In this follow-up audit, we assessed the progress made by INAC to implement two of our recommendations from our 2008 audit on the Department’s Child and Family Services Program. We also examined actions taken in relation to the government’s commitment in response to a recommendation made by the House of Commons Standing Committee on Public Accounts.

4.49 Comparability of services. In our 2008 audit, we recommended that INAC define what is meant by its policy requirement that services be reasonably comparable, define its expectations for culturally appropriate services, and implement these into its program. INAC agreed with the recommendation and committed to a clearer definition, in tripartite agreements, of comparability of services with those provided by provinces. We found that INAC has not defined what is meant by comparability. Until it does so, it is unclear what is the service standard for which the Department is providing funding and what level of services First Nations communities can eventually expect to receive. We also found that the Department had not conducted a review of all social services available in the provinces to see whether they are the same as what is available to children on reserves.

4.50 In our 2008 audit, we noted that INAC had entered into a new funding arrangement in Alberta, enabling First Nations child and family service agencies in that province to deliver services that comply with provincial legislation. However, we noted that the funding model under the new Alberta tripartite agreement did not address all of the funding disparities we had identified. Since that audit, INAC has expanded its Enhanced Prevention Focused Approach and has negotiated new tripartite framework agreements with five other provinces: Manitoba, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Quebec, and Saskatchewan. The new approach includes greater emphasis on prevention services and is intended to increase comparability with services offered in provinces. INAC officials expect that the approach will reduce the number of children in care, but it is too early to observe results.

4.51 The new tripartite agreements enable the provision of additional services beyond those offered in INAC’s initial program. However, without having defined what is meant by comparability, the Department has been unable to demonstrate that its new Enhanced Prevention Focused Approach provides services to children and families living on reserves that are reasonably comparable to provincial services.

4.52 We also found that the Department has not developed a formal definition of what it means by “culturally appropriate services.” In response to this recommendation, however, INAC has developed a guiding principle on what culturally appropriate services would entail. This principle has been embedded in the tripartite agreements with the provinces under the new approach. It is also reflected in the business plans of First Nations child and family service agencies. According to INAC, a guiding principle instead of a definition allows service providers to more readily adapt their programs to the culture in each community.

4.53 Cost determination. In 2008, we noted that the Department was regularly using funding budgeted for other programs to meet its obligations for its First Nations Child and Family Services Program. We also noted that the Department required a 74 percent increase in its operating and prevention services budget for Alberta to meet the requirements of the new tripartite agreement. We recommended that INAC determine the full costs of meeting the policy requirements of the program. The Department agreed to regularly update its estimate of the cost of delivering the program with the new approach on a province-by-province basis and to periodically review the program budget.

4.54 In this audit, we found that the Department had identified the costs it would have to pay for services in each province before moving to the new Enhanced Prevention Focused Approach. For its operations and prevention services, INAC determined that it would require an incremental increase of between 50 percent and 100 percent in its funding for each of the provinces in which it has established tripartite agreements to date. With all cost components taken into consideration, on average, the agreements led to an increase of over 40 percent in the cost of INAC’s Child and Family Services Program in the participating provinces.

4.55 Rather than using funds budgeted for other programs, INAC has obtained increased funding to run its Child and Family Services Program. The program’s budget has increased by 32 percent from $417 million in the 2005–06 fiscal year to $550 million in 2009–10. This rise partly reflects the increased funding levels needed to implement the new framework agreements. The Department also regularly conducts budget reviews and has taken steps to minimize the financial impact of its Child and Family Services Program on other INAC programs.

4.56 Cost comparisons. The House of Commons Standing Committee on Public Accounts asked the Department for a comprehensive comparison of its funding to First Nations child and family welfare service agencies with provincial funding to similar agencies. The government committed to providing the Committee with a comparison of its funding for salaries and caseloads for the provinces that have made the transition to the new Enhanced Prevention Focused Approach.

4.57 In preparation for framework negotiations with the provinces, INAC compared some elements central to the operations of child and family services programs with those of the provinces, such as social workers’ salaries and benefits. With this information, INAC provided to the Public Accounts Committee a comparison of some of its costs with those of the provinces that have established an agreement under the new approach. We note, however, that the Department has not provided information about social workers’ caseloads to the Committee because this is not public information. Moreover, certain services provided by provinces are outside INAC’s mandate—for example, services related to health issues and youth justice. The Department therefore does not provide these services. Our progress rating regarding child and family services is found in Exhibit 4.6.

Exhibit 4.6—Progress on addressing two recommendations on child and family services
Satisfactory—Progress is satisfactory, given the significance and complexity of the issue, and the time that has elapsed since the recommendation was made.

Unsatisfactory—Progress is unsatisfactory, given the significance and complexity of the issue, and the time that has elapsed since the recommendation was made.


Recommendation:
Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, in cooperation with provinces and First Nations agencies, should define what is meant by services that are reasonably comparable, define its expectations for culturally appropriate services and standards, and implement this definition and these expectations into the program.
(Recommendation 4.26 of the 2008 May Report of the Auditor General of Canada, Chapter 4, First Nations Child and Family Services Program—Indian and Northern Affairs Canada)

Progress:
Unsatisfactory

Recommendation:
Indian and Northern Affairs Canada should determine the full costs of meeting the policy requirements of the First Nations Child and Family Services Program. It should periodically review the program’s budget to ensure that it continues to meet program requirements and to minimize the program’s financial impact on other departmental programs.

(Recommendation 4.74 of the 2008 May Report of the Auditor General of Canada, Chapter 4)

Progress:
Satisfactory











Excerpts from 2008 May Report of the Auditor General of Canada, Sheila Fraser:

Indian and Northern Affairs Canada ( INAC ) has little or no idea whether the child welfare services it provides on Canadian reserves actually have any impact on the kids receiving the services. . . . . INAC had little or no idea whether the services it was paying for met provincial standards and has no way to track outcomes to determine what the impact is on the kids receiving the services . . . . . . . . Indian Affairs is using an outdated and inappropriate funding formula which doesn't take into account how many kids need help or what services they should get. . . . . . . . kids on reserves are getting short changed when it comes to child welfare, even though they are far more likely than other Canadian children to need them . . . . . Children on native reserves are eight times more likely to wind up in under-funded, poorly tracked foster care that appears to be failing them, says the auditor general. . . . . . . . Some reserves reported as many as 28 per cent of their kids are in care . . . . . . . . A recent inquest in Manitoba found the Little Grand Rapids First Nation had more than 40 per cent of its kids in foster care. . . . . . . . Between 1997 and 2001, the number of kids in care on reserves jumped 65 per cent to 8,791 from 5,340. It has hovered around the same level since. . . . . . . . There are 8,300 First Nations children from reserves in some form of care as of March 2007, up 55 per cent from 10 years earlier. . . . . . . . . As of the end of March 2007, about 8,300 or five per cent of all native children had been removed from their homes . . . . . . . . inequities in funding and a lack of services available for children, particularly on small remote reserves which often have the highest needs . . . . . . . . . . The over-representation of aboriginaal . . . children in care — and the indications that outcomes are poor — call for all parties involved in the child welfare system to find better ways of meeting these children’s needs. . . . . . . . . In British Columbia, just over half of all children in foster care are aboriginal, yet they comprise just eight per cent of the provincial population. . . . . .Poverty, poor housing and addiction lead more often to neglect in aboriginal cases, though rates of abuse are no higher than in non-native homes, says the report. . . . . . . . Fraser blames the disproportionate numbers in part on a lack of emphasis on prevention. . . . . . . . . There needs to be a renewed effort to keep First Nations youngsters with their families. Child abuse is one reason kids are taken from home, but Fraser found that native children are removed for this reason at about the same rate as non-aboriginals. The main factor driving them into care is neglect – an understandable outcome on reserves where squalid housing, drug and alcohol abuse fuelled by hopelessness, and the burden of perpetual poverty make it so hard to raise a child. Ultimately, the best way to help Canada's most vulnerable children is to ease the dire conditions pushing them into care in the first place. . . . . . . . . Among top concerns is the fact the federal government funds First Nation-delivered services using a formula dating back to 1988. It assumes that a fixed percentage of all communities served by an agency need that help – whether or not the real number is higher or lower. The formula "has not been changed to reflect variations in legislation ... or the actual number of children in care, Its use "has led to inequities. The services are essential to protect these children from abuse or neglect. The over-representation of aboriginal ... children in care – and the indications that outcomes are poor – call for all parties involved in the child welfare system to find better ways of meeting these children's needs." . . . . . We found that 55 of 108 agencies funded by (Indian Affairs) are providing child welfare services to fewer than 1,000 children living on reserve." Those agencies "do not always have the funding [But the sentence before says they were funded by Indian Affairs? ! - So where is all the money going? ] and capacity to provide the required range of child welfare services, and also have difficulties with governance, conflicts of interest, training and management. Many children land in non-native foster care far from their homes as a result. . . . . . . . A child who has been in care is less likely to complete high school than a child who has never been in care. For aboriginal children in care, education results are poorer than for non-aboriginal children in care.

Indian Affairs Minister Chuck Strahl said Ottawa is working on new deals with the provinces and First Nations to put prevention first: "The system that we inherited is not a good system. It’s based on an old model, really, of child apprehension." . . . . . . . . [This has not changed !]


"We knew our kids were being shortchanged," Phil Fontaine, national chief of the Assembly of First Nations, said yesterday after meeting with the Star's editorial board. "We knew the funding formula was outdated. We knew our families and care agencies were not being treated fairly." He expressed hope that Fraser's report will finally result in steps to improve the plight of native kids in care.