Earlier this week, Minister of Health and Social Services, Diane Thom, tabled the 2018-2019 Annual Report of the Director of Child and Family Services (CFS) in the Legislative Assembly.
The report provides data on child and family services program delivery throughout the Northwest Territories.
“The annual Director’s report provides a snapshot on how the Child and Family Services is delivering services and meeting the evolving needs of children, youth, families and communities,” Diane Thom, Minister of Health and Social Services said. “Although the report identifies many accomplishments, we know that there is still more work that needs to be done. The safety and well-being of children and youth is our top priority, and I look forward to seeing more improvements as we work closely with Indigenous governments, communities and stakeholders.”
Information in the report includes the number of children receiving services, types of child and family services statuses, the number of children placed in permanent custody for adoption, as well as information on plan of care agreements, voluntary support services agreements, and court-ordered services.
84 per cent of children remained in their home or home community while they and their families received services.
The report shows a continuing, decreasing trend in the number of children in permanent care and custody of the Director of Child and Family Services. In 2018-2019, 85 per cent of children and youth received CFS services through voluntary support services agreements. Services by the agreement are intended to strengthen families proactively to address or prevent child protection concerns. The remaining 15 per cent of children and youth receiving services were by court order.
The 2018-2019 report shows that Indigenous children and youth continue to be overrepresented in the NWT child and family services system.
85 per cent of children and youth receiving services were through agreements with the parent, guardian, child and/or youth.
The Department of Health and Social Services continues to work with Indigenous governments, communities and stakeholders to build a culturally safe and respectful system, and to address the overrepresentation of Indigenous children and youth in the Child and Family Services system.
In the last decade, the number of children in permanent custody has gone down from 237 to 122.