Submission regarding Specialized Homes and Support Services Redesign

Alongside a group of front-line family support organizations, impacted parents, and feminist legal advocates, West Coast LEAF and Keeping Families Together made a submission to the Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD) regarding its redesign of Specialized Homes and Support Services (formerly known as Contracted Residential Services).

MCFD places children and youth in government care in contracted residence services. The province’s redesign of contracted services proposes a model that would see contracted services provide four types of services: respite/relief care, emergency care, low-barrier short-term stabilization care, and specialized long-term care.

We are encouraged to see MCFD make a commitment to work with Indigenous communities and Nations, see fewer children enter care, and explore less intrusive options to meet the needs of children and families in this redesign.

However, the redesign proposes minor shifts and short-term fixes. It does not embrace the transformative change to residential services that is needed at this pivotal moment of Indigenous self-determination over children and families with the implementation of Bill C-92, An Act respecting First Nations, Inuit and Métis children, youth, and BC’s adoption of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People (UNDRIP).

In our submission, we urged MCFD to review and revise its proposed model so that it reflects the transformative change that is needed to address the ongoing colonial legacy of the Ministry, and to respect and preserve the rights of parents, extended families, and communities.

The redesign of contracted services must include the following:

  • Resist practices that entrench the removal of children from their families and communities and invest in prevention instead.
  • Prioritize and maintain family and cultural ties and relationships.
  • Create accountability mechanisms that assess MCFD’s use of least intrusive measures to ensure accountability to parents, extended families, communities, and Nations.

Read the full submission to the Ministry of Children and Family Development (PDF)


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