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January 8, 2010 permalink
Six Nations is resuming efforts to develop its own child protection system, replacing children's aid, though at a slower pace than desired by the grassroots.
Six Nations to develop own child protection system
Posted By SUSAN GAMBLE, Posted 7 hours ago
Six Nations band council has renewed a plan to ease the Children's Aid Society off the reserve.
Council this week voted to approve a working group that will look into what's needed to develop a Six Nations child protection agency.
"It's still going to be a long process," Coun. Carl Hill said Thursday.
Hill, chair of the social service committee, said that, although previous groups have researched what's needed to protect Six Nations' children without the help of the CAS, it's necessary to "go back to Square 1" on the project.
The proposed working group will include clanmothers, community members and representatives from social services agencies.
"We have to go out to the community and start with input. I don't see the CAS going anywhere too soon but this is a start for us."
That's not good news for some on the reserve who have been actively lobbying to have the CAS removed from the territory.
Some traditional Confederacy supporters and several clanmothers have advocated having the clanmothers take over their traditional responsibilities in the protection of children. A petition being that started circulating last the fall demanded that the CAS immediately get off the reserve.
"We wouldn't have anything in place if they were removed tomorrow," said Hill.
"They still need to be involved because we want to protect our kids but we have the capacity to do it ourselves."
Andrew Koster, executive director of the CAS in Brantford, agreed that Six Nations should eventually take over the responsibilities.
"Our agency is mandated to provide a service and we have to follow the protocol and ensure Six Nations follows what the government demands we do to protect children. But we expect the day will come when our expertise will be transferred to Six Nations' hands."
Currently, there are about 40 CAS workers on the reserve and almost all are aboriginal but some are not from Six Nations.
Koster said the CAS has been working toward a goal of seeing Six Nations take total responsibility for its children but government changes have stymied the process at times.
He said didn't know about band council's recommendation this week but added that he respects the process Six Nations is exploring.
"We want them to run their own child welfare system and we could be a big help to them in establishing the process."
Source: Brantford Expositor