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Indians Expel CAS
December 21, 2013 permalink
The Six Nations reserve has announced that Brant CAS will be expelled from its territory in January. There have been many announcements before, and this one should be viewed skeptically.
Brant CAS preparing to leave Six Nations
The Brant Children's Aid Society appears poised to leave Six Nations in the New Year amid reports that the Confederacy Chiefs Council has decided the CAS should operate only from Brantford.
CAS executive director Andy Koster said Friday that he's been told a formal letter will arrive in January notifying the agency of the chief's decision.
"before we were feeling an obligation to stay because one of the governments was asking us to stay and it would have been disrespectful to leave," Koster said.
"But it appears they've made their decision."
The elected band council has been working toward a transfer of operations that will see Six Nations take full responsibility for its own child protection system but it is still some distance from being operational.
The band signed a protocol to allow the CAS to continue with its 36-member native branch until May 2014 but then passed a band council resolution to ensure the agency be off the reserve last fall.
The CAS has defied that order to this point.
Koster said as far as he knows the CAS will still be expected to deliver services from Brantford.
He said the decision was made in a confederacy meeting at a longhouse where the agency wasn't allowed to be represented.
The native weekly Turtle Island News said a "runner" for the clanmothers made a presentation at that meeting accusing the CAS of a number of negative behaviours.
It also said Coun. Melba Thomas is strongly in favour of keeping the agency on site until a proper transitional plan is in place.
Source: Brantford Expositor
Addendum: As of April 2014 Brant CAS is still on the reserve. The plan now is to close the office on the reserve, but to continue protecting/taking children until an alternative protection agency is established, possibly years in the future.
Children's agency to leave Six Nations
Faced with the threat of legal action and getting nowhere in negotiations with the elected band council, Brant Family and Children's Services is leaving Six Nations.
The agency, formerly the Children's Aid Society, will close its extensive native services branch in Ohsweken at the end of June when its lease runs out.
"It became clear over the past month that we would not be able to successfully negotiate a continued physical presence on the reserve," said board chair Lesley Brubacher in an emailed statement on the weekend.
"We were facing legal action which we could not financially support within our current budget. With the end of our lease approaching, it presented a natural opportunity to ... relocate off-reserve."
The impending move will leave Six Nations with no on-site child protection system. Brant children's services will continue to have full responsibility for child protection on Six Nations but must operate from the Brantford area until Six Nations finishes developing its own approved agency.
That's a process that could take years.
Brant children's services has been working with Six Nations to bring about a fully native agency, but some on the reserve have demanded the agency leave, citing a list of grievances from several families.
The band council withdrew its blessing for the agency to remain on the reserve. And the situation came to a head in March when elected Chief Coun. Ava Hill sent the agency a letter giving it until March 31 to be off the territory, threatening legal action.
Brubacher said she is concerned about the 75 Six Nations children who remain in kinship care on the reserve, or in licensed foster homes there, plus any other children who may be in need of help.
"The board is concerned with child safety, response times, worker safety and community relationships when our agency is no longer operating from within the Six Nations."
When the native services offices closes, Brubacher said the board feels the agency won't be as efficient in delivering services or have the same access to native homes.
Brubacher said she is proud of the 36-member native services team, noting that it has endured criticism, controversy and uncertainty with "unwavering dedication" to child welfare. She commended team leader Sally Rivers.
"They remain focused on providing the best care they can to the families and children they work with," she said.
Agency executive director Andrew Koster said he is saddened by the situation.
"We have a long history of collaboration and co-operative work from the 1950s and on. "¦ We helped find homes for children on the reserve after the Mush Hole (residential school) closed."
Koster said that the agency put forward an application for on-reserve care, developed a proposal for a youth lodge and helped relocate children from the U.S. who weren't able to cross the border to be with family on Six Nations.
"In spite of all that, in the last few years it became obvious there was resistance to our involvement by some in authority on Six Nations," Koster said.
"There were a small number of complaints by clients that were presented as if it was widespread and there were a number of incorrect statements about kids in care."
At one point the agency had 65 Six Nations children in care but the community was told there were 500.
Koster said that, while the agency couldn't change the minds of elected band councillors, he feels indebted to the confederacy chiefs.
"They took the time to look at both sides of the issue. I will always appreciate that and so will our staff."
Source: Brantford Expositor