Advocate Releases Special Report on Overrepresentation of Aboriginal Children in the Child Welfare System

The Office of the Child and Youth Advocate (OCYA) has completed a Special Report on the overrepresentation of children and youth in the intervention system (child welfare system) and is publicly releasing the results and recommendations as outlined under the Child and Youth Advocate Act.

“The over representation of Aboriginal children in the child welfare system in Alberta is among the highest in Canada. Significant reforms are needed, and should be based on a renewed partnership between Government and Aboriginal people. The voices of Aboriginal people must be heard.”

Del Graff, Provincial Child and Youth Advocate

From January 2015 to January 2016, information was collected from over 700 stakeholders through small gatherings, interviews, and online surveys. Children, youth, Elders, caregivers, and other groups shared their perspectives about what was important to them before, during, and after their involvement with the child welfare system.

With first hand perspectives and additional research, the Child and Youth Advocate identified a number of systemic issues that contribute to the overrepresentation of Aboriginal children in Alberta’s child intervention system.

The recommendations in this report must be acted on to improve supports and services for Alberta’s Aboriginal young people.

The intent of Special Report is not to find fault with specific individuals, but to identify and advocate for system improvements that will help enhance the overall safety and well-being of children and young people who are receiving designated services.

A copy of the Special Report, “Voices For Change: Aboriginal Child Welfare in Alberta” and its recommendations are available on our website:

The OCYA also created a video featuring young people, Elders, parents, and support workers’ perspectives on how to improve the child intervention system. It can be found here:

The Child and Youth Advocate has the authority under the Child and Youth Advocate Act to complete Special Reports on issues impacting children and youth who are receiving designated government services. This is the Advocate’s second Special Report, previously he focused on youth aging out of government care.

The Office of the Child and Youth Advocate is an independent office of the Legislature, representing the rights, interests and viewpoints of children and young people receiving designated government services.