The Alberta government is strengthening kinship care assessments, providing funding for suicide prevention and proposing legislative changes to improve Alberta’s child intervention system.
A Stronger, Safer Tomorrow highlights 39 actions – including 16 immediate steps before April 2019 – the Alberta government is taking to improve services, address funding on reserves and increase supports for children, youth and families.
“Every child in Alberta deserves access to the same resources, no matter where they’re born. We are stepping up with an action plan that creates a multi-year roadmap to help Indigenous children, families and communities. It builds on frontline expertise and includes steps to hold the federal government accountable.”
~Danielle Larivee, Minister of Children’s Services
The plan addresses all 26 final recommendations released in March by the Ministerial Panel on Child Intervention. Developed with Indigenous leaders, communities and frontline partners who work directly with vulnerable or at-risk children and youth, it includes short- and long-term actions for completion by 2020 and 2022.
The province is immediately committing $4.3 million to implement actions this fiscal year, including the creation of a new Indigenous advisory body to guide implementation in local communities. Early intervention and prevention services will be prioritized, and Alberta will fully implement Jordan’s Principle, the legal rule that ensures all children receive necessary services and supports, regardless of jurisdiction.
“Partnership starts from the ground up with people helping people. Through the work of the ministerial panel and development of this action plan, Piikani First Nation had several opportunities to make contributions to benefit our Nation’s families. I am encouraged that the Government of Alberta is taking positive steps in working with First Nations and other communities to support a better future by implementing Jordan’s Principle, supporting Indigenous-led services and addressing the funding gaps on reserve. Piikani Child and Family Services looks forward to putting this plan into action.”
~Kelly Provost, director, Piikani Child and Family Services
Changes to the Child, Youth and Family Enhancement Act will be tabled this fall. The proposed changes would enshrine safety and accountability directly in the legislation while providing more clarity about the importance of cultural and family connections for the well-being of children and youth who receive services.
“The new action plan honours the work of the Ministerial Panel on Child Intervention, which listened to voices from across the province about how to improve Alberta’s child intervention system. This is an important step forward for children in this province, building directly on the panel’s recommendations.”
~Peter Choate, expert member, Ministerial Panel on Child Intervention
The action plan also includes changes that will require additional time to plan, budget and implement:
- Additional supports for foster and kinship caregivers.
- Increased mental health and addiction services.
- Strengthened services for children with disabilities.
- Improved post-secondary opportunities for youth.
- Equitable funding for First Nations and Métis child intervention services.
- Additional amendments to the Child, Youth and Family Enhancement Act.
A Stronger, Safer Tomorrow will be fully implemented by 2022.