Children, Seniors and Social Development
September 4, 2019 

The following statement was issued today by the Honourable Lisa Dempster, Minister of Children, Seniors and Social Development:

Minister Dempster Responds to Release of Child and Youth Advocate’s Review of Child Protection Services to Inuit Children

I welcome the report from the Office of the Child and Youth Advocate on child protection services to Inuit children in Newfoundland and Labrador, and I am honoured that the Nunatsiavut Government invited me to be present in Nain for its release. I value the work of the Child and Youth Advocate, and I appreciate the effort that her office has devoted to this important review.

We appreciate the Inuit community sharing their collective experience and wisdom through participating in this review, recognizing that, in many cases, sharing their experiences is painful.

Our commitment to the children and families is unwavering. We share the goal of improving the experience and outcomes of Inuit children, youth and families.

We will work with the Nunatsiavut Government, Office of the Child and Youth Advocate, Provincial and Federal Government departments and other partners to complete a thorough analysis of the recommendations and develop an implementation plan.

During the legislative review of the Children and Youth Care and Protection Act, we consulted extensively with Indigenous governments and organizations, including the Nunatsiavut Government.

As a result, the new Children, Youth and Families Act, which came into effect in June 2019, contains provisions that directly address many of the recommendations in this report with the goal of improving service delivery to Indigenous children and families.

For example, in collaboration with our Indigenous partners, we are developing training for social workers on Indigenous cultures and history. We also worked with the Nunatsiavut Government to address recruitment and retention issues and as a result, we are pleased to report that we currently have a full complement of social work staff in Inuit communities.

The Department of Children, Seniors and Social Development has a respectful relationship with the Nunatsiavut Government. Our goal is to support families so they can ensure the safety and well-being of their children, so they can grow up in their communities, closer to their families and culture, and achieve their full potential.

We will continue to work collaboratively with the Nunatsiavut Government, the Child and Youth Advocate, other government departments and Indigenous children, youth and their families to achieve this goal.

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Media contact
Gina MacArthur
Children, Seniors and Social Development
709-729-3768, 730-2977
GinaMacarthur@gov.nl.ca

2019 09 04                                                    1:30 p.m.