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Canada's first aboriginal urban child protection service opens in Vancouver.

VANCOUVER -- Vancouver Aboriginal Child and Family Sevice Society becomes the first delegated urban Aboriginal agency in BC and is the first in Canada to exercise full child protection and care functions.

At the same time an agreement signed between the province and aboriginal leaders will enable more aboriginal children to be cared for in their own culture setting.

A step was taken in this direction recently when the Vancouver/Richmond Region of Ministry of Children and Family Devlopment transferred the delivery, accountability, authority and management of Guardianship services for Aboriginal children in Continuing Care to Vancouver Aboriginal Child and Family Service Society.

Guardianship Manager for VACFSS, Wally Rupert is responsible for providing leadership and direction to the staff and the acting Clinical Supervisors of the VACFSS Guardianship teams, Kathy Black and John Doyle Waters.

The memorandum of understanding establishes a 14-member committee representing all major aboriginal organizations and the provincial government. The committee will make decisions about issues relating to the safety and well-being of aboriginal children and families as the government transfers child protection and family development resources and services to regional authorities.

In June 2002, aboriginal leaders came together to sign the Tsawwassen Accord, calling for the development of aboriginal authorities to lead the way in reducing the number of aboriginal children in care.

Children of aboriginal ancestry make up only eight per cent of British Columbia's child population but comprise 40 per cent of about 10,000 children in the government's care.

Adding their names to the memorandum of understanding as supporters and members of the aboriginal advisory committee are the Assembly of First Nations--B.C. Region, the B.C. Aboriginal Network on Disabilities Society, the B.C. Association of Aboriginal Friendship Centres, the Federation of Aboriginal Foster Parents, the Metis Commission for Children and Family Services, the Native Courtworker and Counselling Association of B.C., the First Nations Agency Directors' Forum, the Aboriginal Health Association of B.C. and Healing the Spirit--the B.C. Aboriginal HIV/AIDS Society.

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Publication:Community Action
Date:Sep 16, 2002
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