The role of the First Nations Band Designate in achieving successful outcomes for First Nations Children and Families through a collaborative approach of Treaty 7 First Nations Agencies and Children Family Services Agencies.
Alberta’s newly proclaimed Child, Youth & Family Enhancement Act Section 107 requires “a person designated by the Chief & Council of the Band to be involved in planning for services for children who are receiving services off/on-reserve”.
Purpose & Role
- The Band Designate role, (as legislated) is intended to ensure that the Nation is able to keep their children connected to family, community, and culture when the children are in the care of DFNA’s (now included in the role) & CFSA’s.
- Involvement of a First Nations Band Designate in planning ensures consistency.
- The best interest of the child is paramount.
- Accepting and respecting the child’s connection with family, community, and culture.
- The CYFEA requires case managers to provide the Band Designate with copies of all court orders within 20 days of receiving the order.
- Section 67 of the CYFEA requires the Director to involve the Band Designate in making decisions for a child who is being adopted of a private guardianship application
- The Treaty 7 Area Table has identified that all First Nations children are entitled to receive the same level of service from the First Nations Band Designate.
- The Band Designate role will support Aboriginal children on/off reserve and out of province/out of country.
- The Band Designate position will be jointly supported by MHS, AANDC, and the First Nations with the expectation that the majority of funding will be from MS and AANDC.
Scope of Position
- Involvement in the planning for Kainaiwa children living off/on reserve
- Assist family members in their working relationships with CFSA/DFNA
- Support family members in their working relationships with CFSA/DFNA
- Advocate for children and families; or acts as a mediator to have their concerns addressed
- Attend court as required to support the child/ren and or family membersCannot make any decisions; can only make recommendations for the child/ren
- Communicate with Chief & Council regarding children living off reserve
- Require to travel across Alberta based on where the child/ren are living occasionally outside Alberta.
- Provide caseworker with information regarding appropriate prospective placements with extended family
- Assist caseworker in developing child’s cultural plan including resources
- Meet with caseworkers on a regular basis for band consults
- Participate in family group conferences
- When required act as key contact for other jurisdictions in and outside the province
- Make recommendations to the caseworker regarding the child’s planning
- Ensure Chief & Council has access to child’s permanency plan
- Have access to the child & foster home; and perform home visits
- Receive court notices and copies of orders granted by the court including adoption and private guardianship requests
- Liaise on various child protection concerns through case conference; band consultations; meetings with child/youth; parents & extended family and child protection representative
Blood Tribe & Piikani have Band Designates appointed by Chief & Council
T’suu T’ina has hired their Band Designate and will be attending training soon.
Stoney Nations has one Band Designate already appointed and working with region
Siksika has developed Job Description
Training for all Directors, CEO’s & Chairs have completed their three sessions.
Treaty 7 First Nations children and families.
Treaty 7 First Nations ( Blood Tribe, Siksika Nation, Piikani Nation, T’suu T’ina & Stoney Nations)
Government of Alberta – Ministry of Human Services CFSA’s in Southwest/East, Alberta Child & Family Services and Calgary and Calgary Area and Area CFSA’s.
Government of Canada - AANDC
History - Legislation
Review of the Child Welfare Act
Includes extensive consultation with First Nations stakeholders
Alberta’s First Nations and Aboriginal people stress the absolute necessity of involving persons who represent the child’s First Nation and community in planning for services for children, and ensuring family and cultural connections are maintained.
Summary and Conclusion
- The First Nations Band Designate Role was included in legislation in direct response to First Nations request to be involved in planning for their children. This role was identified by the Minister, Chiefs, and Board Chairs as one of the areas of importance.
- As you have heard from the presentation the success of the First Nations Band Designate depends on the combined support of, and strong partnership between the First Nations, Provincial and Federal Governments
- It is critical that the First Nations leadership, the Province and the Government of Canada come together to develop a mechanism that will address the resources needed to enhance knowledge, training and support for this position to achieve its potential to improve results for First Nations Children, Families; and the Community.