New legislation aiming to improve child welfare system in Yukon to come into effect

Amendments incorporate changes to the Child and Family Services Act

New legislation aiming to improve child welfare system in Yukon to come into effect

Yukon’s new legislation improving the child welfare system in the province will come into effect after receiving royal assent on Mar. 30, the Ministry of Health and Social Services announced.

The Act to Amend the Child and Family Services Act (2022) seeks to improve outcomes for children, youth, and families involved with the child welfare system in Yukon and address the over-representation of Indigenous children and youth in care. The new legislation incorporated changes to the Child and Family Services Act, introduced last month.

“This amended Act is a crucial step on our journey of reconciliation between the Government of Yukon and Yukon First Nations,” Minister of Health and Social Services Tracy-Anne McPhee said.

Under the new legislation, the family and children’s services director must notify a child’s First Nations and their parents’ First Nations and associated Indigenous governing bodies if the child is at serious risk of harm and in need of “protective intervention.”

Upon notice, the First Nations and the governing bodies will be allowed to participate in collaborative case planning related to the child and court hearings initiated under the Child and Family Services Act. The new legislation will also require their consent if the child is adopted.

Moreover, the new legislation will expand services for youth and young adults as they transition out of care and include support for expecting parents who are at risk of coming into contact with the child welfare system in the province.

The new legislation will also require a cultural plan for every child in care to help them stay connected with their language, culture, practices, customs, traditions, and ceremonies.

“The passing of this Act is the result of decades of advocacy by Yukon First Nations,” Council of Yukon First Nations Grand Chief Peter Johnston said. “Yukon First Nations look forward to continued collaboration on the implementation of the Act, including policy and practice development.”

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