Act to Amend the Child and Family Services Act to be implemented

The Act to Amend the Child and Family Services Act (2022) was passed by the Legislative Assembly and received assent on March 31, 2022.

The amendments to the Act will help improve outcomes for children, youth and families who are involved with the child welfare system and address the over-representation of Indigenous children and youth in care. The amended Act will also help ensure that the culture, community and families of children and youth in care are preserved while enhancing supports for caregivers, including extended family members.  

This amended Act will also improve supports and services for youth and young adults as they transition out of the care and clarify the preventative services offered to help children and families that have a protection concern. It also includes supports for expecting parents who are at risk of coming into contact with the Yukon’s child welfare system.

The amendments to the Act were created through the Child and Family Services Act Steering Committee, which included representation from Yukon First Nations and was co-chaired by the Council of Yukon First Nations and Yukon government. This committee was tasked with determining how to best implement the required actions from Embracing the Children of Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow, the 2019 final report by the Child and Family Services Advisory Committee. The Steering Committee was also tasked with making the Yukon’s legislation consistent with new federal child welfare legislation.

The Government of Yukon thanks the members of the Child and Family Services Advisory Committee, the Child and Family Services Act Steering Committee, the Council of Yukon First Nations and all those who worked diligently on this Act over the past three years.

Canada’s colonial child welfare practices have had detrimental effects on many Indigenous families and communities across Canada, including here in the Yukon. This amended Act is a crucial step on our journey of reconciliation between the Government of Yukon and Yukon First Nations. These changes were co-developed with Yukon First Nations and represent a philosophical shift that will improve outcomes for all children, youth, and families in the child welfare system, and address the over representation of Indigenous children and youth in care. 

Minister of Health and Social Services and Minister of Justice Tracy-Anne McPhee

The passing of this Act represents a critical milestone in addressing the over-representation of Yukon First Nations children and youth involved in the child welfare system and is the result of decades of advocacy by Yukon First Nations. Yukon First Nations look forward to continued collaboration on the Implementation of the Act including policy and practice development.

Council of Yukon First Nations Grand Chief Peter Johnston

Quick facts 
  • This Act addresses the recommendations from Embracing the Children of Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow, the 2019 final report by the Child and Family Services Advisory Committee. The report can be found here. The final report included 149 recommendations, sixty-five of which required legislative amendments.

  • This Act also brings Yukon’s legislation in line with An Act respecting First Nations, Inuit and Métis children, youth and families, the federal legislation that came into force on January 1, 2020.

  • The Child and Family Services Act Steering Committee was established in July 2020 and includes representatives from Kwanlin Dün First Nation, Carcross/Tagish First Nation, Little Salmon Carmacks First Nation, White River First Nation, First Nation of Na-Cho Nyak Dun, Ross River Dena Council, Liard First Nation, Champagne and Aishihik First Nations, Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation Government, Ta’an Kwäch’än Council, Teslin Tlingit Council and Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in. The committee was co-chaired by the Council of Yukon First Nations. 

  • All 14 Yukon First Nations were invited to sit on the committee. The two First Nations not on the committee were welcome to join at any time. They also received updates from the steering committee on the progress of this initiative.

  • The Yukon provides child welfare services to all Yukoners, including First Nations children and youth, under the Child and Family Services Act which came into force in 2010.

  • As of January 2022, there were 79 children and youth in the care of the Director of Family and Children’s Services. This number represents a decrease of about 40 per cent over the past four years. Approximately 96 per cent of children and youth in care are Indigenous.

Contact 

Renée Francoeur
Cabinet Communications
867-334-9194
renee.francoeur@yukon.ca

 

Michael Edwards
Communications, Health and Social Services
867-667-8539
michael.edwards@gov.yk.ca

News release #: 
22-144