Minister of Health and Social Services Pauline Frost, and her counterparts from the Northwest Territories and Nunavut, participated in a national meeting called by federal Minister of Indigenous Services Jane Philpott.
The meeting, which took place over two days beginning on January 24, also included the participation of Yukon Chiefs, First Nation government representatives and other Government of Yukon officials. It was organized to address the over-representation of Indigenous children in care systems across the country.
In addition, Minister Frost and her northern counterparts met privately on the evening of January 24.
Minister Frost today issued the following statement:
The Government of Yukon, Yukon First Nations Chiefs and the Council of Yukon First Nations have together identified children in care as a priority. We are committed to improving the outcomes for our Indigenous children, through a focus on community wellness and prevention, to reduce the need for these children to come into care.
The respectful relationships that we have with the 11 self-governing First Nations and with the three Indian Act Bands in the territory lay a foundation for us to make the collaborative changes needed to assist these children and create healthier communities where Yukoners can thrive.
As governments in Yukon, we recognize that it is important to collaborate and be innovative in the delivery of housing, social services, education and health. It is important to work together on the healing of trauma, preventing adverse childhood experiences, strengthening families and building resilience within our communities to raise healthy, happy children.
I believe that, through venues like the Yukon Forum and the close relationships that have emerged from our government-to-government approaches, we have the opportunity to develop best practices that lead the way in helping keep Indigenous children from coming into contact with our care systems. And we can work across the North to develop strategies that work in small northern isolated communities as well as approaches that will work in larger centres.
We are ready for action. Within the next three months we will undertake a review of our Child and Family Services Act, which will represent a critical first step towards ensuring that every child in Yukon has an opportunity to grow and thrive in a safe, loving and supportive environment. Like those who came before us, we are here today for our children tomorrow.