Families Minister Scott Fielding has assembled a team of seven community leaders and experts that will review child welfare legislation to ensure it supports the government’s proposed reforms to create better outcomes for children.
“We are moving child welfare laws in a new direction that will allow for more community decision-making and planning and greater support for families and children,” said Fielding. “This comprehensive review will examine existing legislation to find ways we can incorporate initiatives such as early intervention to keep children safely with their families or in their home communities, flexible funding to community agencies and permanency options like customary care.”
The committee will hold its first meeting today. Andrew Micklefield, MLA for Rossmere, will serve as committee chair. Micklefield is a father of three who served as principal of The King’s School prior to being elected. As deputy government house leader and member of the Legislative Assembly Management Committee, he brings experience in legislative review and government planning and priorities, the minister noted.
Manitoba’s unique legislation devolves responsibility for Indigenous child welfare to authorities directed by boards appointed by the Southern Chiefs Organization (SCO), Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak (MKO) and Manitoba Metis Federation (MMF). Based on advice from those organizations and other key stakeholders, the minister named the following members to the legislative review committee:
“The committee will engage authorities, community organizations, key stakeholders and experts who are invested in improving child welfare outcomes,” said Micklefield. “Input is critical and we’re looking for a wide range of ideas, especially from youth, families and service providers involved in the child protection and family support systems.”
The committee will hold targeted consultations with stakeholders to discuss ways to transform the legislation that guides the CFS system: The Child and Family Services Act and The Child and Family Services Authorities Act.
“As a member of the CFS Legislative Review Committee, I hope we can rethink how we deliver child services to children and families,” said Daniels. “It’s time to think outside the box and make substantial changes that have real long-term impact.”
“Working at the front-lines and having personal experience in the child welfare system, we have a unique and meaningful opportunity to influence positive change in how we support children, families and communities,” said Redsky. “I am confident our concerns have been heard by government and we can begin the healing journey for families affected by CFS and strengthen our communities.”
The review includes regional meetings, an online survey and discussion paper that will be available to the public at www.gov.mb.ca/fs/child_welfare_reform/index.html in English and www.gov.mb.ca/fs/child_welfare_reform/index.fr.html in French.