Nishnawbe Aski Nation Holds Child Welfare Conference in Winnipeg

Between January 30 to February 1, 2024, Nishnawbe Aski Nation (‘NAN’) held a Band Representative Conference in Winnipeg. The Band Representative Program creates a vital link between a First Nation and the child and family services system.  Band Reps represent the interests of the First Nation in child welfare proceedings, advocate for children and families, and work toward keeping families and communities together.

On day one of the conference, Deputy Grand Chief Bobby Narcisse led a conversation with conference attendees (including Band Representatives) to better understand what they want the Band Representative program to be. There is no national standard for Band Representatives across Canada, and no guide that explains the roles, responsibilities, or opportunities for Band Representatives and their role in supporting First Nation Communities managing child welfare issues. As a result, there is a concern that Band Representative programs are operating as a patchwork of programs that vary from province to province, and from one community to another.

Deputy Grand Chief Narcisse encouraged attendees to paint their own canvas of what Band Representative Services should look like in their communities. This included a discussion on how Band Representatives can be better resourced to serve First Nation communities, and what standards should be put in place to ensure the healthy, safe, effective, and culturally relevant Band Representative programming in the respective First Nation communities.

On day two of the conference, Deputy Grand Chief Bobby Narcisse led a discussion about the development of a Coordination an Oversight Team (“COT”). The COT has been designed to ensure the citizens of NAN First Nations are supported and set up for success for the incoming influx of remedies from the ongoing Canadian Human Rights Tribunal case. The COT will include knowledge keepers and subject matter experts with the expertise and cultural competence to address the challenges associated with child welfare reforms in a good way.

Falconers LLP has the honour to support NAN in developing and supporting these initiatives, with the continued goal of looking to end the discrimination that Indigenous children face in Canada.

NAN Event Page:

Band Rep Conference Program

National Band Rep Presentation.January 30 2024

NAN COT Presentation for Band Rep Conference – January 31 2024

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