The Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT) released its "What We Heard Report" summarizing the results of public engagement on the proposed amendments to the Child and Family Services Act. The report includes feedback received from Indigenous governments, residents with lived experience in the Child and Family Services system, service delivery partners, and identified stakeholders.
Respondents supported some of the proposed amendments while expressing concern in other areas. Common themes included:
- concern that the proposed amendments are too minor and would result in too little change;
- support for the proposal to extend eligibility of Extended Support Services Agreements from age 23 to 29; and
- support for the inclusion of care providers in Plan of Care Committees, and requests for members from the child’s broader support system to be involved in the process.
The results of the public engagement, together with cross-jurisdictional reviews, additional policy research, and recommendations from the Standing Committee on Social Development, will help inform future changes to the Child and Family Services Act, which is anticipated to happen during the 20th Legislative Assembly.
“The proposed amendments to the Child and Family Services Act are a part of the GNWT's commitment to the larger goal of reforming the Child and Family Services system. The feedback from this engagement, in addition to recommendations from the Standing Committee on Social Development, cross-jurisdictional reviews, and policy research, will assist in shaping future changes that aim to address systemic issues contributing to inequities in services provided to families and the overrepresentation of Indigenous children and youth in care.”
- Julie Green, Minister of Health and Social Services
- The purpose of the public engagement was to gather information about the proposed changes to the Child and Family Services Act and how these amendments could best support child and family services reform in the NWT.
- The public engagement took place between April 1 and 30, 2022, with Indigenous governments, service delivery partners, and stakeholders being invited to provide feedback to proposed changes outlined in the Discussion Paper.
- In total, 13 responses were received – 10 written submissions and three Facebook comments.
- The Child and Family Services Act establishes both the prevention and protection framework for children and youth in the NWT by setting out requirements for child and family services delivery across the Territory.
- Systemic issues contributing to inequities in service delivery have been identified within the Child and Family Services system, and amendments to the Child and Family Services Act are part of work being undertaken to reach a larger goal of system reform.
- The federal Act respecting First Nations, Inuit, and Métis children, youth and families (Federal Act) aims to reduce the number of Indigenous children and youth in care and improve child and family services.
- Since the coming into force of the Federal Act, the GNWT developed practice standards that align with the national principles and standards for service provision and has incorporated these elements into its frontline service delivery across the NWT.
- The “Child and Family Services Act: Proposed Amendments Discussion Paper”, released publicly in spring 2022, outlines the changes to the Child and Family Services Act that were under consideration by the Department.
What We Heard – Proposed Amendments to the Child and Family Services Act
Proposed amendments to the Child and Family Services Act
For media requests, please contact:
Department of Health and Social Services
Government of the Northwest Territories
(867) 767-9052 ext. 49034