Treaty 2 Territory – The interests of the child are not held paramount in previous examples of state run Child & Family services. This has to change. The inherent rights of the child, as opposed to the ‘interests’ of the Child become paramount in the contemplation of the development of the law. This means looking to and being inclusive of international covenants and declarations on the rights of the Child.
The promotion of wellness as a holistic concept of being in the world of a Child. This means that wellness goes beyond the immediate provision of physical safety and mitigation of risks. It also replaces the colonial concept of ‘prevention.’ It means nurturing from a very early stage in the human development, to implement services that promote the overall health and wellbeing of a child. This permits the use of wellness techniques including mediation and family group conferencing as a means to promote the health and wellness of children and families.
The drafting of the CFN law has recognized that healthy families and healthy nations help raise healthy children. It removes the use of “best interests,” which has largely been weaponized against Anishinaabe children, to ensure that the interests of the child are balanced with the interests of the family and the nation. It prioritizes wellness care as a pre-requisite to family intervention.
On occasion, family intervention will be necessary. This replaces the former concept of ‘apprehension.’ It includes accountability measures for not only the parents and families but for the wellness team. It requires the wellness team to mitigate risk to a child prior to removing a child. It obligates the wellness team, in cooperation with the parent, to create a plan of Care that creates mutual responsibilities for both the parent and the wellness team. Most importantly, it recognizes that the action of taking a child away from their parent creates an equal responsibility to the child and the parent to assist the parent.
Eventually, it is the goal of FNT2T to exercise jurisdiction over all of its children. However, as this is a phased approach, the initial focus will be to exercise jurisdiction over the children who are physically resident within the geographical boundaries of Treaty 2 territory.
The above changes will remove the jurisdiction of the colonial court system in relation to Anishinaabe children in FNT2T and will reclaim the inherent jurisdiction of the Local Nations. This proposed process would function within a newly created system that is culturally relevant, nation driven and nation focused.
Last modified: April 21, 2021