Recent cuts to Ontario’s Ministry of Child and Youth Services may cause terrible damage to First Nations children in the communities of Moosonee and Moose Factory.
The Northern Ontario communities may face the closure of two receiving homes that provide temporary accommodations to at-risk youth who are not safe at home because of abuse or neglect. The homes provide the children with a transition in a safe place.
Payukotayno: James and Hudson Bay Family Services faces a budget shortfall of $2 million this year. This shortfall means that they will have to layoff up to 30 staff members and the two receiving homes will close as of August 31.
A representative of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) says that the cuts may prevent the organization from fulfilling their mandate of protecting children and youth.
This is unacceptable. For some time now the government has been promising funding for high risk Children’s Aid Societies and services to aboriginal communities. That we would witness further cuts to services to children and youth in an already under-resourced community, with kids and families struggling with huge challenges including poverty and lack of good jobs, shows a complete lack of commitment on the part of government to take seriously the challenges our communities face.
The McGuinty government, for its part, is opening a new facility nearby, but CUPE says that this facility is not scheduled to open any time soon and the communities’ children and youth will suffer in the meantime.
Funding for children and youth has been an issue between the Assembly of First Nations and the Federal government for quite a while. The AFN says the government has shown a long pattern of less funding for children and youth services in First Nations communities. This is problematic because under the constitution, First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples fall under the responsibility of the federal government.
Photo Credit: Caelie_Frampton