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Arts researcher helping to fund a future for children

March 14, 2018 — 

John Loxley, a Professor in Economics, began advising the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada (FNCFCSC) and the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) in the early 2000s. His economics background in International Development and Community Economic Development has been beneficial in studying the financing of First Nations child welfare. In Canada, Indigenous children make up less than 10 per cent of all children, but represent about half of those in foster care. Indigenous children thus have a much higher chance of being separated from their families, communities, and cultures.

Loxley shares his motivations for studying child welfare from an economic perspective, “Children are being taken into care at an incredible rate. In addition to the social effects this causes, there are also direct economic impacts on the children now and in the future as well as an indirect impact on society now and in the future. The cost of foster care in terms of human and financial resources is very high. Through our modeling, we have found that much can be saved if you instead put programs in place to prevent foster care. In our funding models, we promote a shift away from the emphasis of protection and apprehension to a more positive and proactive focus on prevention and family retention”.

In 2005, Loxley was a co-author of Wen:de a multidisciplinary research project and national policy review on First Nations child and family services. This led to Alberta and later Manitoba introducing a new approach to funding by the Federal Government focussing on enhanced prevention. However, at the urging of the FNCFCSC and the AFN, the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal reviewed the funding model and ruled that there was not enough being done to end discrimination against First Nations children. Loxley worked with the FNCFCSC and AFN as they oversaw implementation of practices and in 2015, he was asked to provide evidence in front of the Tribunal. In the past year, Loxley worked with the Manitoba Regional Advisory Committee on Child Welfare, which represents First Nations child welfare authorities and agencies, the two levels of government, and the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs to help review and identify gaps in the funding model in Manitoba. In October 2017, he released his latest report and recommendations on the Development of a New Federal/Provincial Funding Model for First Nations CFS in Manitoba. In 2016 and again in early 2018, the Tribunal continued to rule in favour of the agencies and re-stated that the government has still not done enough to move things forward.

On February 14, 2018, the Federal Government announced plans to develop a Recognition and Implementation of Rights Framework. It is hoped that this Framework will include new legislation, policy, and funding on the rights of all Indigenous people including addressing child welfare. In the 2018 Federal Budget, the Liberal government committed $1.4 billion over six years for First Nations child and family services, with an emphasis on preventative care. Loxley’s report was one of the documents reviewed by the government during this process and he is encouraged that the research may have “contributed, even in a small way, to help move things forward for Indigenous children across Canada”.

This week, Loxley will be presenting his report at A Way Forward, the Regional Meeting on First Nations Child and Family Services in Manitoba presented by the Southern First Nations Network of Care and the First Nations of Northern Manitoba Child and Family Services Authority. This three-day meeting provides an opportunity for all CFS stakeholders to come together and develop a path toward reforming, resolving, and reconciling the CFS system in Manitoba.

Date: March 13-15, 2018

Venue: Victoria Inn & Conference Centre, 1808 Wellington Avenue, Winnipeg, MB

Presentation: Thursday, March 15, 9:15 am – 10:15 am

Edits made to organization names, March 14, 2018.

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