Students of all ages wore orange in recognition of Orange Shirt Day in Williams Lake. (Black Press files)

B.C. announces funding for First Nations, Metis family agencies

Funding stems from Grand Chief Ed John’s 2016 report on Indigenous child welfare

New funding announced on Orange Shirt Day set to be made available to Indigenous agencies that serve youth and families.

First Nations and Metis-serving agencies can each apply for $30,000 of $6.4 million in provincial funding, Minister of Children and Family Development Katrine Conroy said in a statement Saturday.

The funding, which stems from Grand Chief Ed John’s 2016 report on Indigenous child welfare, is to be used for family services such as transportation assistance to court or counselling, hiring support workers, working with elders and strengthening traditional Indigenous skills within families.

PHOTO GALLERY: Orange Shirt Day in Williams Lake

READ MORE: B.C. Legislature shines spotlight on Orange Shirt Day

The funds are set to increase to $9.5 million annually in 2018. How the additional funding will be spent has yet to be determined, according to the ministry.

“Reducing the number of children in care is part of the very first call to action by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. We support that important work and recognize it must be led by Indigenous communities,” Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation Scott Fraser said.

The funding announcement comes on national Orange Shirt Day, a day to remember the trauma caused by residential schools and to promote reconciliation.

“It marks the time of year when Indigenous children were taken from their homes to residential schools — a dark period in B.C.’s history that has resulted in a cycle of inter-generational trauma still felt in many Indigenous communities and families today,” Conroy said.

The deadline to apply is Oct. 20, and must include a proposal outlining their community’s prevention and family-support needs, as well as how the funding can help them address those needs.

Final Report of Grand Chief Ed John by Ashley Wadhwani on Scribd


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