In collaboration with B.C. First Nations, Métis Peoples, and Inuit, continue implementing changes to substantially reduce the number of Indigenous children and youth in care through increased prevention and family support services at all stages of contact with the child welfare system.

Ministry of Children and Family Development

Year started


Current year


How far along
is this work?


How complicated
is this work?


Are there


How are we
working together?


In collaboration with First Nations in B.C., Métis and Inuit, the Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD) continues the work to substantially reduce the number of Indigenous children and youth in care through the ongoing transformation and enhancement of children and family services across British Columbia. First Nations, Métis and Inuit have long advocated for the creation of an Indigenous Child Welfare Director (ICWD) position within the ministry. The creation of this position was included in Bill 38 in 2022, and an enabling regulation came into force in March 2024. The ICWD position was posted on the B.C. government job board and is accepting applications from May 2, 2024, to May 30, 2024.

This ICWD role will expand information sharing with First Nations, Métis and Inuit and collaborate with First Nations developing agreements for enabling jurisdiction over children and family services, including preventive and family supports. Example agreements that First Nations and Indigenous governing bodies can initiate with MCFD include community agreements and information sharing agreements entered into under section 92.1 of the Child, Family and Community Service Act (CFCSA), enabling agreements and amending agreements under the CFCSA; and co-ordination agreements under the federal Act: An Act respecting First Nations, Inuit and Métis children, youth and families.

MCFD has one signed co-ordination agreement, three signed section 92.1 community agreements, and 111 signed information sharing agreements. MCFD is in the process of negotiating an additional six co-ordination agreements and an additional five section 92.1 community agreements.

Since April 1, 2023, MCFD has signed 10 new information sharing agreements with: Sqwá First Nation, Kwantlen First Nation, Gitanmaax Band, McLeod Lake Indian Band, Ucluelet First Nation, Simpcw First Nation, Inuvialuit Regional Corporation, Tsawout, Kitasoo Xai’xais Nation, and Malahat Nation. MCFD has signed one new section 92.1 community agreement with Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw Nations. 

How are we working together?

Agreements enabled under legislation are initiated by First Nations and Indigenous governing bodies and carried out in a manner, frequency, and timeline that reflects their needs. The number, nature (bi-lateral with the Province, tripartite with the Province and Canada); and scope of the agreements (e.g., prevention and/or protection services, requirements for funding, communities and children and families served) are determined by the relevant First Nations and Indigenous governing bodies. 

MCFD continues to engage with Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) and First Nations communities at the six co-ordination tables as well engaging in negotiations for section 92.1 community agreements as requested. Ongoing consultation and co-operation continues with First Nations Leadership Council (FNLC) receiving regular updates. Six new Nations have received Indigenous governing body status since April 2023. The ongoing enhancement, development and implementation of new programs is informed through ongoing consultation with First Nations leadership organizations, communities and service providers.

Are there challenges?

A wide range of agreements enabled under legislation exist to support First Nations jurisdiction of children and family services (section 92.1 agreements, enabling agreements, amending agreements, co-ordination agreements and treaties). The number of negotiations across all agreements is expected to increase significantly over time. For co-ordination agreements alone, the number of negotiations is expected to rise from six agreements being negotiated in 2023/24 to 10 agreements being negotiated in 2024/25, to 19 being negotiated in 2025/26, with another 19 Indigenous governing bodies who could confirm intent to begin a co-ordination agreement at any time.

Jurisdiction over Indigenous child and family services has been recognized as a Constitution Act, 1982 section 35 right of Indigenous Peoples by the Province in section 4.1 of the CFCSA. However, it is not clear at this time which precise section 35 rights may or may not be held by MNBC, including those over child and family services in B.C.  Additionally, MCFD is waiting for the outcome of the judicial review on the federal decision to not recognize MNBC as an Indigenous governing body in B.C. This has created complexity on which agreements can apply to MNBC, and MCFD leadership has engaged with MNBC on the legal complexities as it pertains to this area. 

With the initial increase in agreements resulting from amendments to federal legislation (Bill C-92 in January 2020) and provincial legislation (Bill 22 in 2018, Bill 38 in 2022), a new branch was created in summer 2023 to support and co-develop Indigenous agreements. Temporary staffing has been put in place by MCFD to respond to strong interest by Indigenous governing bodies to exercise jurisdiction over child and family services. Actions are being taken to retain experienced and knowledgeable staff and to increase staffing further to meet the expected demand.

Previous years’ progress

2022/2023 progress details

Action 4.17 – Year 1 progress image shows: How far along – planning, how complicated is the work – some complexity, are there challenges – notable challenges, how are we working together – some engagement.


Last year, over 90% of Indigenous children who needed protection were able to return to living safely with their families after receiving supports — including culturally specific services such as access to Knowledge Keepers, cultural ceremonies and Elder-led healing.

Although the overrepresentation of Indigenous children and youth in care is still unacceptable and there is still much work to be done, the number of Indigenous children and youth in care has decreased to the lowest number in over 20 years.

Bill 38/2022 Indigenous Self-Government in Child and Family Services Amendment Act:

In collaboration with Indigenous partners, B.C. amended the Child, Family and Community Service Act to remove barriers for Indigenous Peoples exercising jurisdiction over child and family services, becoming the first province in Canada to expressly recognize within provincial legislation Indigenous Peoples’ inherent right to self-government over child and family services. The Act is a turning point that provides a path to end the overinvolvement of the Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD) in the lives of Indigenous families. In addition to setting out a pathway for Indigenous Peoples to exercise legal jurisdiction over child and family services, the amendments create a new Indigenous Child Welfare Director position within MCFD; provide for greater information sharing with Indigenous communities exercising or planning to exercise jurisdiction; and provide for greater involvement of Indigenous communities in child and family services through agreements with the Province. Amendments to the Adoption Act strengthen collaboration with Indigenous communities and consent-based decision making with Indigenous governing bodies on adoption placements and adoption for Indigenous children who are in the care of MCFD.

First Signed Co-ordination Agreement:

Splatsin, B.C. and Canada signed the first tripartite co-ordination agreement in B.C. to ensure that Splatsin can effectively exercise their inherent right of self-government including jurisdiction in relation to child and family services for their children and families. This agreement supports the ongoing exercise of Splatsin’s jurisdiction of their Child, Family and Community Services under Spallumcheen Indian Band Bylaw #3-1980 and Secwépemc  law.

First Signed Co-created Child Welfare Agreement:

Simpcw First Nation and B.C. signed the province’s first co-created child welfare agreement. The Simpcw First Nation now has its unique practices, customs, laws, language and traditions integrated into the Tcwesétmentem: Walking Together Agreement, the first of its kind in B.C. This agreement will inform child welfare decision making and ensure the Simpcw First Nation is involved in the protection, planning and placement of Simpcw children and youth who come into contact with the child welfare system.

Youth Transitions:

Since 2022, the following Youth Transitions programs/supports have been implemented:

  • Ensuring young adults can stay in their homes until age 21 with Temporary Support and Housing Agreements (TSA/THA) (Spring 2022)
  • Additional flexibility for Agreements with Young Adults (AYA) life-skills programming (Spring 2022)
  • A no-limit earnings exemption (Summer 2022)
  • Launch of the Rent Supplements Program (Fall 2022)
  • Second Intake of Rent Supplements Program (Spring 2023)
  • New transition workers have begun to be available on Vancouver Island and in the North
  • Duration of AYAs increased to 84 months (Spring 2023)
  • Increased flexibility to move from a THA to a TSA (Spring 2023)
  • Increases to, and expansion of, dental and medical benefits (Spring 2023)

Healthy Connections Through Culture Program: This program supports Indigenous youth through cultural and community connections and provides funding to support Indigenous youth involved or at risk of involvement with the youth justice system, including those transitioning into adulthood. Foster Parent Recruitment campaign: MCFD is building a new recruitment campaign, designed to recruit more foster parents and out-of-care providers as long-time foster parents retire.


  • Percentage of funding increased: MCFD increased support for “out-of-care caregivers”, often referred to as Kinship caregivers, by more than 70% to harmonize their rates with foster caregiver rates. Service rates, the additional payments that caregivers receive for supporting children or youth with increased needs, have also increased this year by nearly 30%. Respite and relief care has increased up to 36%.
  • Implementation project underway: In 2022, MCFD began implementing the Enhanced Out-of-Care program. This program enables children and youth living with moderate to significant support needs to reside with extended family or people known to them and supports fewer children and youth being brought into care, residing in foster homes or in specialized homes.
  • Legislation amendment: Legislative amendments to the Child, Family and Community Service Act were drafted and are expected to be introduced in May 2023. These legislative amendments are intended to expand eligibility and services available to young adults with government care experience to better support them as they transition to adulthood.

How are we working together?

Over two thirds of Bill 38 came into force in 2022. The Ministry is working with Indigenous partners to develop regulations and policies needed to bring into force the remaining clauses of Bill 38. This includes engagement on changes to court processes to support the full exercise of jurisdiction, developing the Indigenous Child Welfare Director role, expanded information sharing and consent for adoption of Indigenous children. MCFD is also engaging on a fiscal framework to support Indigenous communities providing services to their children and families and expanded the suite of supports and services for young adults under youth transitions.

Are there challenges?

Sufficient capacity is required to ensure rights holders can co-develop Bill 38 regulations, collaborate on the engagement approach for the fiscal framework, schedule and provide regular input on transformational initiatives and have sufficient time to report to their communities.