News January 11, 2010

Review of the Child and Family Services Act Underway

(Yellowknife, NT) January 11, 2010 – The Standing Committee on Social Programs has begun its review of the Child and Family Services Act as defined by the Terms of Reference adopted by the Legislative Assembly on October 22, 2009. A Report is expected to be tabled in the Legislative Assembly during the fall 2010 session. 

“The Northwest Territories must ensure that child protection legislation keeps pace with our constantly evolving society,” says Mr. Tom Beaulieu, Chair of the Standing Committee. “We in the North are only too aware that the well-being of our children is vital for a strong and vibrant future.” 

The Committee appreciates the ongoing cooperation of the Department of Health and Social Services in the conduct of the review and recognizes this collaborative approach as an opportunity to work within the consensus government framework for the benefit of children and families of the Northwest Territories. 

The review will consist of several components including an examination of child protection legislation in other jurisdictions. The Committee will coordinate several contractor-facilitated meetings and interviews which will take place in January and February 2010 with various stakeholder groups and will include parents and youth who receive child and family services. The Committee will be releasing a public discussion paper in newspapers throughout the NWT in late January 2010. The discussion paper will include information on the current Act, the review process, the opportunities that will be available for the public to participate, a schedule of the community meetings that will take place throughout the Northwest Territories in April 2010, and suggested discussion questions to promote public dialogue on this important issue. The public can expect a press conference announcing the release of the discussion paper in January. 

“The Committee is eager to hear from as many individuals and organizations as possible on this important issue. We are committed to working with stakeholders, clients of the child protection system, the public and the Department of Health and Social Services in order to undertake a thorough and responsive review of the Act,” says Mr. Glen Abernethy, Deputy Chair of the Committee. In addition to the scheduled public meetings in April 2010, the Committee would be pleased to receive written or emailed submissions at any time. 

The Terms of Reference can be found on the Assembly website at  on the Home Page. 

For more information or to inquire about making a written submission, please contact: 

Tom Beaulieu, Chair 
Standing Committee on Social Programs 
MLA Tu Nedhe 
Tel: 867-669-2287 
Toll Free: 1-800-661-0784 

Gail Bennett, Principal Clerk 
Standing Committee on Social Programs 
Tel: 867-669-2343 
Toll Free: 1-800-661-0784