News October 21, 2010

Major Changes Recommended for the Child and Family Services Act

(YELLOWKNIFE) October 21, 2010 – The Legislative Assembly’s Standing Committee on Social Programs, chaired by MLA Tom Beaulieu, today presented its “Report on the Review of the Child and Family Services Act: Building Stronger Families”, to the Legislative Assembly of the Northwest Territories. 

Mr. Beaulieu says, “Basically, the Committee found that many objectives of the Act are simply not being met. However, Members also heard that there is hope, that the communities want to take responsibility for their children and that a new relationship can be built with the Department of Health and Social Services. It is in this spirit that the Committee offers its recommendations for change. The Committee hopes to continue the work that this report begins. We look forward to working with the Minister of Health and Social Services to build stronger families and stronger communities.” 

Some of the recommendations that can be found in the report include: 
• Focus on prevention and early intervention, helping families stay together and heal; 
• Provide alcohol and drug treatment, which is readily accessible and convenient to all communities; 
• Extend child and family services to youth aged 16-19, with provisions to assist young adults to age 23; 
• Take the least intrusive measures possible to deliver child welfare services, with increased emphasis on collaborative processes to solve family problems; and 
• Improve the administration of Child and Family Services Committees in every community, as set out in the Act and provide resources to communities to take more responsibility for child welfare. 

“Although we are fully aware that some of these recommendations are quite large and will take time, the Committee believes that the recommendations are fully feasible and we think that we will see most of these changes take effect in the near future,” says Mr. Beaulieu. 

The overview of the report was today presented in the House and the full report can be viewed on the Legislative Assembly website at 

For more information, please contact: 

Tom Beaulieu, Chair 
Standing Committee on Social Programs 
Legislative Assembly of the NWT 
Phone: 867-669-2287 
Toll-free: 1-800-661-0784 

Gail Bennett, Principal Clerk of Operations 
Legislative Assembly of the NWT 
Phone: 867-669-2343 
Toll-free: 1-800-661-0784