98 per cent of child and youth receiving care in N.W.T. are Indigenous, report says

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The annual report of the Director of Child and Family Services was tabled in the N.W.T. Legislature Wednesday. It indicates that 98 per cent of children and youth who received care from the territorial government from April 1, 2020 to March 31, 2021 were Indigenous. (Richard Gleeson/CBC - image credit)
The annual report of the Director of Child and Family Services was tabled in the N.W.T. Legislature Wednesday. It indicates that 98 per cent of children and youth who received care from the territorial government from April 1, 2020 to March 31, 2021 were Indigenous. (Richard Gleeson/CBC - image credit)

Despite efforts since 2019 to reduce the number of Indigenous children and youth in care, the annual report of the Director of Child and Family Services (CFS) tabled in the N.W.T. 's Legislative Assembly Wednesday indicates almost all children and youth receiving care from the territorial government are Indigenous.

The report said 98 per cent of the 1,044 children or youth who received services in the territory from CFS between April 1, 2020 and March 31, 2021, — the period the report covers — are Indigenous, while only 57 per cent of children and youth in the N.W.T are Indigenous.

N.W.T. Child and Family Services, a division of the Department of Health and Social Services, said in the report that it was, "committed to taking action to address this inequity experienced by Indigenous families and communities."

The report also highlighted that 92 per cent of the young people receiving services were residing in their home communities, and 75 per cent remained in their own homes.

Cases of young people receiving care is not evenly distributed across regions. There was a disproportionate percentage of young people receiving services in the Tłı̨chǫ region relative to the population distribution.

The report also stated that over the last 10 years, the number of children and youth in permanent care was roughly cut in half.

Minister of Health and Social Services Julie Green said the report highlights that good efforts are being made to improve outcomes for Indigenous families, by engaging with Indigenous governments and trying to maintain "the connections of children and youth to family, community, and culture."

Green said in a statement that the government of the Northwest Territories is committed to ongoing system reform.

CBC News reached out the Department of Health and Social Services for an interview, but a representative was not available by press time.

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