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Common Questions

What about child protection for Indigenous peoples?

Last reviewed in June 2022 by the Clicklaw Editors

If the BC Ministry of Children and Family Development receives reports concerning the safety and well-being of any child, its social workers will investigate. A child can be removed from the home, and this is called child protection. In Indigenous communities, an Aboriginal delegated agency-- a ministry group already working with the Band to provide child welfare services--may investigate.

Because BC law says that the child’s family ties and Aboriginal identity are important to their well-being, parents have the right to work out a child protection plan with their band or community through a traditional decision making process. Additional options, such as asking for a mediator (someone who will help work out an agreement between you and the ministry/Aboriginal delegated agency), are outlined in the resources below.

Good starting points include:

  • Child Protection, from Legal Aid BC, is an overview of what the law says, what the Ministry does, and what your options are.
  • Aboriginal Child Protection Process flow chart, from Legal Aid BC gives a step-by-step overview of the Aboriginal child protection process and information on the rights of Aboriginal children, families, and their communities. It also outlines what may happen if there needs to be a hearing in court.
  • Aboriginal Delegated Agencies, from Legal Aid BC, explains how Aboriginal delegated agencies may be involved in child protection matters. It also contains contact information for delegated agencies and a PDF publication that explains the child protection process.
  • Legal Information for Indigenous People, from the Bella Coola Legal Advocacy Program, has a section on Children and Families that covers child protection laws, child protection resources, Jordan's Principle, rights of a child, and family law. 

Need more help?

  • Parents Legal Centres help parents with child protection matters. You can call into a centre and find out if you qualify for a free lawyer and an advocate.
  • Indigenous Justice Centres provide culturally appropriate information, advice, support, and representation for Indigenous people. 
  • Find more help near you on Clicklaw HelpMap.

See our related common questions:

removal of a child from the home, custody, child protection, guardianship of children, Aboriginal