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Common Questions

What about child protection for Aboriginal people?

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 Aboriginal 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 his/her 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 and the Aboriginal Community, from Legal Services Society, is an overview of what the law says, what the Ministry does, and what your options are.
  • Aboriginal Child Protection Process: Information for Aboriginal Parents and Communities, from Legal Services Society, 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 Services Society, explains how Aboriginal delegated agencies may be involved in child protection matters. It also contains contact information for delegated agencies and a fact sheet fact sheet explaining what Aboriginal parents can do during a child protection investigation.

Need more help?

  • Call Legal Aid, from the Legal Services Society, to see if you are qualified for a free lawyer.
  • Find more help near you on Clicklaw HelpMap.

See our related common questions:

Last reviewed November 2017
removal of a child from the home, custody, child protection, guardianship of children,