Native Children and the Child Welfare System in Canada


  • Christine Davies



This article is comprised of a speech given by Professor Davies at the World Conference of the International Society on Family Law, held in 1991 in Yugoslavia. The professor leads into her discussion by reviewing the dismal statistics that face native people in Canada. The author suggests that the government's past approach, namely that of assimilation, combined with funding squabbles between the federal and provincial governments have been largely responsible for Canada's native child welfare problems. More recently, a new attitude of cooperation has emerged between the government and native leaders. The result has been increased autonomy for native people in the area of child welfare and a greater sensitivity of the government to native concerns and cultural differences. While the author contends these changes are positive, she stresses that the autonomy of the native community must not infringe on the best interests of the child.