Prior to colonization, Indigenous communities and families had well-established systems of childcare and education that focused on the well-being of Indigenous children and youth. In 1951, revisions to the Indian Act granted provincial child welfare agencies authority on reserves, which led to Indigenous children being taken away from their families at a staggering rate. Despite recent apologies from the government, these actions have resulted in more Indigenous children in the child welfare system today than during the peak of the residential school system.
In January 2019, NWAC hosted a national conference where important stakeholders met to discuss the emergency state of child and family services for Indigenous families. In February 2019, Indigenous Services Canada introduced Bill C-92, an Act Respecting First Nations, Inuit and Métis Children, Youth and Families, which affirmed Indigenous peoples’ right to exercise authority over child and family services. NWAC prioritizes the inclusion of Indigenous Women, Girls, Two-Spirit, Transgender, and Gender-Diverse People, during the implementation process of Bill C-92. NWAC advocates for issues of child welfare through the development of policy, which influences and guides the implementation of federal legislation.