CALGARY, AB (July 19th, 2016): Dr. David Swann welcomed today’s release of reports by the Auditor General (AG) and the Office of the Child and Youth Advocate (OCYA) on child and family services to indigenous peoples, and called on the government to implement the recommendations of these offices with all possible haste.
“Decades have gone by with much the same findings year after year,” Swann said of the reports. “Timely, meaningful action is what’s now required.”
The two reports by the Auditor General and the Child and Youth Advocate revealed an inability by the Human Services Ministry to effectively incorporate aboriginal cultural understanding into its practices and highlighted the need for better reporting and evaluation of delivered services.
Recommendations contained within the reports overlap with those of previous reports (including Valuing Mental Health of which Dr. Swann was co-chair), stressing an integrated system that works with indigenous communities to identify problems early and quickly refer individuals to needed treatment.
“Early intervention, child-centred services and community supports are themes that return time and again,” Swann continued. “Those who work in these areas are committed to their jobs and we need to provide systems that can support them and the indigenous communities they serve.
“The problems faced by indigenous children and families in Alberta are serious and well known. What’s been missing is the political will to address challenges and make required changes,” concluded Swann.