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History of the Agency

Under the umbrella of the Canada Manitoba Indian Child Welfare Agreement signed in February 1982, West Region Child and Family Services began its operations with the signing of its first Subsidiary Agreement in September 1982. It provides services to the nine member First Nations in the West Region Tribal area: O-Chi-Chak-Ko-Sipi, Ebb & Flow, Tootinaowaziibeeng, Skownan, Pine Creek, Gambler, Keeseekoowenin, Waywayseecappo, and Rolling River.

In April, 1985, application was made to the Province of Manitoba for mandating West Region Child and Family Services as a child caring agency under the Child Welfare Act (Manitoba). A review was conducted by the Province in May, 1985, resulting in unanimous agreement that West Region Child and Family Services was ready to assume such a mandate immediately. The mandate to operate as a child and family services agency, under the Provincial Child and Family Services Act was granted to West Region Child and Family Services in September 1985.

The use of provincial legislation on reserve, as set out in the initial Tripartite Agreement, has always been regarded as an interim measure by the chiefs of the West Region First Nations. In making application for provincial mandate, principles were outlined which were to govern this interim relationship with the Province. The principles are as follows:

  • The West Region Reserves have a special trust relationship with the Federal Government of Canada.

  • This relationship guarantees certain rights, which include a fiscal responsibility on the part of Canada for Child and Family Services to Indian people.

  • The relationship between the West Region Reserves and the provincial government shall be as to further and strengthen the development of Indian people without in any way undermining either the special status of Indian People within the Canadian Federation, or the special trust relationship that Indians have with the Federal Government.

  • Indian people are entitled to the benefit programs and services available to all other citizens of Manitoba, with these provided in such a manner that the benefits do not replace an obligation of Canada or detract from or undermine the special trust relationship.

  • The Government of the Province of Manitoba recognizes the aspirations of the Indian people to achieve self-determination and Indian self-government.

  • By virtue of Section 91-24 Constitution Act 1967, Canada has legislative authority in respect to Indians and lands reserved for Indians.

  • By virtue of Section 92 Constitution Act 1967, Manitoba at present has legislative authority with respect to the protection of children.

  • The minister of Indian Affairs retains a special relationship to and interest in the welfare of Indian children, by virtue of the special status of registered Indians as defined in the Treaties, and the provisions of the Indian Act and the Constitution Act 1967.

  • Indian people have the right to develop, control, and deliver their own Child and Family Services.

  • Tripartite Agreements were entered by the West Region First Nations, the Province, and Canada through the Minister of Indian Affairs, to alleviate the problem of a lack of constitutional recognition and federal legislation and thereby provide an administrative mechanism to deliver child and family services on the West Region reserves.

A full range of child and family services is provided by West Region Child and Family Services: community development, foster adoptions, apprehensions, placement of children, single parent services, repatriation services, child abuse program, alternate care resource development, chemical abuse counseling, outreach liaison services & treatment services. In addition, the agency and its staff have been very involved in broader child welfare issues and in liaison with numerous other agencies to address these issues.