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Jordan's Principle and Other Things I Knew Little About

6 years after its release, I am finally digging into the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s 94 calls to action. There are 90 days left in the year and the goal is to read and reflect on at least one call to action daily for the remainder of the year. Thank you for joining me on this journey. May our endeavour together be a catalyst for lasting progress and affect meaningful change in Canada.

The second and third Calls to Action, under the heading Legacy focusing on Child Welfare are:

“2. We call upon the federal government, in collaboration with the provinces and territories, to prepare and publish annual reports on the number of Aboriginal children (First Nations, Inuit, and Métis) who are in care, compared with non-Aboriginal children, as well as the reasons for apprehension, the total spending on preventive and care services by child-welfare agencies, and the effectiveness of various interventions.
3. We call upon all levels of government to fully implement Jordan’s Principle.”

Truthfully, my stomach turned as I Google searched, “reports on the number of Aboriginal

Children in care,” in the same way that it turns when I search for stats pertaining to the disproportionate police brutality affecting visible minorities in North America, and especially in light of the legacy of residential schools’ treatment and abuse of indigenous children uncovered as of late. Fearing complacency more, I opened my browser:

I found this in the “Annual Report to Parliament 2020

“As Figure 52 illustrates […] the likelihood of being in foster care is much higher for Indigenous children. Registered Indian children, in particular, are 15 times more likely than non-Indigenous children to be in foster care.

Note that Figure 52 includes a statistic for all Registered Indian children, in addition to the breakdown between those living on and off reserve. In subsequent charts related to foster care, the breakdown is not included as it may be misleading, since Registered Indian children living in foster care off reserve may come from families living on reserve.

Figure 52: Percentage of children aged 0-17 in foster care, 2016, Indigenous and non-Indigenous populations, Canada

Data on foster care gaps is only available for two time periods, as this information was only first captured in the 2011 National Household Survey, which was that year's equivalent to the long-form census. As Figure 53 shows, the percentage of children in foster care fell between 2011 and 2016 for all Indigenous groups except for Non-Status Indians, who saw a slight increase in the percentage of children in foster care. Since the proportion of non-Indigenous children in foster care (0.3%) did not change between 2011 and 2016, all Indigenous groups except for Non-Status Indians experienced a small decrease in the foster care gap.

Figure 53: Percentage of children aged 0-17 in foster care, 2011 – 2016, Indigenous and non-Indigenous populations, Canada

Region matters

Figure 54 illustrates that, although there are some regions in which the foster care gap for Non-Status Indians is small or negligible, the gap for Registered Indians is always pronounced. In Manitoba the gaps for both Registered Indians (6.8 percentage points) and Non-Status Indians (12.4 percentage points) are particularly large.

Figure 54: Percentage of children aged 0-17 in foster care, 2016, First Nations and non-Indigenous populations, by region

I discovered, as I read and reflected on these two calls to action, that I was significantly under-informed about Jordan’s Principal:

“Jordan's Principle makes sure all First Nations children living in Canada can access the products, services and supports they need, when they need them. Funding can help with a wide range of health, social and educational needs, including the unique needs that First Nations Two-Spirit and LGBTQQIA children and youth and those with disabilities may have.
Jordan's Principle is named in memory of Jordan River Anderson. He was a young boy from Norway House Cree Nation in Manitoba.”

If you are looking to make a difference in Saskatoon, please consider a donation to the Core Neighbourhood Youth Co-op.

"The youth who attend CNYC come from difficult circumstances, often unhealthy and unsafe living conditions, and are faced with ongoing challenges as they transition into adulthood. Without positive family and peer support, they have not been successful in the conventional education system and many have been involved with the criminal justice system. A majority of our participants are youth between the ages of 16-19 and vast majority of whom are Metis or Indigenous." Donate here:

- Tallis


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