Cowichan needs a ‘no apprehension’ child protection model
I attended a town hall meeting last Thursday night (Feb. 7) and learned that our community can improve things for all our families.
The meeting was designed as a panel discussion about the high rates of indigenous children in government care in the Cowichan Valley. The area’s Green Party MLA, Sonia Furstenau, hosted the panel. According to a November 2018 report in The Tyee last June, the Duncan office of the Ministry of Children and Family Development had in its care 275 children, the majority of which (78 per cent) were indigenous/First Nations. This means that children had been separated from their families.
Members and partners of the group, Red Willow Womyn’s Society, said it was time we as a community demand things be done differently. One of the suggested approaches was to make as a bottom line principal “keep families together”. Another was to create a “no apprehension” model and a third: “prevention”. Kate Koyote of the Matraea Midwifery Centre in Duncan referred to the successful operation of this model in Alert Bay. She said when a family is having struggles there, a team interceded to find out how it can help the family. If there is a need for counselling, clothes, food, child-care, time off for the parents, the team arranges this, and child-apprehension — taking the children from the parents for protection — is no longer necessary. I am convinced by what I heard, that we should make this change here.