First Nations Child and Family Services
Indigenous Services Canada's First Nations Child and Family Services Program funds prevention and protection services to support the safety and well-being of First Nations children and families living on reserve, on Crown land and in the Yukon.
2021 CHRT 41: Update
To learn more about how to apply for capital funding to support the delivery of child and family services (2021 CHRT 41), visit Funding for capital assets: Jordan's Principle and First Nations child and family services.
On January 4, 2022, Canada announced that it had reached an Agreement-in-Principle with the Assembly of First Nations, the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society, the Chiefs of Ontario and the Nishnawbe Aski Nation on the long-term reform of the First Nations Child and Family Services Program to:
- better support First Nations and First Nations child and family services agencies in providing culturally-based and substantially equal family supports
- reduce the number of Indigenous children in care and keep children with their families, where they belong
Total FNCFS Program funding for 2021 to 2022 is over $1.6 billion dollars.
On this page
About the program
ISC provides funding to First Nations child and family services agencies, which are established, managed and controlled by First Nations and delegated by provincial authorities to provide prevention and protection services. In areas where these agencies do not exist, ISC funds services provided by the provinces and Yukon but does not deliver child and family services. These services are provided in accordance with the legislation and standards of the province or territory of residence. As of January 1, 2020, service providers delivering child and family services to Indigenous children must comply with the national principles and minimum standards set in An Act respecting First Nations, Inuit and Métis children, youth and families.
Funding for child and family services in Nunavut and the Northwest Territories is provided by the Department of Finance Canada through transfer payment agreements with the territorial governments, which make up a portion of their annual budgets. These governments decide how and where to spend the funds.
ISC uses a prevention-based funding model to support early intervention and alternatives to traditional institutional care and foster care, such as the placement of children with family members in a community setting.
The program provides 3 streams of funding:
- Operations: core and operational funding for protection services (such as salaries and overhead)
- Prevention: resources for enhanced prevention services
- Maintenance: direct costs of placing First Nations children into temporary or permanent care out of the parental home (such as foster care rates and group home rates)
To better support First Nations children's access to the support services they need to transition to adulthood, the program now provides funding to extend services for up to an additional 2 years after the youth:
- has reached the age of majority in their province or territory, or
- is no longer eligible for extended care services as per the provincial or territorial legislation
As a result of the agreement-in-principle on long-term reform, on April 1, 2022, these supports will be made available until the youth turns 26 years of age.
In January 2016, in response to a 2007 complaint by the Assembly of First Nations and the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society, the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal found the FNCFS Program to be flawed, inequitable and discriminatory under the Canadian Human Rights Act. The tribunal ordered the department to cease its discriminatory practices and to reform the program and the1965 Agreement in Ontario (PDF, 1.37 MB, 182 pages) to reflect the findings in their decision.
Further orders were made in:
- April 2016
- September 2016
- March 2017
- February 2018
- August 2020
- February 2021
- August 2021
- November 2021
The Government of Canada has accepted the rulings and is working to fully implement the orders. In response to the February 2018 ruling, Canada immediately began to cover the actual costs of prevention, intake and assessment, legal fees, building repairs, child service purchase and small agency costs (in all areas), as well as actual costs of band representatives and mental health for First Nations youth, in Ontario, retroactively to January 26, 2016, and going forward until an alternate funding system is in place. ISC will continue to work closely with the Consultation Committee on Child Welfare to fully implement the orders.
ISC is also:
- accelerating Budget 2016 funds to meet the immediate service delivery needs for First Nations children and families
- continuing to support engagements and tripartite tables including
Tripartite tables, technical working groups and regional advisory committees comprised of representatives from First Nations, ISC, all provinces and Yukon are in place:
- British Columbia: First Nations Leadership Council tripartite working group and memorandum of understanding between Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada and the First Nations Health Council in relation to services for First Nations children and families in British Columbia
- Alberta: Senior Officials Steering Committee and Technical Working Group
- Saskatchewan: regional table
- Manitoba: Regional Advisory Committee on Child and Family Services and funding model working group
- Ontario: Technical Table on Child and Family Well-Being
- Quebec: regional roundtable and tripartite working group
- Nova Scotia: tripartite working group
- New Brunswick: tripartite working group
- Prince Edward Island: Indigenous child well-being committee
- Newfoundland and Labrador: Innu Round Table Secretariat
- Yukon: the Council of Yukon First Nations, the territory, and ISC are partnering in a tripartite table
Program expenditures and statistics
Table 1 shows the national expenditures for the First Nations Child and Family Services (FNCFS) Program since 2006-2007. The total may not balance due to rounding.
|Fiscal year||FNCFS national expenditures (in millions)||Funding increase from previous year|
|Total increase since 2006: 231.3%|
First Nations Child and Family Services Program statistics of First Nations children living in care on reserve: National picture
Table 2 depicts the national percentage of First Nations children in care on reserve by placement type.
|Year||Foster care||Group home||Institution||Kinship|
|2006 to 2007||89.67%||4.44%||5.89%||0%|
|2007 to 2008||90.24%||4.34%||5.30%||0.12%|
|2008 to 2009||81.07%||4.88%||5.53%||8.52%|
|2009 to 2010||82.42%||3.89%||3.59%||10.10%|
|2010 to 2011||81.72%||4.00%||3.66%||10.62%|
|2011 to 2012||79.96%||4.81%||3.33%||11.90%|
|2012 to 2013||78.55%||4.31%||3.79%||13.35%|
|2013 to 2014||74.90%||4.65%||2.69%||17.84%|
|2014 to 2015||76.07%||5.25%||2.65%||16.12%|
|2015 to 2016||76.97%||4.51%||2.41%||16.20%|
|2016 to 2017||75.23%||4.40%||2.31%||18.12%|
|2017 to 2018||72.73%||4.67%||2.19%||20.53%|
|2018 to 2019||69.73%||4.94%||2.06%||23.39%|
|2019 to 2020||67.94%||4.89%||2.17%||25.12%|
Recipients and the regions continue to review child maintenance data for historical fiscal years. As a result, the child maintenance data for a specific fiscal year may require revisions.
Since 2007, when INAC began shifting the program towards prevention-based funding, child placement trends have shown a gradual decrease in foster care and institutional care and an increase in kinship care.
For 2014 to 2015 and 2015 to 2016, a portion of kinship placements are reflected in foster care due to coding changes (following legislative changes in Quebec).
Children in care counts are based on a point in time, typically the last day of the fiscal year (March 31). It is important to note that this number does not include the number of Indigenous children in care from provincially funded agencies. As well, a point in time count is not a measure of every First Nations child who experiences care in a community over time. By focusing on a single day, the count will not include some people who cycle in and out of care but it does provide an estimate of how many First Nations children are in care on a given day.
Ontario: Before fiscal year 2018 to 2019, kinship placements were reported under foster care.
Manitoba: Kinship care placements are reported under foster care.
Yukon: Before fiscal year 2015 to 2016, kinship placements were reported under foster care.
The figures in Table 3 represent total program expenditures for maintenance, operations and prevention funding (Vote 10, grants and contributions). They do not include internal ISC or other funding.
|Year||Children in careFootnote 1||Average maintenance costs
per childFootnote 2
|Total maintenance costs
(in millions)Footnote 3
|Total actual FNCFS expenditures
|1998 to 1999||7,220||$19,806.09||$143.0||$239.0|
|1999 to 2000||7,762||$20,690.54||$160.6||$260.3|
|2000 to 2001||8,791||$19,519.96||$171.6||$311.5|
|2001 to 2002||8,074||$25,997.03||$209.9||$341.3|
|2002 to 2003||8,225||$22,528.88||$185.3||$336.3|
|2003 to 2004||8,846||$23,829.98||$210.8||$365.0|
|2004 to 2005||8,776||$26,675.02||$234.1||$385.0|
|2005 to 2006||8,907||$28,550.58||$254.3||$416.7|
|2006 to 2007||7,859||$34,253.72||$269.2||$449.5|
|2007 to 2008||8,596||$34,108.89||$293.2||$489.9|
|2008 to 2009||8,806||$34,873.95||$307.1||$523.1|
|2009 to 2010||8,686||$36,959.35||$321.0||$549.6|
|2010 to 2011||9,241||$36,799.88||$340.1||$579.1|
|2011 to 2012||9,423||$38,532.95||$363.1||$618.6|
|2012 to 2013||9,482||$35,980.41||$341.2||$627.4|
|2013 to 2014||8,673||$38,567.97||$334.5||$637.8|
|2014 to 2015||8,425||$40,154.30||$338.3||$647.5|
|2015 to 2016||8,544||$41,982.68||$358.7||$676.8|
|2016 to 2017||9,083||$41,329.96||$375.4||$762.6|
|2017 to 2018||9,249||$43,583.09||$403.1||$837.6|
|2018 to 2019||9,317||$46,023.40||$428.8||$1,243.6|
|2019 to 2020||9,330||$56,094.11||$523.4||$1,470.3|
|Source: Comparison of number of First Nations children in care and maintenance costs per child from 1998-1999 to 2019-2020.|
Who is eligible
Please refer to the FNCFS Transitional Terms and Conditions: Contributions to provide children, youth, young adults, families and communities, with prevention and protection services for details on eligible recipients.
How to apply
Applications are not required for this program. Funding is provided through agreements between Canada and the recipient.
Questions relating to child and family services and funding provided for Inuit and Métis children and First Nations children living off reserve should be directed to the appropriate provincial or territorial ministry.
- British Columbia: Ministry of Children and Family Development
- Alberta: Ministry of Children's Services
- Saskatchewan: Ministry of Social Services
- Manitoba: Ministry of Child and Family Services
- Ontario: Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services
- Quebec: Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux
- New Brunswick: Ministry of Social Development
- Newfoundland and Labrador: Department of Children, Seniors and Social Development
- Nova Scotia: Ministry of Child, Youth & Family Supports
- Prince Edward Island: Department of Family and Human Services
- Yukon: Family and children services
Audits and evaluations
Archived internal audits and evaluations reports for the FNCFS Program can be found among the Pre-Transformation Reports of the former Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada Audit and Evaluation Sector.
- FNCFS Transitional Terms and Conditions: Contributions to provide children, youth, young adults, families and communities, with prevention and protection services
- Archived FNCFS Program Terms and Conditions:
- Contributions to provide children and families with protection and prevention services (fiscal year 2021 to 2022)
- Contributions to provide women, children and families with protection and prevention services (fiscal year 2020 to 2021)
- ISC's Reporting Guide
- Long-term reform of First Nations Child and Family Services and long-term approach for Jordan's Principle
- A report on children and families together: An emergency meeting on Indigenous child and family services
- Timeline: Jordan's Principle and First Nations child and family services
- Reducing the number of Indigenous children in care
- An Act respecting First Nations, Inuit and Métis children, youth and families
- Canada's actions since the January 2016 CHRT decision
- The First Nations Child and Family Caring Society
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