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.
COVID-19: Supporting youth in care who have reached the age of majority
During the coronavirus outbreak, Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) will ensure First Nations youth who reach age of majority during the outbreak, continue to receive the supports they need.
For at least 6 months, or as long as the outbreak lasts, ISC will continue to cover the eligible maintenance costs to First Nations child and family services agencies providing services to youth who would normally be aging out of care during this time.
On November 29, 2019, the Federal Court issued its ruling in response to 2 motions relating to the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal (CHRT) ruling on compensation for First Nations children and families.
Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) is working with partners to reform the First Nations Child and Family Services (FNCFS) program and reduce the number of Indigenous children in care. The reform includes fully implementing the orders of the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal by:
- funding the actual costs of First Nations child and family services agencies
- working to make the system truly child centered, community directed and focused on prevention and early intervention
The total FNCFS program funding for 2018–2019 is over $1.1 billion dollars.
Use the First Nations Child and Family Services interactive map to find a service provider.
Budget 2018 commits to invest new funding of $1.4 billion in the FNCFS program over 6 years starting in 2017–2018 to ensure the safety, security and well-being of Indigenous children.
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. 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 4 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)
- Community well-being and jurisdiction initiative: this new funding stream from Budget 2018 supports First Nations communities to lead the development and delivery of prevention services and to assert greater control over the well-being of their children and families
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 (PDF, 352 KB, 15 pages)
- September 2016 (PDF, 633 KB, 52 pages)
- March 2017 (PDF, 545 KB, 19 pages)
- February 2018 (PDF, 944 KB, 104 pages)
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 and is updating existing program terms and conditions to increase flexibility and improve response regarding prevention.
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 newly established tripartite table
Program expenditures and statistics
Description of the First Nations Child and Family Services national expenditures (2006–2007 to 2016–2017)
This image visually describes INAC's First Nations Child and Family Services national expenditures growth trend from 2006–2007 to 2016–2017.
- For 2006–2007 the total national expenditures were $449.5M
- For 2007–2008 the total national expenditures were $489.9M
- For 2008–2009 the total national expenditures were $523.1M
- For 2009–2010 the total national expenditures were $549.6M
- For 2010–2011 the total national expenditures were $579.1M
- For 2011–2012 the total national expenditures were $618.6M
- For 2012–2013 the total national expenditures were $627.4M
- For 2013–2014 the total national expenditures were $637.8M
- For 2014–2015 the total national expenditures were $647.5M
- For 2015–2016 the total national expenditures were $676.8M
- For 2016–2017 the total national expenditures were $763M
Since 2006, program expenditures have increased by 69.7%.
The total may not balance due to rounding.
The actual program expenditures for 2016–2017 were $768 million. This includes:
- $763 million in grants and contributions
- $5 million in operating expenditures
Budget 2016 invested $634.8 million over 5 years, with $176.8 million in ongoing funding after year 5. These new investments are over and above the program's annual budget of $676.8 million in 2015–2016.
Budget 2018 invested an additional $1.4 billion over 6 years, starting in 2017–2018, to address funding pressures facing First Nations child and family service agencies, while also increasing prevention resources for communities so that children are safe and families can stay together.
The total FNCFS program funding for 2018–2019 is over $1.1 billion dollars.
First Nations Child and Family Services program statistics of First Nations children living in care on reserve: National picture
Text description of the percentage of First Nations children in care by placement type
This chart depicts the national percentage of First Nations children in care on reserve by placement type.
|Year||Foster care||Group home||Institution||Kinship|
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 2014–2015 and 2015–2016, 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.
|Year||Children in careFootnote 1||Average maintenance costs
per childFootnote 2
|Total maintenance costs
(in millions)Footnote 3
|Total actual FNCFS expenditures
|Source: Comparison of number of First Nations children in care and maintenance costs per child from 1998–1999 to 2016–2017.|
This represents total program expenditures for maintenance, operations and prevention funding (Vote 10, grants and contributions). It does not include internal ISC or other funding.
Who can apply?
There is no application process. The following service delivery providers are eligible to receive funding through this program:
- provincially delegated First Nations child and family services agencies
- provincially delegated tribal councils
- provincially delegated First Nations bands
- provinces and Yukon
|Eligible recipients||FNCFS — agencies||FNCFS — CWJI|
|FNCFS agencies or societiesFootnote 4, other delegated or designated providers of child and family services, including provincially delegated or designated agencies and societies, provinces and Yukon||Yes||No|
|Chiefs and councils of First Nations bands recognized by the Minister of Indigenous Services, tribal councils, First Nations and First Nations organizations||Yes||Yes|
|First Nations communities, First Nations authority, board, committee or other entity created by chief and council for purposes such as providing social services or health care||No||Yes|
How to apply?
Applications are not required for this program. Funding is provided through agreements signed directly with:
- First Nations child and family services agencies
- tribal councils
- First Nations bands
- First Nations communities or other authorities
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
- Implementation of the evaluation of the Enhanced Prevention Focused Approach in Manitoba for the First Nations Child and Family Services program
- Evaluation of the emplementation of the Enhanced Prevention Focused Approach in Quebec and Prince Edward Island for the First Nations Child and Family Services program
- Implementation evaluation of the Enhanced Prevention Focused Approach in Saskatchewan and Nova Scotia for the First Nations Child and Family Services program
- Mid-term national review for the strategic evaluation of the implementation of the Enhanced Prevention Focused Approach for the First Nations Child and Family Services program
- Audit of the Implementation of the Child and Family Services Enhanced Prevention Focused Approach (September,Audit of the implementation of the Child and Family Services Enhanced Prevention Focused Approach (September 2012)