Apprehensions Legally Invalid
The system continues to rip families and communities apart; repatriation, through Plans of Care within a First Nations context, are consistently disregarded by workers and the family courts. We should be demanding a more public community forum.
When our children are apprehended, the courts (child protection workers) do not serve the Chief and Council those legal papers. The Supreme Court of Canada ruled many years ago that a Reserve is not considered legally served unless the Chief and Council themselves are served papers regarding legal actions against them. Yet notice of apprehensions and associated court actions are still only served to Native Child Workers. Child Protection workers are bound by laws that prevent them from disclosing these legal proceedings to Chief and Council. Because these workers, Native and Non-Native, actually work for, and are mandated, by the Province, they do not represent the legal interests of Bands.
On Reserve Child and Family Workers do no have legal standing in court on behalf of the reserves, since the original notice of legal action was not legally served under the definition given by Supreme Court of Canada Ruling; which means to Chief and Council. It could also be phrased as a question: "How can a Band properly address a matter in a legal manner for which it has not been given proper legal notice?" The Supreme Court of Canada amended the act to bind systems and institutions in this way for the protection of community interests. An amendment in these cases affecting the children of our communities which are completely ignored and/or conveniently overlooked.
It is woven into Provincial Law, such as in Ontario that " Under Ontario law, native children taken from their families must be placed in their band or in native families, unless a "substantial reason" exists for not doing so. Ontario's Child and Family Services Act gives native bands the same right that natural parents have to contest an adoption." Currently only Native Child Protection workers are served such legal papers. They do not, as provincially mandated child protection workers, have the same rights of the biological parents that the Bands are given.
Canada's Child Protection Agencies are in conflict with current federal amendments regarding what constitutes proper legal informed notice to our Bands. This in fact makes all apprehensions themselves legally void of standing and open to redress.
"Bill 25 Children First" allows organizations to share information with each other with a much lower threshold for the need to acquire consent where it is deemed necessary because those children are at a much higher risk than others. This gives the system a much greater ability to apprehend while shielding themselves further from accountability.
First Nations Communities and Families are already dealing with a system currently heavy with bureaucratic demands weighing against them, showing how bent on keeping these children long enough to adopt them out the system has always been and still is. With Bill 25 an even heavier bureaucracy naturally developing will make the time clock that runs down quickly now meaningless.
With this Bill comes the reality that the system enlarges its mechanisms for apprehensions and decreases our ability as First Nations to repatriate our children. Our children and families are at risk due to the lack of transparency and accountability present now; the status now stands at "Zero Dark Always." Maybe First Nations could utilize such a bill to serve the greater good of our own children: (now reread that sentence with a lot of emphasize in the tone being one of Facetiousness.) Unlikely; given how the system already deals with First Nations People and our children; that anything giving them more power and enlarged mechanisms, will ever serve to safeguard our children.