A report published in the Montreal Gazette earlier this month stated that Native kids account for one-third of all children in foster care in Canada.
The paper cites Indian Affairs documents as proof in estimating that 30 to 40 per cent of all kids in foster care are aboriginal.
According to documents prepared for Indian Affairs Minister Andy Scott and made available through the Access to Information Act, the paper found that First Nations Child and Family Services are “woefully under funded,” despite an operating budget of $400 million.
It says that the number of child and family service agencies has ballooned from 34 in 1990 to 102 last year.
By this estimate, there are over 8,000 status Native children in foster care at the present time.
Indian Affairs Minister Scott refrained from commenting on the issue, fearing his words would be seen by “colleagues and others as trying to achieve, theoretically, results through [the media] – and that doesn’t ever improve your chances.”
Assembly of First Nations leader Phil Fontaine said that a cap on program spending set in 1996 of two per cent per year for Indian Affairs was not realistic due to the exploding Native populations.
“Up until that point (in 1996) the gap was closing,” he said. “Now it’s the same or worse.”