Atikamekw Nation takes control of child welfare and makes history

Atikamekw Nation is the first to sign such an agreement with Quebec.

Atikamekw First Nation will take control over youth protection services after signing an agreement this week with Quebec.

“It’s a big accomplishment,” said Grand Chief Constant Awashish. “It’s one step further to self-determination; that’s the way I see it.”

The province’s minister of youth protection called the agreement historic.

“It’s important to underline that this (is) the very first Indigenous nation to have undertaken negotiations in this sense in Quebec,” said Lucie Charlebois.

In order to achieve this, the Atikamekw have been running youth protection programs in collaboration with Quebec since 2000.

Now that they have total control, Awashish wants to make sure troubled youth are placed with Atikamekw foster families.

Producer Nouvelles Nationales d'APTN / Montreal

Born and raised in Montreal, Tom cut his teeth working in community television in Kahnawà:ke Mohawk Territory before joining APTN as a cameraman/editor in 2008. In 2015 he was promoted to Video Journalist. Since 2019 Tom has been a producer for the French weekly newscast Nouvelles Nationales d’APTN.