First Nations, Metis CFS agencies sue Manitoba government for withholding $266-million meant for kids in care

First Nations and Metis child and family services were in court Thursday asking a judge to order the Manitoba government to stop its practice of keeping money meant for Indigenous children in care.

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The Manitoba government has been keeping 20 per cent of the ‘baby bonus’ money that Ottawa sends for children in care, and on Thursday, six CFS agencies went to court to have the practice stopped.

They say the claw-back is illegal under the Children’s Special Allowances Act, which stipulates the cash is for “care, maintenance, education, training and advancement” of foster children.

“Instead of this money going to our children in care, the province is illegally balancing its books on the backs of the most vulnerable,” said Peguis Chief Glenn Hudson.

Peguis Child and Family Services, Michif Child and Family Services, Metis Child, Family and Community Services, Animikii Ozoson Child and Family Services, Sandy Bay Child and Family Services, and Southeast Child and Family Services are the six agencies involved.

There are some 11,000 children in foster care in Manitoba, 90 per cent of whom are Indigenous.

“We have to ensure that our young people’s future is not compromised by trying the balance the budget or trying to throw money that is earmarked for our people into general revenues,” said Southern Chiefs Organization Grade Chief Jerry Daniels.

Every child who is not in CFS care in Canada is eligible for the child care benefit paid by the Canada Revenue Agency to their parents on the 20th of each month, commonly referred to as the baby bonus.

When a child is taken into care, however, the CFS agency responsible applies for this money to be diverted to them, through the Children’s Special Allowances Act.

In 2010 the then-NDP government in Manitoba forced all CFS agencies to remit this money and they took a 20 per cent cut.

If CFS agencies didn’t comply, they faced funding repercussions.

At the time, the Opposition Progressive Conservatives accused the NDP of thieving from foster kids.

Yet since being elected to power in 2016, they’ve continued the claw-back.

It amounts to about $40-million a year in ‘baby bonus’ the province keeps — $266-million since the practice began.

“This shameful act of stealing from the most vulnerable children in Manitoba has been government policy under the NDP and Pallister PCs alike, and the government shows no signs of ending this illegal practice,” said Liberal Kewatinook MLA Judy Klassen.

“This government is rightfully getting sued and I stand with my people and applaud those leaderships for taking this government on.”

Host/Producer - Winnipeg

Melissa is a proud Red River Metis and award-winning journalist who has spent more 14 years covering crime, courts, politics, business and entertainment for newspapers in four provinces.
She then joined APTN Investigates in 2009 and APTN National News in 2018 and in that time has garnered numerous awards and nominations including from the World Indigenous Television Broadcasters Network (2013), Canadian Association of Journalists (2016, 2019) and Canadian Screen Awards (2018, 2019).


14 thoughts on “First Nations, Metis CFS agencies sue Manitoba government for withholding $266-million meant for kids in care

  1. What’s not reported…

    When asked about the topic in September, a government spokesperson told *B* News that the provincial government has an agreement with the agencies to pay for the services for children in advance, and when the agencies get the money from the feds, they pay the money back to the provincial government.

    “It has always been a requirement that the [special allowances] funds would be remitted back to the province because the province had already paid all child maintenance costs for these children in care,” he said.

  2. I cannot believe the Aboriginal community! 90% of kids in care are in family services…..i have yet to hear of another Aboriginal family taking these kids into their home to foster. The Aboriginal community has to clean uo its act quit abusing your children so thay have to be taken away from you to be looked after by mostly White families who end up caring for them by fostering and respite. I do realize there are many Aboriginal families that are great parents…some of my friends are thise people. Those Aboriginal families shold be looking after their own and not get paid for it. Like the rest of us.

  3. “After the white man” ???
    You show me radio-carbon dating of any non-indigenous bones, older than 10,000 years old on this entire continent!! I’ll wait. Pfffft !!!

  4. What’s not reported…

    When asked about the topic in September, a government spokesperson told *B* News that the provincial government has an agreement with the agencies to pay for the services for children in advance, and when the agencies get the money from the feds, they pay the money back to the provincial government.

    “It has always been a requirement that the [special allowances] funds would be remitted back to the province because the province had already paid all child maintenance costs for these children in care,” he said.

  5. I cannot believe the Aboriginal community! 90% of kids in care are in family services…..i have yet to hear of another Aboriginal family taking these kids into their home to foster. The Aboriginal community has to clean uo its act quit abusing your children so thay have to be taken away from you to be looked after by mostly White families who end up caring for them by fostering and respite. I do realize there are many Aboriginal families that are great parents…some of my friends are thise people. Those Aboriginal families shold be looking after their own and not get paid for it. Like the rest of us.

  6. Will it be realesed to the young adults when they reach that magic age to help them transition to main stream?

  7. “After the white man” ???
    You show me radio-carbon dating of any non-indigenous bones, older than 10,000 years old on this entire continent!! I’ll wait. Pfffft !!!

  8. Will it be realesed to the young adults when they reach that magic age to help them transition to main stream?

  9. How much burden does the government have already with their children. Also first Nations lol they came after the white man. Give me a break !

    1. Give me a break… Did you read the article dummy? The gov and Canaduhians such as yourself have been living off First Nations since the first Europeans came here.

    2. What is this supposed to mean?? Are you saying white men came to Canada before First Nations people??

  10. How much burden does the government have already with their children. Also first Nations lol they came after the white man. Give me a break !

    1. Give me a break… Did you read the article dummy? The gov and Canaduhians such as yourself have been living off First Nations since the first Europeans came here.

    2. What is this supposed to mean?? Are you saying white men came to Canada before First Nations people??

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