Understanding Aboriginal child protection/removal matters

BC law says that if a child's safety is at risk:

Important: If a social worker from the ministry (or an Aboriginal delegated agency) contacts you or visits your home, you have the right to get legal advice. The social worker may take your child from your home. Call Legal Aid immediately to find out of you qualify for a free lawyer.

Legal Aid
604-408-2172
(Greater Vancouver)
1-866-577-2525 (no charge outside Greater Vancouver)

Ask your lawyer or social worker about getting an Aboriginal child protection mediator to help with your case.

BC law also says that:

  • Aboriginal cultural ties are very important to the well-being of Aboriginal children.
  • When the ministry makes plans for an Aboriginal child's care, the ministry should respect the child's family ties and Aboriginal identity.

What you can do if the ministry investigates you for a child protection matter

If a social worker from the ministry or an Aboriginal delegated agency contacts you or visits your home to ask you questions about your family, this means that they think your child might be at risk and are looking into it. You have the right to get a lawyer. Call Legal Aid immediately to find out if you qualify for a free lawyer:
604-408-2172 (Greater Vancouver)
1-866-577-2525 (no charge outside Greater Vancouver)

See Who can help for more information on how to get a lawyer and the other resources available to you.

What you can do if the ministry removes your child from your home

If the ministry takes your child from your home, you can:

  • Get a lawyer before the day of court; call Legal Aid immediately to find out if you qualify for a free lawyer.
  • Work out a plan with your band or community that supports your child's family ties and Aboriginal identity
  • Ask to have your child placed with another Aboriginal family
  • Ask for a mediator
  • Ask for the Report to Court, which explains why your child was removed
  • Ask for visits with your child

What the ministry must do if it removes your child from your home

If the ministry takes your child from your home, it must:

  • Notify your child's Aboriginal community representative (such as the First Nation's band)
  • Take steps to preserve your child's family ties and Aboriginal identity when choosing a foster home
  • In many cases, allow a representative (someone who is chosen to speak for others) from your child's band or Aboriginal community to go to court

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What your Aboriginal representative can do if the ministry removes your child from your home

If the ministry takes your child from your home, your Aboriginal representative can:

  • Receive all records and information pertaining to your case
  • Speak at the child protection hearing
  • Call witnesses and question other witnesses
  • Take part in any mediation
  • Ask about ways to get you help

Find out more

The following resources may be of help to you and your family:

To see what other kinds of resources are available to you, return to the Aboriginal people community page.

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