Understanding delegated Aboriginal agencies
If a social worker contacts you or visits your home to ask questions about your family, they may be working for a delegated agency. Delegated agencies are a part of the Ministry of Children and Family Development.
Important: If a social worker from the ministry contacts you or visits your home, you have the right to get legal advice. If the social worker's concerns are very serious, they may take your child from your home. Call Legal Aid immediately to find out of you qualify for a free lawyer.
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.
Aboriginal delegated agencies:
- are part of the Ministry of Children and Family Development,
- provide child welfare services, and
- may have the power to take your child from your home and place your child in foster care.
Child protection laws in BC recognize the importance of Aboriginal family ties to Aboriginal children. Delegated Aboriginal agencies are part of an effort to restore the responsibilities of child protection and family support to Aboriginal communities.
Delegated Aboriginal agencies may offer the following services:
- Support services for the whole family
- Help with preparing voluntary care agreements for children
- Help with writing, monitoring, and reviewing your child's plan of care
- Help with writing special needs agreements for you child if your child has special needs
- Monitoring how your child is doing while he or she is in care
- Help for youth who are moving towards independence
Some delegated Aboriginal agencies may also have the power to:
- get and look into reports of child abuse and neglect,
- get supervision orders to make sure your child is safe and healthy,
- take your child from your home and place them in a relative's care (such as an aunt, uncle, or grandparent), and
- deal with guardianship social workers to place a child for adoption.
Aboriginal Child and Family Services
Métis Family Services (Surrey)
|Surrounded by Cedar Child and Family Services
Delegated Aboriginal agencies also work with families living on and off reserve across BC. The ministry's website has a full list of the delegated Aboriginal agencies across BC. Check the list to find out if your band or community is involved.
You have the right to get legal advice if a social worker from the ministry or a delegated Aboriginal agency:
- contacts you or visits your home to ask questions about your family,
- threatens to take your children away, or
- takes your children away.
Call Legal Aid
Child protection matters are covered by Legal Aid. Contact Legal Aid immediately to find out if you qualify for a free lawyer. If you don't qualify for a lawyer, there are other free legal aid resources available to you.
For more information on how to get a lawyer and the other resources available to you, see Who can help.
Ask for support
You can ask for support from your Aboriginal community throughout the child protection process:
- If you're being investigated by the ministry and your band or Aboriginal community is represented by a delegated Aboriginal agency, you can ask the ministry to inform the delegated agency of the investigation.
- Whether you're being investigated by the ministry or a delegated Aboriginal agency, you can ask for a representative from your band or friendship centre (such as a child protection worker) who will support you during the investigation. This representative will make sure your child stays connected to his or her Aboriginal family and community.
Ask for a mediator
A mediator can help you work with the ministry. A mediator is a professional who's specially trained to:
- not take sides,
- help people reach an agreement, and
- help people work out conflicts.
You can ask for a mediator as soon as the social worker has contacted you.
Mediation is free for families that are involved with the ministry. Mediators can travel to remote communities.
Find out more
The following resources may be of help to you and your family:
- Our Aboriginal Legal Aid in BC website:
- Our fact sheet Understanding Aboriginal Delegated Agencies
- The Aboriginal Child Protection Wallet Card
- Our poster outlining the Aboriginal Child Protection Process
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