Released on March 24, 2003Social Services Minister Glenn Hagel announced today that The Child and Family Services Act is being amended to further support and protect Saskatchewan children and families.
"Family, or people significant to a child, are often best able to provide a sense of belonging, cultural identity, and emotional security to a child," Hagel said. "These are all critical factors to a child's healthy development. Further amendments to the Act will ensure that, when it is determined that a child needs protection from abuse or neglect in the home, family or people significant to the child will have priority in looking after them. Social Services will provide ongoing support and assistance to caregivers."
The Act was proclaimed in 1990 and set the stage for kinship care in situations of abuse and neglect. Kinship care recognizes the significance of involving family members or others close to the child, in the care of the child.
Extensive consultations regarding amendments to the Act, have involved a wide range of individuals and groups including First Nations agencies, the Children's Advocate, Metis Nation and foster family organizations.
The amendments to the Act establish clear priorities by:
- making preservation of the family the first priority, wherever this does not place the child at risk;
- making kinship care the option of choice where the child's safety is at risk and the child must be removed from the home; and,
- making provincial care of the child a last resort.
These amendments will continue to advance child welfare in this province. Social Services is also taking steps to ensure professionals and family, or significant people involved in the care of the child, will have the knowledge and support they need for safe and appropriate care.
Once it has been passed by the legislature, the amendments to the Child and Family Services Act are expected to be proclaimed in the fall.
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