Released on November 14, 2022
Today, the Government of Saskatchewan introduced The Child and Family Services Amendment Act, 2022 to improve child welfare services for the children, youth and families we serve.
"Renewing our province's child welfare legislation will strengthen and better recognize the importance of family, cultural and community connections for children and youth in care," Social Services Minister Gene Makowsky said. "I am proud to say that, in addition to sector partners, several youth with lived experience engaged with us on the proposed amendments."
The proposed amendments focus on three main areas:
- Raising the age of the child, to receive protective services, from up to 16 years of age to up to 18 years of age;
- Increasing the flexibility of information-sharing, disclosure and confidentiality in the best interests of the child or former child in care who is now an adult; and,
- Strengthening language in the act to enhance family, community and cultural connections for children and youth.
Notable changes include enhancing services that allow youth to be supported through either voluntary or protective pathways based on their individual needs up until they are 18; expanding the scope of disclosure to children or former children in care to include family name information, reasons for removal, time in care and relevant court matters; and expanding information disclosure regarding deceased individuals.
"Expanding information-sharing and disclosure will ensure the child's right to know their identity and familial background, and will allow the child or former child in care to identify and establish familial and community connections if they wish," Makowsky said. "The ministry recognizes the importance of this information to support family and personal healing."
The best interests of the child are embedded throughout all the proposed amendments, including updates to the act's 'best interests of the child' provision to recognize the unique cultural aspects of Indigenous children, and requires preservation of the child's Indigenous identity, experience and connections in case planning.
The proposed legislation also clarifies several aspects related to working with Indigenous children and families, including broadening information-sharing to Indigenous Governing Bodies and expanding notice to First Nations Child and Family Services agencies. This will embed the significance of family, community and culturally based care and inclusion within planning with Indigenous children.
If passed, government will continue to engage with Youth Advisory Teams, the Advocate for Children and Youth, as well as Indigenous and child welfare sector partners to update the regulations and standards prior to coming into force.
For more information, contact:Media Relations