Métis Commission for Children and Families of BC
"Advancing transformative change for the well-being of Métis children, youth and families"
What does the Métis Commission for Child and Families of British Columbia do?
The MCCFBC is in place to represent the Métis community at times when Métis families and their children become involved in the provincial child welfare system (MCFD or a Delegated Child Welfare agency). It is legislated that all court documents related to these children be sent to MCCFBC for review and involvement.
Frequently asked questions:
1. Can I as a Métis parent or grandparent get support from the Métis Commission? Yes, you can call either 250-372-8688 or 1-877-606-3847. Support staff are available to go over your file with you, explain the child welfare process, make inquiry calls on your behalf and at times attend court as a voice for the children and the Métis community.
2. Will you help me get my kids back? The Métis Commission for Children and Families for BC firmly believes that a child is best raised within their family and their community. At times families struggle and need support. We will help you to understand what MCFD is worried about as well as where you might find the support you need. We will walk you through any questions you have about the Child welfare system or court procedures in BC. We will help you make a plan to present to your social worker. We will refer you to places in your community where support for Métis people is offered.
3. When does the Métis Commission appear in court? The Métis Commission for Children and Families of BC reviews all court documents and follows all cases as they move through the court system. At times we identify areas of court documents where parts of the official process have been missed or where children or the Métis community are not being offered a time for their plans to be heard. At times Social workers are asking for a third party in the courtroom to present more options for the children. At times the Commission acts a mediator when cases become stuck and no one knows how to talk to each other anymore. MCCFBC is not in a position at this time to go to court in every situation but can monitor and make court submissions in writing where necessary.
4. I am a relative or an adoptive parent of a Métis child, can you help me with ideas to raise them in a Métis cultural way? Yes, we have a wealth of research and Métis cultural material that we are willing to share and send to you. We have cultural kits for different age ranges that we can send to you. There are also links on our website to videos, books and Métis Community services in BC.
5. Can you help our Social Worker to understand why being acknowledged as Métis is so important to us? Although, it can be difficult to share a cultural feeling, we will certainly do our best. Educating is the majority of our work. We have up to date research on why identity is important for children and ways to acknowledge someone’s Métis heritage.
6. Can I get services if I do not have a Métis card? Yes, anyone identifying as a Métis person can be served through the Métis Commission at anytime. If you are interested in researching your roots we can refer you to several organizations that can help you.
7. If my child is being adopted how can I make sure that they know they are Métis? You can ask to be part of the adoption planning. MCCFBC is also part of the planning through the Provincial Adoptions Exception Committee and connected to Permanency planning teams throughout BC. We ensure that there is a Métis specific plan attached to each child’s records.
8. I am Métis but I do not know how to get connected to my Métis community. MCCFBC tries its best to keep an up to date list of Métis specific organizations throughout the province. We also collect event information and post it to our website as we find it. Most communities or regions of the province have a Métis association that holds dinners and fun events.
9. I am a Social worker with a Métis child on my caseload and I would like to offer them and their foster parents’ ideas on a Métis supported upbringing. Can I call MCCFBC for support in my practice? Yes, we are here to help. We have examples of best practice in serving Métis children from across the province that we can share with you. We have samples of care plans, safety plans, cultural plans and more. You are a major factor in returning/connecting children to their community as soon as possible. Let us support you.
10. What is the difference between the Métis Commission for Children and Families and the Métis Nation or Métis Federation of British Columbia. The Métis Commission is the legislated body that oversees Métis children who are under court order with the MCFD Director throughout the province of BC.
The Métis Nation and Métis Federation are political bodies who offer advocacy and support to their constituents throughout the province on Métis specific issues and future planning.
What’s up at the Commission?
A number of people have sent in messages wondering what is happening at the Commission. It seems that in our hard work to get the Métis Commission back on track we have been a little too quiet.
As many know, the Métis Commission for Children and Families of BC has gone through a major transition over the past year. These transitions have included a new board, new Executive Director and a re-organization. The Commission is now run with 2 full time staff, a contracted half time Executive Director and a contract for finance.
Staff – Eva Coles – Executive Director (1/2 time, office hours in Kamloops and East Kootenays)
Ashley – Cultural Safety Worker
Lesley – Administrative Support
The board of Directors for the society is made up of four very dedicated Métis professionals who meet voluntarily every two to three weeks. They have completely renewed the HR policies, participated in good governance training, attended provincial meetings, created a strategic plan and made difficult decisions to make significant budget cuts.
Ferne Strain – President
Agda Neumann – Vice President
Colleen Fines – Secretary Treasurer
Kim Bayer – Commissioner at Large
**The Board of Commissioners is now going through a process for recruiting new Commissioners as two Commissioners will be retiring later in 2015. By 2016 the board is committed to having a total of 5 board members who are apolitical and focused on the welfare of Métis children.
Budget and Mandate:
A major change has been the budget and mandate. Due to MCFD changing its focus away from capacity building in aboriginal communities to only direct service contracts MCCFBC has experienced severe cut backs to its contract. MCCFBC now operates with under half of its former budget (now $356,000).
The budget for 2014/15 MCCFBC was balanced with a very slight surplus. Thanks to staff and board members for all of their hard work and sacrifice.
MANDATE: Working with Métis families that are entering the child protection court system is not a new part of the mandate but it has now become the number one concentration. So what does this mean?
Other work the Commission is doing:
February 2015 Newsletter (please click here to access our February newsletter)
Interested in finding out about the work that the MCCFBC does? Interested in the work of our partner organization? Looking for ways to get connected to Métis communities in BC? Sign up for our Newsletter here.