"Advancing transformative change for the well-being of Mtis children, youth and families"

Press Release


On Monday February 6, 2017 the Representative for Children and Youth of British Columbia (RCY) released Broken Promises: Alexs Story about the failings of the child welfare system to support a Mtis young man crying out for help and support. Alex took his life after a life of systemic neglect ending in desperation.

As a Mtis community we are grieving Alexs death and feeling helpless that we did not know that he was out there needing us- his Metis community. We now wonder how more Alexs are suffering silently, hoping to be saved.

MCCFBC Board President Ferne Strain It was disturbing and heartbreaking to read about Alexs life while in foster care; the system ignored family who had a relationship with Alex and wanted him. Every child needs a person in their life who loves them and helps them through their struggles. It is tragic and unacceptable that Alex was left in a hotel by himself when the money could have been used to connect him to people who wanted him.

The RCY reflects on the importance of Identity:

Despite existing legislation, standards and policy mandating that Indigenous children in care be connected to their culture in a meaningful and consistent way, Alexs cultural identity was largely ignored by his 23 social workers and caregivers during the 11 years that he was in the care of the provincial government. Had Alex been given a real opportunity to develop a strong cultural identity and a feeling of belonging with his Mtis community, the outcome for him may well have been different.

"We will not stop looking towards a future when each of our sacred children are connected to their Mtis culture. The loss of Alex is more than unacceptable, it has illustrated a broken part of a system designed to keep children from harm. The connection to Mtis cultureis a permanent, unbreakable connection for our children and is a foundational right that supports their survival in the child welfare system. In time our children will be cared for by their own, but until then we continue to move forward against challenges, until that connection to culture is provided to each and every one of our Mtis children in care." Stephanie Konefall, MCCFBC Board Vice President.

This report along with too many others indicate that it is time for the Mtis Community to assert itself in caring for its children within the Provincial Child Welfare system. We have started the process for initiating a provincial plan to increase services to Mtis children in the care of the Director of the Ministry for Children and Family Services and Delegated agencies, which we will deliver March 31, 2017. We will work with our provincial Mtis and MCFD partners, Mtis Elders and community members to define a level of service that works for Mtis children and families like Alexs.

We are committed to working towards a strategy and framework that is supportive, cultural and conscientious. The Mtis are ready to serve their own. We will not let the lives and passing of Alex Gevais or Nicholas Lang be forgotten. Their lives will propel all of us to do better.

We thank the Acting Representative Bernard Richard and his team for the care and attention that they have put towards this report. The respect and due diligence for Alexs life was evident throughout the report.

If you wish offer support or find out how you might help Mtis youth in your area please contact us at the Metis Commission for Children and Youth of British Columbia. 1-877-606-3847

Eva Coles

CEO/Executive Director

The Metis Commission for Children and Families of BC is the legislated aboriginal community under the Child Family Community Services Act of BC to be notified of all Metis children and youth under the care of the Director of Child Welfare. We attend court, track files, contribute to policy and adoption work and offer Mtis specific cultural support to Social Workers and community members. Currently there are over 800 Mtis children under the care of the MCFD.

December 2015 Newsletter (please click here to access our December 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 Mtis communities in BC? To sign up for our Newsletters please send an email to: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

2014-2015 Annual General Report Booklet

Please click here to access our 2014-2015 Annual General Report Booklet

Mtis Resource Booklet for Social Workers

We have a Mtis resource booklet available for Social Workers. Please click here to access and feel free to contact Ashley at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it for more information or for a copy of this booklet.

What does the Mtis Commission for Child and Families of British Columbia do?

The MCCFBC is in place to represent the Mtis community at times when Mtis 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 Mtis parent or grandparent get support from the Mtis 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 Mtis community.

2. Will you help me get my kids back? The Mtis 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 Mtis people is offered.

3. When does the Mtis Commission appear in court? The Mtis 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 Mtis 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 Mtis child, can you help me with ideas to raise them in a Mtis cultural way? Yes, we have a wealth of research and Mtis 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 Mtis Community services in BC.

5. Can you help our Social Worker to understand why being acknowledged as Mtis 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 someones Mtis heritage.

6. Can I get services if I do not have a Mtis card? Yes, anyone identifying as a Mtis person can be served through the Mtis 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 Mtis? 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 Mtis specific plan attached to each childs records.

8. I am Mtis but I do not know how to get connected to my Mtis community. MCCFBC tries its best to keep an up to date list of Mtis 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 Mtis association that holds dinners and fun events.

9. I am a Social worker with a Mtis child on my caseload and I would like to offer them and their foster parents ideas on a Mtis 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 Mtis 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 Mtis Commission for Children and Families and the Mtis Nation or Mtis Federation of British Columbia. The Mtis Commission is the legislated body that oversees Mtis children who are under court order with the MCFD Director throughout the province of BC.

The Mtis Nation and Mtis Federation are political bodies who offer advocacy and support to their constituents throughout the province on Mtis specific issues and future planning.

February 2016

Recently a Mtis child case has been brought before the courts and media, below is the media release regarding this situation:

The Mtis Commission for Children and Families of British Columbia acts as the aboriginal community legislated under the Child, Family and Community Services Act in this province. As the official apolitical Mtis authority acting on behalf of Mtis children experiencing the child protection services system in BC we have been involved with this case for some time now.

We hold a seat on the Adoptions Exception Committee in this province, which means we take great care to consider the best interests of each aboriginal child brought before us for placement decisions. We have taken this situation under careful review and know what is at stake for the potential options for this young Mtis child. It is our view that a placement with biological family (siblings) and preserving their family bond is one form of keeping the Mtis community in tact.

A culture plan has been worked on for several months to ensure that the Mtis community remains involved in this child's life. We are thankful for the care that this young child has received to date while these arrangements were being made.

The Mtis Commission for Children and Families of BC would like to see MCFD put measures in place to ensure that these placements are completed in a more timely manner in order to avoid situations like we are seeing in court this week.

MAY 2015

Whats 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 Mtis Commission back on track we have been a little too quiet.

As many know, the Mtis 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 Mtis 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 Mtis children.

  • The Commission and its Board are now in the process of Accreditation through Imagine Canada. This is a 6- 8 month process whereby all policy and decision making processes are reviewed for professionalism and high standards.

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 Mtis 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?

  • MCCFBC receives all child protection related court documents from all over BC.
  • We review and decide based on the information that we gather from Social workers and families whether we will enter court as a third party to court proceedings representing the Mtis community.
  • At times we will attend court to ensure that due process has been given to Mtis families attempting to keep their families together.
  • In other instances we are involved to ensure that the children are placed in the care of their Mtis extended family or the Mtis community rather than with strangers in the provincial foster care system.
  • When children are placed in foster care we offer cultural supports to social workers so that they can plan and support the child in their placement. This comes in the form of cultural kits, phone consultations, referrals to Mtis community services as well as community elders.

Other work the Commission is doing:

  • Back to work at the Mtis Provincial Working table
  • Back on track with Mtis Service Providers Table
  • Offering support to Mtis Agencies serving Mtis Families in BC
  • Reviewing Community protocols as many have lapsed and are in need of updating.
  • Meetings with Representative for Children and Youth
  • Making presentations to Social Workers about their duty to serve court papers to the Commission as the representative of the Mtis community.
  • Assembling Cultural kits for children that are age appropriate and interesting. Working on Mtis kits for foster parents.

Strategic Plan

  • Create cultural kits for all different age groups for the 515 Mtis children already in foster care in BC.
  • Create a flow chart of what happens to Mtis childrens files from start to finish while under the direction of MCFD. See where the Commission can be more supportive.
  • Ensure that all staff are trained both in Mtis culture and in Child Welfare practice in BC.
  • Support Mtis Family Support and Delegated child welfare agencies in the BC
  • Review and determine the effectiveness of provincial protocols with Mtis organizations across BC. Re-write and re-establish working relationships through the province to support Mtis families across the province.
  • Review Terms of Reference and Mission for the Mtis Commission for Children and Families of BC to ensure that they are current and accurate.

Featured Resources

Proud to be Metis!: The Cultural Booklet we send to families is now available online!

MCCF Cultural Information Package: A collection of Metis cultural resources and information to support service delivery and planning for Metis children, youth and families.

MCCF Quality Assurance Framework: Continuous Quality Improvement for Mtis Children and Family Services in British Columbia, March 2011

MCCF 2011 Provincial Catalogue:
A catalogue to provide immediate contact information about available services to assist the Mtis communities, Mtis families, Ministry and non-Ministry front line workers in supporting Metis people.