First Nations Child and Family Services

Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC)'s First Nations Child and Family Services (FNCFS) program funds culturally appropriate prevention and protection services that help ensure the safety and well-being of First Nation children and families ordinarily resident on reserve. Use the First Nations Child and Family Services Interactive Map to find a service provider.

In 2007, the Assembly of First Nations and First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada filed a Canadian Human Rights Act complaint claiming INAC provides inequitable funding for child and family services on reserve. On January 26, 2016, the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal (CHRT) upheld the complaint ordering INAC to:

The Government of  Canada is fully committed to a full-scale reform of the FNCFS program. The government will work closely with key partners to reform the program, including First Nations Child and Family Services agencies, front-line service providers, communities, leaders, organizations, provincial and Yukon governments, as well as the CHRT and parties to the complaint. All of these partners have important voices and perspectives that must be heard and considered in order to make changes that will best serve the needs of First Nations children and families on reserve.

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About the program

INAC provides funding to First Nation child and family services agencies which are established, managed and controlled by First Nations and delegated by provincial authorities to provide culturally-appropriate prevention and protection services. In areas where these agencies do not exist, INAC funds services provided by the provinces and Yukon but does not deliver them. These services are provided in accordance with the legislation and standards of the province or territory of residence and in a manner that is reasonably comparable to those available to other provincial residents in similar circumstances, within INAC program authorities.

Funding for child and family services in Nunavut and the Northwest Territories is provided by the Department of Finance Canada through transfer agreements with the territorial governments which make up a portion of their annual budgets. These governments decide how and where to spend the funds.

INAC uses several funding models to help improve the safety and well-being of First Nation children on-reserve.

For more information, consult:

Program expenditures and statistics

Find out more about program trends through these two bar graphs and one table.

First Nations Child and Family Services national expenditures (2006-2007 to 2013-2014)

First Nations Child and Family Services national expenditures from 2006 to 2014

This image visually describes INAC's First Nations Child and Family Services national expenditures growth trend from 2006-2007 to 2013-2014.

First Nations Child and Family Services national expenditures (2006-2007 to 2013-2014)
First Nations Child and Family Services national expenditures for fiscal years 2006-2007 to 2013-2014 for each region (in millions of dollars)
Region 2006-2007 2007-2008 2008-2009 2009-2010 2010-2011 2011-2012 2012-2013 2013-2014
British Columbia 37.688 49.782 52.095 50.354 52.544 56.665 56.999 57.079
Alberta 107.787 120.738 123.914 118.447 125.014 130.577 129.854 130.697
Saskatchewan 54.614 55.725 70.939 76.571 81.961 80.851 79.644 81.925
Manitoba 72.819 78.384 85.244 95.566 103.036 124.284 131.420 138.012
Ontario 104.087 102.966 104.338 114.352 116.246 119.067 116.094 117.910
Quebec 38.283 45.913 45.797 55.392 60.615 64.975 67.306 61.690
Atlantic 25.933 28.119 31.854 30.138 31.236 33.821 38.256 42.631
Yukon 8.283 8.264 8.887 8.819 8.400 8.400 7.800 7.828
Grand total of all regions 449.495 489.891 523.067 549.638 579.051 618.640 627.371 637.771

Note: The total may not balance due to rounding.

First Nations Child and Family Services Program statistics of First Nations children in care ordinarily resident on-reserve – National Picture

First Nations Child and Family Services Program statistics of First Nations children in care ordinarily resident on-reserve

Bar chart depicting national percentage of First Nation children in care on-reserve by placement type.

Please note that the 2013-2014 data remains incomplete.

First Nations Child and Family Services Program statistics of First Nations children in care ordinarily resident on-reserve - National Picture
First Nations Child and Family Services Program statistics of First Nations children in care ordinarily resident on-reserve
Year Foster care Group home institution Kinship care Total % of children in care
2006-2007 7,047 349 463 - 7,859 4.88
2007-2008 7,757 373 456 10 8,596 5.33
2008-2009 7,139 430 487 750 8,806 5.42
2009-2010 7,159 338 312 877 8,686 5.31
2010-2011 7,552 370 338 981 9,241 5.54
2011-2012 7,535 453 314 1,121 9,423 5.76
2012-2013 7,448 409 359 1,266 9,482 5.8
2013-2014 6,221 363 231 1,478 8,293 5.1

Source: For 2006-2007 to 2012-2013 INAC Corporate Information Management Directorate reports include data collected by the department and are validated on an ongoing basis.

Please note that the 2013-2014 data remains incomplete.

Since the start of the Enhanced Prevention Focused Approach, child placement trends show a gradual decrease in foster care and institutional care, and an increase in kinship care.

Number of First Nations children in care, average maintenance costs per child, total expenditures for maintenance (only), and total expenditures for FNCFS
Year Children in careFootnote 1 Average maintenance costs per childFootnote 2 Total maintenance costs
(in millions)Footnote 3
Total actual FNCFS expenditures
(in millions)Footnote 4
1998-1999 7,220 $19,806.09 $143.0 $239.0
1999-2000 7,762 $20,690.54 $160.6 $260.3
2000-2001 8,791 $19,519.96 $171.6 $311.5
2001-2002 8,074 $25,997.03 $209.9 $341.3
2002-2003 8,225 $22,528.88 $185.3 $336.3
2003-2004 8,846 $23,829.98 $210.8 $365.0
2004-2005 8,776 $26,675.02 $234.1 $385.0
2005-2006 8,907 $28,550.58 $254.3 $416.7
2006-2007 7,859 $34,253.72 $269.2 $449.5
2007-2008 8,596 $34,108.89 $293.2 $489.9
2008-2009 8,806 $34,873.95 $307.1 $523.1
2009-2010 8,686 $36,956.02 $321.0 $549.6
2010-2011 9,241 $36,803.38 $340.1 $579.1
2011-2012 9,423 $38,533.38 $363.1 $618.6
2012-2013 9,482 $35,983.97 $341.2 $627.4
2013-2014 8,293 $40,335.22 $334.5 $637.8

Source: Comparison of Number of First Nations Children in Care and Maintenance Costs Per Child from 1998-1999 to 2013-2014

This represents the total program expenditures for maintenance, operations and prevention funding (Vote 10, grants and contributions). It does not include internal departmental or other funding.

Funding models

As provinces have shifted their emphasis towards enhanced prevention, INAC has moved forward with partners in implementing an enhanced prevention focused approach to funding child and family services on-reserve. This continues to be achieved on a jurisdiction-by-jurisdiction basis.

Funding is provided through agreements, using three different funding models, signed directly with First Nations, First Nations Child and Family services agencies, and provinces and Yukon.

1. Enhanced Prevention Focused Approach (EPFA)

This model offers service delivery providers the flexibility to design prevention programming to meet a community's particular needs. Enhanced prevention provides children and families with culturally appropriate support before a situation becomes a matter of protection.

The approach implements three funding streams:

For a list of eligible expenditures, consult the Enhanced Prevention Focused Approach in the National Social Programs Manual.

Tripartite frameworks set up to support the Enhanced Prevention Focused Approach are in place in Manitoba, Quebec, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, Alberta, and Saskatchewan:

About 68% of First Nations children and families on reserves across Canada now benefit from the Enhanced Prevention Focused Approach, with an additional $100 million in annual funding being provided in these jurisdictions.

The Enhanced Prevention Focused Approach's implementation plan
Province Announcement date Ongoing annual amount
as of 2014-2015
($ millions)
Alberta April 27, 2007 20.7
Saskatchewan July 22, 2008 22.8
Nova Scotia July 22, 2008 2.2
Quebec August 25, 2009 14.5
PEI August 26, 2009 0.4
Manitoba July 19, 2010 42.2
Total 102.8

2. Program Directive 20-1

This model provides funding according to a formula for operations and reimburses for eligible maintenance expenditures, based on actual costs.

First Nations Child and Family services agencies and provincial and territorial service delivery providers in British Columbia, Newfoundland and Labrador, New Brunswick, and Yukon receive funding for child and family services, including prevention services, through Program Directive 20-1.

For more information, consult Directive 20-1 in the National Social Programs Manual.

3. 1965 Welfare Agreement

The Memorandum of Agreement Respecting Welfare Programs for Indians of 1965, more commonly known as the 1965 Agreement, sets out an arrangement for INAC to reimburse the province of Ontario for the cost of delivering child and family services to First Nation children and families on-reserve according to a cost-sharing formula.

Currently, INAC pays around 93% of the costs while Ontario pays around 7%.

A Performance Measurement Strategy is in place to ensure funding under the program achieves positive outcomes for First Nations children and families ordinarily resident on-reserve. All funding recipients develop business plans and produce annual reports to plan for, and report on outcomes.

INAC regularly conducts compliance reviews First Nations Child and Family Services Program funding recipients.

Who can apply?

There is no application process. The following service delivery providers are eligible to receive funding through this program:

How to apply?

Applications are not required for this program. Funding is provided through agreements signed directly with:

Please consult the National Social Programs Manual for detailed guidelines on the First Nations Child and Family Services program.

Questions related to child and family services and funding provided for First Nations, Inuit and Métis children residing off-reserve should be directed to the appropriate provincial or territorial ministry.

Audits and evaluations

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