First Nations Child and Family Services

Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC)'s First Nations Child and Family Services (FNCFS) program funds prevention and protection services to support the safety and well-being of First Nation children and families on reserve.

Use the First Nations Child and Family Services Interactive Map to find a service provider.

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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 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 child and family services. 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 payment agreements with the territorial governments which make up a portion of their annual budgets. These governments decide how and where to spend the funds.

Since 2007, INAC has introduced a prevention-based funding model to support more focus on prevention, early intervention, and alternatives to traditional institutional care or foster care, such as the placement of children with family members in a community setting. Starting in 2016, all INAC regional offices provide three streams of funding under FNCFS:

Tripartite tables, technical working groups, and regional advisory committees comprised of First Nations representatives, INAC and provinces are in place in all provinces:

In the Yukon , the Council of Yukon First Nations is engaged by the territory and INAC.

1965 Welfare Agreement:
INAC, The Province of Ontario, and First Nations are working together towards a new funding approach regarding child and family services in Ontario.

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%.

Find out more:

Program expenditures and statistics

First Nations Child and Family Services national expenditures (2006-2007 to 2015-2016)
Text description of the First Nations Child and Family Services national expenditures (2006-2007 to 2015-2016)

This image visually describes INAC's First Nations Child and Family Services national expenditures growth trend from 2006-2007 to 2015-2016.

First Nations Child and Family Services national expenditures for fiscal years 2006-2007 to 2013-2014 for each region (in millions of dollars)
REGION 2009-2010 2010-2011 2011-2012 2012-2013 2013-2014 2014-2015 2015-2016
British Columbia 50.354 52.544 56.665 56.999 57.079 60.097 60.032
Alberta 118.447 125.014 130.577 129.854 130.697 130.930 131.099
Saskatchewan 76.571 81.961 80.851 79.644 81.925 84.411 88.648
Manitoba 95.566 103.036 124.284 131.420 138.012 134.199 144.130
Ontario 114.352 116.246 119.067 116.094 117.910 120.577 124.539
Quebec 55.392 60.615 64.975 67.306 61.690 64.768 73.029
Atlantic 30.138 31.236 33.821 38.256 43.631 42.612 45.302
Yukon 8.819 8.400 8.400 7.800 7.828 9.919 10.000
Grand total of all regions 549.638 579.051 618.640 627.371 637.771 647.517 676.781

Note: The total may not balance due to rounding.

The actual program expenditures for 2015-2016 were $680.9M. This includes $676.8M in grants and contributions, and $4.1M in operating expenditures.

Budget 2016 investments

Budget 2016 invested $634.8 million over five years, with $176.8 million in ongoing funding after year five. These new investments are over and above the program's annual budget of $676.8 million in 2015-16.

2016-2017 2017-2018 2018-2019 2019-2020 2020-2021 TOTAL
71.1M 98.6M 126.3M 162.0M 176.8M 634.8M

First Nations Child and Family Services program statistics of First Nations children in care on-reserve: National picture

Percentage of First Nations Children in Care - By Placement Type
Text description of the Percentage of First Nations Children in Care - By Placement Type

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

First Nations Child and Family Services program statistics of First Nations children in care 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 5.64
2011-2012 7,535 453 314 1,121 9,423 5.76
2012-2013 7,448 409 359 1,266 9,482 5.81
2013-2014 6,498 407 241 1,547 8,675 5.31
2014-2015 6,415 442 233 1,359 8,432 5.16
2015-2016 6,547 383 206 1,353 8,483 5.20
For 2014-15 and 2015-16, a portion of kinship placements are reflected in foster care due to coding changes (following legislative changes in Quebec).

Children in care counts are based on a point in time, typically the last day of the fiscal year (March 31). It is important to note that this number does not include the number of Indigenous children in care from provincially-funded agencies.

Since 2007, when the INAC began shifting the program towards prevention-based funding child placement trends have shown 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)
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 8,675 $38,559.02 $334.5 $637.8
2014-2015 8,432 $40,120.96 $338.3 $647.5
2015-2016 8,483 $42,284.57 $358.7 $676.8

Source: Comparison of Number of First Nations Children in Care and Maintenance Costs Per Child from 1998-1999 to 2015-16.

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

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.

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