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.
Share your views about how to improve child and family services in First Nations communities through our engagement process.
About the program
According to the 2016 Census of Population, Indigenous children represent only 7.7% of the total population aged 0 to 14 in Canada. However, they account for over half (52.2%) of children in foster care. The majority of Indigenous children in foster care are Registered Indians (69.1%). For further regional-level statistics, consult the 2016 Data tables on the Statistics Canada website.
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:
- Operations: core and operational funding for protection services
- Prevention: resources for enhanced prevention services
- Maintenance: direct costs of placing First Nation children into temporary or permanent care out of the parental home (such as foster care rates and group home rates)
Tripartite tables, technical working groups, and regional advisory committees comprised of First Nations representatives, INAC and provinces are in place in all provinces:
- British Columbia: First Nations Leadership Council Tripartite Working Group; and,
- Memorandum of Understanding Between Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada and the First Nations Health Council in Relation to Services for First Nation Children and Families in British Columbia
- Alberta: Senior Officials Steering Committee (SOSC) and Technical Working Group
- Saskatchewan: Regional Table
- Manitoba: Regional Advisory Committee and Funding Model Working Group
- Ontario: Technical Table on Child and Family Well-Being
- Quebec: Regional Roundtable and Tripartite Working Group Table
- Nova Scotia: Tripartite Working Group
- New Brunswick: Tripartite Aggregation Working Group
- Prince Edward Island: Policy and Planning Forum
- Newfoundland and Labrador: Innu Round Table Secretariat
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:
- Contributions for the Family Violence Prevention and First Nation Child and Family Services Programs
- National Social Programs Manual
Program expenditures and statistics
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.
|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.
First Nations Child and Family Services program statistics of First Nations children in care on-reserve: National picture
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.
|Year||Foster care||Group home||institution||Kinship care||Total||% of children in care|
|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.
|Year||Children in careFootnote 1||Average maintenance costs per childFootnote 2||Total maintenance costs
(in millions)Footnote 3
|Total actual FNCFS expenditures
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:
- provincially delegated First Nations child and family services agencies
- provincially delegated tribal councils
- provincially delegated First Nation bands
- provinces and Yukon
How to apply?
Applications are not required for this program. Funding is provided through agreements signed directly with:
- First Nations child and family services agencies
- tribal councils
- First Nation bands
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.
- British Columbia: Ministry of Child and Family Development
- Alberta: Ministry of Human Services
- Saskatchewan: Ministry of Social Services
- Manitoba: Ministry of Family Services
- Ontario: Ministry of Children and Youth Services
- Quebec: Ministry of Healthcare and Social Services
- New Brunswick: Ministry of Social Development
- Newfoundland and Labrador: Department of Child, Youth and Family Services
- Nova Scotia: Ministry of Child, Youth & Family Supports
- Prince Edward Island: Ministry of Family and Human Services
- Yukon: Ministry Social Services
Audits and evaluations
- Implementation Evaluation of the Enhanced Prevention Focused Approach in Manitoba for the First Nations Child and Family Services Program
- Evaluation of the Implementation of the Enhanced Prevention Focused Approach in Quebec and Prince Edward Island for the First Nations Child and Family Services Program
- Implementation Evaluation of the Enhanced Prevention Focused Approach in Saskatchewan and Nova Scotia for the First Nations Child and Family Services Program
- Mid-Term National Review for the Strategic Evaluation of the Implementation of the Enhanced Prevention Focused Approach for the First Nations Child and Family Services Program
- Audit of the Implementation of the Child and Family Services Enhanced Prevention Focused Approach (September, 2012)