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.

Budget 2018 proposes to invest new funding of $1.4 billion in this program over six years starting in 2017-2018 to ensure the safety, security and well-being of Indigenous children.

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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:

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)
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.

For 2006-2007 the total national expenditures were $449.5M
For 2007-2008 the total national expenditures were $489.9M
For 2008-2009 the total national expenditures were $523.1M
For 2009-2010 the total national expenditures were $549.6M
For 2010-2011 the total national expenditures were $579.1M
For 2011-2012 the total national expenditures were $618.6M
For 2012-2013 the total national expenditures were $627.4M
For 2013-2014 the total national expenditures were $637.8M
For 2014-2015 the total national expenditures were $647.5M
For 2015-2016 the total national expenditures were $676.8M

Since 2006, program expenditures have increased by 50.56%.

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

This chart depicts the 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
2006-2007 89.67% 4.44% 5.89% 0%
2007-2008 90.24% 4.34% 5.30% 0.12%
2008-2009 81.07% 4.88% 5.53% 8.52%
2009-2010 82.42% 3.89% 3.59% 10.10%
2010-2011 81.72% 4.00% 3.66% 10.62%
2011-2012 79.96% 4.81% 3.33% 11.90%
2012-2013 78.55% 4.31% 3.79% 13.35%
2013-2014 74.90% 4.65% 2.69% 17.83%
2014-2015 76.08% 5.24% 2.64% 16.12%
2015-2016 77.19% 4.51% 2.43% 15.95%
Since 2007, when 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.

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.
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.

Audits and evaluations

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