Deep Dive

Child Welfare

Many describe the child-welfare system as broken and stuck. Indigenous families are hugely over-represented due to the ongoing impacts of colonization. Media is seen as a barrier to positive change. That’s why, for the past three years, The Discourse has been working with youth, parents and others connected to the system to deepen and improve reporting. We believe that by changing the story we can change the system.

B.C. government is failing vulnerable kids and families, according to its own audits

Investigation reveals ministry isn't meeting critical standards. ‘This should be a four-alarm fire,’ social work professor says.

B.C. paying foster parents instead of supporting struggling families, experts say

‘We’re willing to give strangers just about anything to look after kids, but we have this blockage when it comes to supporting families,’ says professor.

‘You’re constantly drowning’ in cases and paperwork, says B.C. social worker

An illustrated look at a day in the life of a child-protection worker.

An Indigenous mom’s fight to get her kids out of a foster care system she calls biased

‘I don’t want my four daughters fighting the same battle I’m fighting today for my children to keep them out of foster care’

Trauma or not, this Indigenous mother’s unfit, ministry tells court

Part one of Justine’s trial reveals disturbing allegations and prompts a question: Who’s better equipped to raise kids — a mother carrying the weight of intergenerational abuse or the B.C. government?

Psychologists are using biased tests to assess Indigenous parents, experts say

Canada’s national psychology association calls the situation “dire.”

Government witness ‘not qualified’ to testify in child-protection trial, judge rules

B.C. judge finds psychologist’s assessment of Indigenous mom inadmissible.

B.C. judge breaks with convention in Indigenous child-protection case

Mom suggests a more collaborative approach including Elders, and judge accepts.

B.C. Human Rights Tribunal will hear Indigenous mother’s case against child-welfare agency

This is a ‘groundbreaking’ decision, lawyer says.

This Indigenous mom’s two-front fight might be gaining ground

‘Justine’s’ human rights complaint and trial could change B.C.’s child-welfare system.

‘Justine’ to get her girls back from foster care

After a three-year battle, this Siksika mom says she’s reached an agreement with B.C. social workers to bring her daughters home.

Judge asks: Should a mother lose her kids because she challenges the foster-care system?

Eleven days into Justine’s child-protection trial, Judge Lyndsay Smith questions the ministry’s case.

We’ve made the data from our child welfare audit investigation public

Tell us how you think the Ministry of Children and Family Development is doing.

The verdict is in: We’re failing to invest in Indigenous families

MMIWG report and our latest investigation show that the state prioritizes funding foster homes over supporting struggling families.

Roots workers help Indigenous kids in care connect with culture. Why are there so few?

B.C. has just 16 Roots workers for more than 2,000 Indigenous kids in the ministry’s care.

When your child-protection trial is “To Be Continued…”

Justine waited 19 months for her child-protection trial to start — only to see it adjourned. B.C. lawyers say trials like hers are often shelved for months, even years, while kids stay in foster care and parents are kept waiting.

B.C. social workers are stressed, scared and seemingly muzzled

“I am not sure if they are trying to muzzle us or not, but we can lose our jobs if we talk to media, which is why staff are scared,” social worker says.

Indigenous kids need better access to culture while in government care

‘Generic’ Indigenous teachings aren’t good enough, say Indigenous youth

Care about child welfare? Collaborate with us

Journalists from different media are working together and we need your help.


This project was produced with support from:

Vancouver Foundation

This project was produced in collaboration with:

APTN Black Media National Observer Star Metro Vancouver The Runner The Tyee