NL Gazette

Bill 39 passed by N.L. legislature, changes made to Indigenous children adoptions

Takeaway Keys:

  • The Bill includes the children’s welfare and the signifocance of living with families.
  • The indigenous governments and organizations will be involved during the adoption entire process.

The recently passed changes to the Newfoundland and Labrador Adoption Act aim to put the welfare and well-being of indigenous children at the center of the process, said the Minister of children, seniors, and social development. 

Bill 39, passed on 4 November and now part of the adoption law, introduces the development of a “cultural connection plan” for indigenous children through the adoption process. Abbott told CBC Radio’s Labrador Morning. He said this included an agreement with the child’s additional family to continue these relationships after adoption at the judge’s discretion.

Through adoption, foster care, and child protection processes, we know that if children can stay home with their families, they are … more likely to have a better opportunity.

In reality, indigenous children are not and should not be adopted unless indigenous governments and organizations are involved.

He said indigenous governments and organizations were involved in the change. He said the provisional law required the law to be reviewed every five years, and when it expired, discussions were also held with those groups, especially at Labrador.

“We were very delighted the level of involvement because it allows strengthening the law,” Abbott said.

The new law also plays a significant role in sibling relationships he said.

Abbott said it is really vital that the children stay closer to their families for their health and for their well-being.

If an indigenous child is adopted, an indigenous government representative has to be notified and involved in the entire process.

Indigenous children in the province’s foster-care system have been under deep observation for years. In 2019, in June the province’s child and youth advocate, Jackie Lake Kavanagh, notified through a scathing report released on protective services for Inuit children; she said nothing among 33 recommendations had been acted upon.

Read More: Changes to Indigenous children adoptions coming, as N.L. legislature passes Bill 39 | CBC News

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