Manitoba Metis CFS Issues Directive to its agencies to continue support to youth

April 3, 2020


Despite Contravening Manitoba CFS Legislation Manitoba's Métis Leadership Deems the Measure Necessary to Safeguard Young People Who Are Especially Vulnerable During COVID-19

WINNIPEG MB - April 3, 2020: Effective immediately, Manitoba's Metis Child and Family Services agencies will support youth who are aging out of our Metis Child Welfare System even if it means that we must contravene Section 50(2) of Manitoba's Child and Family Services Act, which prohibits support for youth beyond the age of 21 years.

"Our intention is not to defy laws," said Metis CFS Authority Chief Executive Officer, Billie Schibler. "We have weighed our options very carefully, but when it comes down to it, our Metis CFS Authority and its agencies live and work by always asking ourselves "Is It Good for The Children?" So in the end the decision to extend services for youth over the age of 21 years was easy. We cannot send our young people out the door without supports during the COVID-19 Pandemic."

The Metis CFS Authority Directive is intended to support Métis agencies in providing humanitarian services for continued security and a safer launch for youth who may otherwise become vulnerable during the COVID 19 Pandemic, should they be faced with a service and funding disruption.

David Chartrand, President of the Manitoba Metis Federation, the governing body of the Metis CFS Authority, is in full support of the Authority's decision to extend services to these young people during COVID-19.

"Our Manitoba Metis Government has been working tirelessly for months to support our Métis Citizens, especially our most vulnerable Métis citizens during the COVID-19 Pandemic," said Manitoba Metis Federation President David Chartrand. "We are proud of our Metis Child and Family Services Authority for the leadership they are showing in being the first CFS organization in Manitoba to step up and formally commit to support these young people."

The Directive reads: "During the COVID-19 Pandemic, all youth who will be turning 18 (despite their legal status - Permanent, Temporary or on a Voluntary Placement Agreement) or who are currently on an Agreement with Young Adults and turning 21, will continue to receive financial support from the Métis Child and Family Services System should they choose continued support of the agencies.

If a youth on a worker's caseload is turning 18 during the Pandemic, workers will complete an Agreement with Young Adult and identify that this is specific to the Pandemic. Extensions will be up to three months or until the crisis of the Pandemic has been resolved. If the Pandemic has not been resolved by the end of the three months, the agreement will be reviewed to determine whether it will need to be renewed or terminated.

Files are not to be closed on CFSIS, as these exceptions would be considered a continuance of services being delivered under Transitional Planning."

It is important to note that these are voluntary services being offered to the youth and/or young adult and they have the right to decline these additional services.

Marie Christian, Director of Voices: Manitoba's Youth in Care Network, said "While we have had many conversations with child welfare officials and know many of their hearts are in the right place, only the Manitoba Metis CFS Authority and its agencies have officially declared they will support our youth who are aging out of care during COVID-19 even if it means contravening Section 50(2) of Manitoba's Child and Family Services Act.

Christian's organization advocates for children in care and those who have left the child welfare system in Manitoba. Voices wrote the Manitoba Minister of Families and other Manitoba Child Welfare leaders on March 31, 2020 calling for an end to the transitioning (or aging out) of youth in care during this COVID-19 pandemic.

"This is a no brainer. It isn't about what our funding will support or whether we have the legal ability," said Billie Schibler. "This is a humanitarian issue requiring a moral response and doing what is right."


Click here to read the Metis CFS Authority Directive for COVID 19 Pandemic "Extension of Support Services for Age of Majority and AYA Youth".

Media contact:
George Kolomaya
Metis Child and Family Services Authority


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