Calls for more changes to help support aboriginal children with special needs
Published Wednesday, February 2, 2011 7:27PM CST
The death of five-year-old Jordan Anderson in 2005 created a push for a new bill called Jordan's Principle.
"The principle is simple – provide services to a child in need and decide who is responsible for payment later," said Ron Evans, grand chief with the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs.
Jordan Anderson, a child with special needs, died in a Winnipeg hospital six years ago, instead of at home in Norway House. The federal and provincial governments couldn't agree on who would cover his medical costs to transfer him home.
A bill in his name was passed unanimously by both governments in 2008.
But aboriginal leaders and advocates said little has changed since Jordan's death. They're calling for more action.
"It's frustrating that the government is not responding," said Clarence Paupanekis, a councillor with Norway house.
Harriet Sumner Pruden's son is developmentally delayed and has glaucoma. She worries about which level of government will help cover the costs of caring for her son.
"Last month, I got a reply from the province indicating it's not their responsibility and that it's a federal responsibility," she said.
The federal government said it has an agreement with Manitoba to deal with concerns on a case-by-case basis. The province said it's an ongoing province.
"We are sympathetic to it. I would say the issues are very complex and it really is the two government that are working towards resolving it," said Charlene Paquin, the province's assistant deputy minister of family services.
The First Nations Child and Family Caring Society said changes are not coming quick enough.
"Our view is if Canada and the provinces cannot do what they should do voluntarily, they will do it under court order," said Cindy Blackstock from the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society.
The group is taking the issue to the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal.
- with a report from CTV's Eleanor Coopsammy