Jordan's Principle is a federal mandate designed to ensure Indigenous children in the care system, both on and off reserve, receive the same level of care, regardless of their federal, provincial, territorial or departmental jurisdiction.
It was only recently though, that the Jordan's Principle mandate broadened. A 2016 Human Rights Tribunal ruling found Canada discriminated against Indigenous children and led to recent changes. On April 10, child and family services workers gathered at Prince Albert's Plaza 88 to learn about Jordan's Principle and its recent updates.
“Before, it was just for high-needs, complex medical-needs children,” Treena Wynes, the Jordan's Principle coordinator for Saskatchewan First Nation Family and Community Institute, said.
Due to the special circumstance requirements, she said it was previously quite difficult to get approved for funding through Jordan's Principle. Now, with a wider mandate, she said there's “a very good chance” to get funding for programming for children outside of the old high or complex medical need scope.
In previous information sessions, Wynes said she's spoken with many who didn't know what Jordan's Principle was and others who know a little bit about the mandate. She has also spoken with people who were aware of Jordan's Principle but unaware of it's widened scope.
The Department of Indigenous Services hosted the information sessions at Plaza 88 for people who work directly with Indigenous children and their families, to inform them of the changes. As the federal administrators of the program, the representatives from Indigenous Services handled the presentations and fielded questions about Jordan's Principle.
“[Indigenous Services] set aside some money for Jordan's Principle, to get an idea about what the need is across Canada,” Wynes said. “Because the message hasn't been out there that they widened the mandate, generally people were thinking of it as what it was before.”
She said the child and family workers who attended the meetings were excited about the changes. They started coming up with ideas as to how they can apply services through Jordan's Principle to help the families they're working with.
Wynes stressed the need for anyone working with Indigenous children and families to look at services through Jordan's Principle.
Another Jordan's Principle information session was scheduled for April 11 in Nipawin, followed by a session in La Ronge April 12.
On Twitter: @BryanEneas
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