The Child Welfare System and the Sixties Scoop

United Church of Canada, “Alvin Dixon,” from the United Church of Canada Pacific Mountain Region Archives (38f-c001524-d0139-001)

It had been the long-standing practice for the Indian agents to use their wide administrative powers to address any child welfare matters on reserve. In 1951 governments changed legislation, giving additional power to social workers and provincial and territorial governments. Between 1960s and the 1980s, the “Sixties Scoop” removed First Nations, Métis and Inuit children from their homes. Children were adopted into predominantly non-Indigenous families, often out of province or out of the country and away from their languages, traditions and extended families. Parents and families were rarely notified about where their children had been relocated. Only after 1980 would provincial child welfare workers inform a Band or community about where the children were taken. Many families and children who were part of the Sixties Scoop are still searching for their relatives. 

Today, the child welfare system in Canada is often not able to provide adequate or safe care to children or families, especially for Indigenous children. Advocates and organizations like the First Nations Caring Society support ongoing political, social and legal struggles in order to assure fair, just and safe care of Indigenous children in the ‘system.’ The child welfare system today is connected to both the history and the intergenerational impacts of the Residential School System. 

The Centre is involved in advocacy and initiatives related to the current state of the child welfare system and the recently introduced Bill C-92

If you would like more information about the Sixties Scoop Settlement, visit the Settlement website.

Further resources