Child and Family Services Program

The southern First Nation Chiefs have long been concerned with over-representation of our children in the Manitoba child welfare system, and have sought solutions to maintain control and decision-making for community members. Some key issues that our Chiefs-in-Summit have addressed are:

Our Child & Family Services (CFS) and Justice team continues to work diligently and collectively with all southern First Nation communities, individuals, families, partnerships, and all levels of government to help ensure that all Indigenous children and families are receiving adequate services, programs, and opportunities that will enhance their wellbeing. These include:

  • Assisting individuals and families to navigate the CFS and justice system
  • Supporting individuals, families and communities to exercise jurisdiction
  • Updating all communities with new information on child welfare and justice issues
  • Maintain and or create relationships with various stakeholders

SCO has started developing a framework for communities seeking to reclaim jurisdiction over child welfare since the passing of federal legislation, An Act respecting First Nations, Inuit, and Metis children youth and families. This framework is being developed through collaboration with community-identified wisdom keepers and with input from the CFS agency executive directors and Southern First Nations Network of Care Chief Executive Officer, with project oversight by the Southern Chiefs’ Organization Chiefs Standing Committee on Child Welfare and Justice.

First Nations have exercised their jurisdiction over their children and families from time immemorial. We have our own laws and principles that have survived the onslaught of colonialism, including impacts from the residential schools and the Sixties Scoop. Community leadership has consistently taken steps to regain control and decision-making for their own children and families.

Elder Charlie Nelson from Roseau River First Nation gifted our process with the name, Waakaabit: Working together within the circle to make good decisions for our children and families,” to ensure we continue to work together and re-build our Nations, our communities, and our families – for our children, our youth, and our future generations – in a good way.

We are all responsible and we all have a role in improving the future outcomes of our children, youth, and families.

CFS Parents’ Bill of Rights

Most southern First Nation parents are unaware of their rights when dealing with Child and Family Services (CFS). The child welfare system can be overwhelming and intimidating to navigate. The lack of awareness of parent’s rights further compounds these issues.

To directly address this problem, the Chiefs’ Standing Committee on Child Welfare issued a Directive to the Southern First Nation Network of Care that requires their child and family service workers to verbally inform First Nation parents of their rights when workers attend to child protection matters.

To learn more, please visit our Parents’ Bill of Rights page.

Contact us:

For more information, email us:

SCO Community Child and Family Services Staff

Community Engagement Liaisons

Diane Smoke – Dakota Tipi First Nation

Sophia Soumah – Kinonjeoshtegon First Nation

Preston Swan – Lake Manitoba First Nation

Patricia Murdock – Lake St. Martin First Nation

Harriet Sumner-Pruden – Pinaymootang First Nation

Glenice Smith-Mini – Roseau River Anishinaabe First Nation


Agency Complaint Resolution Process (PDF)

Addictions Agencies Serving Youth (PDF)

Parents’ Bill of Rights

Southern First Nations Network of Care

Yellowquill University College