The General Child and Family Services Authority is one of four organizations that were created as a result of the Aboriginal Justice Inquiry-Child Welfare Initiative (AJI-CWI). The AJI-CWI was launched in the spring of 2000 when the Province of Manitoba signed separate memoranda of understanding with the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs (representing 35 Southern First Nations communities), the Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak (representing 27 northern First Nations) and the Manitoba Métis Federation representing Métis and Inuit communities. A single protocol agreement was also signed with all four parties agreeing to a joint collaborative planning process to restructure Manitoba’s child welfare system in accordance with the recommendations from the 1991 Aboriginal Justice Inquiry Report. Through this collaborative planning process, the partners agree that the two primary objectives of the AJI-CWI were to:
- Make broad and systemic changes which restore to First Nations and Métis peoples primary control of child welfare services for their children and families wherever they reside in the province
- Ensure the development and delivery of child and family services to First Nations and Métis
people that respect their values, beliefs, customs and traditions
In order to achieve these objectives, the partners realized that new legislation was needed and in November 2003, The Child and Family Services Authorities Act was proclaimed into law. This law created four new organizational entities known as child and family services authorities. These are:
First Nations of Northern Manitoba Child and Family Services Authority
Southern First Nations Network of Care
Metis Child and Family Services Authority
General Child and Family Services Authority
The Child and Family Services Authorities Act was accompanied by The Child and Family Services Authorities Regulation. Together, these represent the new legislative framework for the governance and delivery of child and family services in Manitoba. The specific powers and duties of the four authorities are stipulated in this statute and regulation. With the legislative framework in place, many powers formally held by the Director were devolved to be under the jurisdiction of the four authorities. For more information please see the CFS Accountability Relationship Organizational Chart.
The authority has a set of by-laws and is governed by a board of directors of no more than 11 members appointed by the Minister of Families.