The Northwest Inter-Nation Family and Community Services Society “NIFCS” was established in 1999, following a three-year community consultation process focused on developing and taking control of child safety services for children and youth registered to the Tsimshian, Haisla and Tahltan Nations. Elders and leaders guided NIFCS with traditional teachings as part of the consultation process.
In March 1999, NIFCS signed a Delegated Enabling Agreement “DEA” with the Provincial and Federal Government to provide Statutory child welfare services on reserve for children and families. The funding comes from Indigenous Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) and the legislative mandate comes from the Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD).
NIFCS signed a guardianship agreement with the Province in 2007, to manage the guardianship needs of forty children in continuing care registered to NIFCS member Bands.
In January 2011, NIFCS signed an operational protocol agreement with MCFD as it pertains to the roles and responsibilities of NIFCS and MCFD respecting the provision of services to NIFCS children and families. While NIFCS does not have full child protection delegation, the province has delegated the agency to assess for voluntary and support services, provide guardianship functions for children and youth in permanent care, and provide support services to foster parents. The agency currently provides these services to its member Nations under C4 delegation.
The Tahltan Nation removed its membership from the agency in 2016, to embark on their own Nation’s governance plan and to receive all child welfare services from the Ministry of children and family development (MCFD), rather than NIFCS.
The current goal of NIFCS is to achieve C6 delegation in order to provide full protection services within member communities. The service delivery model is community based and prevention focused which to include: Family Support Workers and Child and Family Teams in each community who will support children and youth in care to make cultural connections with their extended families, culture and communities. The C6 planning is taking place with regularity and rapidity by engaging in monthly meetings with local MCFD, Provincial Aboriginal Branch and NIFCS staff and Board.