Child & Family Law
Chiy̓áxw is a Squamish word that refers to protocols, ways of being, and respectful ways of conducting oneself. Many interpret Chiy̓áxw as a law – “a correct way of going about doing a task or caring for our children” for example.
In January 2020, Canada passed legislation, An Act Respecting First Nation, Inuit, and Metis, Children, Youth, and Families. This federal law makes it possible for First Nations across Canada to legally take over full control and management of services to children, youth, and families.
More importantly, it allows us an opportunity to define our own law as it applies to children and families, to develop services that are supportive, and to deliver them in a culturally appropriate way that is centered on our own values, beliefs, and ways of being.
In April 2021, in response to the above opportunity, Nexwsxwníw̓ntm ta Úxwumixw (Council) approved a Project Team to conduct a survey of Members asking 5 questions on “whether the Nation should proceed to explore a Nation Law option for delivering services to children and families”. Over 80% of respondents favored moving to Nation Law.
In November 2021, in response to results of the survey, Nexwsxwníw̓ntm ta Úxwumixw directed that the Project Team engage Membership in a 2 year capacity building project to conduct our own research to establish what service changes, benefits, recommendations, as well as any pitfalls or concerns Membership might identify in moving to Nation jurisdiction.
To ask questions, or share your ideas and recommendations for change, email email@example.com or call 604-985-4111.
Our goal is to design and then deliver services that best support and serve every family’s needs. That’s why every opinion matters – we want to hear from all Members, from children to youth, to adults, and Elders.
Member Engagement Results
Since 2022, more than 1,112 Members have been engaged and provide input through meetings, Nation events, a survey, and individual interviews! chet kw’enmantúmi (we thank you) to everyone who took the time to share your thoughts.
20 Project Steering Team meetings (94 Members participated)
32 Advisory Group meetings (780 Members participated)
7 Family meetings (79 Members participated)
12 Nation events (129 Members participated)
30 individual interviews
89 surveys completed (43 online & 46 hardcopies)
We received many recommendations for changes to services and service delivery including:
- Sḵwx̱wú7mesh history, knowledge, culture, and “ways of being” must be the foundation of Chiy̓áxw (Child & Family Law).
- Creation of safe homes for children and youth within Nation families and their communities.
- Provide support services based on Sḵwx̱wú7mesh cultural practices of care and respect, as well as wrap around services that address each child’s and family’s specific needs, such as healing, self-care, housing, and income support.
- All Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Members and families residing off-reserve should have access to Nation child and family services.
We are currently making changes to the way we do things:
- Elders are working (part-time) along with staff in most programs across Nation child and family services. “We must retain our Sḵwx̱wú7mesh cultural ways in how we support our families, now and into the future.”
- Mandatory ongoing staff training which includes Sḵwx̱wú7mesh history, beliefs and values, language, and spirituality within traditional family practices.
The project team will continue to engage the community and seek feedback as the Chiy̓áxw (Child & Family Law) is developed. Stay tuned for future information sessions.
The Chiy̓áxw Project is guided by the Knowledge Keepers Advisory Group and Members Advisory Group. Members of these groups have been selected for their experience and interest in Sḵwx̱wú7mesh ways of caring for children, as well as their involvement in the Nation. Both groups meet monthly to advance their responsibilities, which are described in this overview.