Cowichan Tribes votes in favour of reclaiming child and family services


Cowichan Tribes is moving forward with its plans to take over jurisdiction of its children and family services from the province, following a historic vote Friday.

In early November, the First Nation said it was looking to develop its own law in order to keep children in the community – as well as increase its service area and double the amount of social worker staff.

“The thing the Crown was doing was removing kids at birth. They wouldn’t even give the family a chance,” said Cowichan Tribes Chief Lydia Hwitsum on Nov. 9.

“They would walk into a hospital and take out a newborn out of the arms of a mother. ‘We don’t think you are good enough so we are taking your child,’” she said.

Cowichan Tribes asked its roughly 5,000 members to vote on the decision, and on Nov. 24 polls closed

Approximately 83 per cent of members who participated in the vote supported the new law, while 17 per cent opposed it.

With the law now passed, Cowichan Tribes is waiting for a ratification officer to certify the results.

“This is a historic moment for our community. Huy tseep q’u to everyone who took the time to vote, contribute to the development of the Law, and learn about our Law. We are grateful for everyone’s contributions to the process,” said Cowichan Tribes in a social media post Friday.

“If you have any questions or concerns about the results of [the] election process, please do not hesitate to contact Ratification Officer Rosie Holmes at 250-516-3618.”

READ MORE: Cowichan Tribes hopeful that new law will bring their children home

With files from CHEK’s Tchadas Leo

Adam ChanAdam Chan

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