This multidisciplinary research project brought together experts in First Nations child welfare, community development, economics, management information systems, law, social work and management to inform the development of three funding formula options to support policy and practice in First Nations child and family service agencies in Canada. This unique research approach involved specialized research projects on the incidence and social work response to reports of child maltreatment respecting First Nations children, prevention services, jurisdictional issues, extraordinary circumstances, management information services and small agencies. These research projects were complimented by the results of twelve case studies of First Nations child and family service agencies in Canada.
Findings indicate that First Nations children are over represented at every level of the child welfare decision making continuum including reports to child welfare, case substantiation rates, and admissions to child welfare care. In fact an analysis of child in care data by cultural group indicated that one in ten Status Indian children in three sample provinces were in care as of May 2005. Research results indicate that First Nations child and family service agencies are inadequately funded in almost every area of operation ranging from capital costs, prevention programs, standards and evaluation, staff salaries and child in care programs. The disproportionate need for services amongst First Nations children and families coupled with the under-funding of the First Nations child and family service agencies that serve them has resulted in an untenable situation. Recommendations for policy change and future research are discussed.