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Canada Pledges Compensation in Battle Over Indigenous Child Welfare System

The Canadian government announced on Tuesday that it would pay a landmark 40 billion Canadian dollars to repair a child welfare system that is broken when it comes to many Indigenous children.

The agreement in principle would form the basis for a final settlement of lawsuits brought 15 years ago by First Nations groups against the Canadian government. Half the money promised would go to compensate children who were removed from their families and caregivers over the past three decades.

The rest of the money would go toward building up the child welfare system for First Nations children — who are statistically far more likely to be removed from their families — over the next five years to ensure families are able to stay together.

“This is the largest settlement in Canadian history,” said Marc Miller, Canada’s minister of crown-Indigenous relations, at a news conference in Ottawa on Tuesday. “But no amount of money can reverse the harms experienced by First Nations children.”

The deal is an acknowledgment that the child welfare system was better resourced to remove children than to support them in place.

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