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Feds Will Give $40 billion to Compensate Indigenous Children Taken from Families

Canada announced two agreements totaling $40 billion dollars that will compensate First Nations children who were taken from their families and put into the child welfare system.

The agreements come 15 years after the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society brought forward a human rights complaint.

The Canadian Human Rights Tribunal repeatedly found child and family services discriminated against First Nations children, in part by under-funding services on reserves. Children were then removed from their homes and taken off-reserve to get those services.

The reform deal includes $2,500 Canadian dollars in preventive care per child and provisions for children in foster care to receive support beyond age 18.

"I see it as words on paper," said Cindy Blackstock, executive director of the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society. "I judge victory when I can walk into a community and a child is able to say to me, 'My life is better than it was yesterday.' Nothing in these words actually changes children's lives until it's implemented."

Lawyer David Sterns, representing harmed First Nations children and families, said during a news conference that this would be the largest class-action settlement in Canada's history.

"The enormity of this settlement is due to one reason, and one reason only. And that is the sheer scope of the harm inflicted on class members," he said.

Indigenous Affairs Minister Patty Hajdu promised to end discrimination against First Nations children, who are over-represented in foster care across Canada, at the news conference detailing the agreements.

"Canada's decision and actions harmed First Nations children, families and communities," she said. "Discrimination caused intergenerational harm and losses. Those losses are not reversible. But I believe healing is possible."

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