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The Lii Michif Otipemisiwak in Kamloops is one of two Delegated Aboriginal Agencies that provide services to Métis children and families in B.C. (Lii Michif Otipemisiwak/Facebook) B.C.’s Métis community will soon assume authority over its children in government care.

Métis Nation British Columbia (MNBC) and the province signed an agreement on Wednesday acknowledging an eventual transfer in control over the child welfare of Métis children.

The goal of the agreement is to "significantly" reduce the number of Métis children and youth in government care, leading to the eventual legislative transfer of authority over B.C. Métis children to MNBC, according to a news release.

There are currently 520 Métis youth that receive services through B.C.’s Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD).

Two Métis-sensitive child welfare centres run by the MCFD currently operate B.C. — Métis Family Services in Surrey and Lii Michif Otipemisiwa in Kamloops.

"By signing this joint commitment, we assert the right to develop our own laws, our own policies, and our own practices in accordance with our traditions," said MNBC president Clara Morin-Dal Col in the release.

"As we reclaim authority, we will focus on the restoration of our most vulnerable children and families to our kinship networks, to our communities and to our Métis Nation." Transfer expected in 2021

The transfer of authority is expected in 2021 after the province and MNBC work out the legal details. Once complete, the ministry will be able to refer Métis children in need of care to culturally sensitive programs established by MNBC.

There is no recognized land base for Métis in B.C., and they do not have the same funding relationship with the federal government as First Nations communities, according to the release.

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