New program aimed at helping First Nation communities find missing kids
VANCOUVER - A new effort is being launched to alert First Nations communities across Canada about what they can do to find missing aboriginal children.
The help is being offered by the Canadian Centre for Child Protection and its website, www.missingkids.ca, along with the Assembly of First Nations, the federal government and the RCMP.
"The stark reality that more and more First Nation youth go missing in Canada each year is unacceptable,” said AFN National Chief Shawn Atleo.
"First Nation youth must be supported and nurtured to achieve their dreams and reach their full potential," he said in a statement after the initiative was announced at the AFN National Justice Forum in Vancouver.
To raise awareness of the site, Atleo has done a public service announcement that will air on the Aboriginal People’s Television Network, while Missingkids.ca will send materials to about 650 band offices and 700 RCMP and First Nations police detachments across Canada.
The website offers a central place for parents and communities to get help and works in conjunction with police searches for children who have disappeared.
"We are living in a more complex world and our children are facing new risks," said Christy Dzikowicz, director of Missingkids.ca.
"In addition to providing step-by-step guides and tools, Missingkids.ca’s specially trained staff is always there to support families in their search to find their missing child," she said.
The missing children initiative is being supported by the federal government through the Department of Justice Victims Fund.