10/15/2012 06:34 EDT | Updated 12/15/2012 05:12 EST

Saskatchewan First Nation gives child, family services to off-reserve residents

LA RONGE, Sask. - A Saskatchewan First Nation is giving child and family services to both on- and off-reserve residents.

Social Services Minister June Draude (DROWH'-dee) was in La Ronge Monday to officially sign the new agreement with the Lac La Ronge Indian Child and Family Services Agency.

As of Oct. 1, the agency has been giving child protection and foster care services to off-reserve residents in La Ronge, Air Ronge, Pinehouse, Brabant Lake, Southend and Stanley Mission.

Chief Tammy Cook-Searson says no longer will issues of jurisdiction interfere with child welfare, since child protection workers will now have the option of placing children with extended family living off-reserve.

The arrangement will be fully implemented by Dec. 1.

The band's child and family services agency has been offering after-hours emergency services to off-reserve residents since December 2010.