Other Key Issues
In addition to CHEO’s four main advocacy platforms, CHEO has weighed in on other significant issues which impact the children and youth of our community, such as:
In May 2009, CHEO’s board of trustees officially endorsed “Jordon’s Principle” and formally encouraged other community hospitals to do the same.
Jordan was a young First Nations child who was born with complex medical needs. As his family did not have access to the supports needed to care for him at their home on reserve they made the difficult decision to place Jordan in child welfare care shortly after birth. Jordan remained in hospital for the first two years of his life as his medical condition stabilized. During this time the First Nations child and family service agency, First Nations community and family worked together to locate a medically trained foster home and to raise money to refit a van for Jordan's safe transportation. Shortly after Jordan's second birthday, doctors said he could go to a family home. This decision should have been a time of celebration but for federal and provincial governments it was a time to begin arguing over which department would pay for Jordan's at home care. The jurisdictional dispute would last over two years during which time Jordan remained unnecessarily in hospital. The costs they argued over ranged from some higher cost items such as renovations to the home for a wheelchair ramp to low cost items such as showerheads. The community initially tried to mediate a solution between the governments but when this failed they turned to legal action. Shortly after Jordan's fourth birthday in hospital, the jurisdictional dispute was settled but not in time for Jordan who sadly passed away at the age of 5.
A recent research report indicates that jurisdictional disputes involving the costs of caring for First Nations children are very prevalent with 393 of these disputes occurring in 12 sample First Nations child and family service agencies this past year alone. The vast majority of these disputes were between two federal government departments or between the federal government and the provincial/territorial government (for more information please see the Wen:de report (2005)).
Under Jordan's principle, where a jurisdictional dispute arises between two government parties (provincial/territorial or federal) or between two departments or ministries of the same government, regarding payment for services for an aboriginal child which are otherwise available to other Canadian children, the government or ministry/department of first contact must pay for the services without delay or disruption. The paying government party can then refer the matter to jurisdictional dispute mechanisms. In this way, the needs of the child get met first while still allowing for the jurisdictional dispute to be resolved.
A Covenant for Honoring Children
In December 2009, CHEO’s board of trustees officially endorsed “A Covenant for Honoring Children” , by Rafi Cavoukain.
Raffi Cavoikian is the founder of Child Honoring. He is best known by countless numbers of Canadian children and their parents as “Raffi”, whose songs filled their homes and their childhoods. Raffi has more recently directed his commitment to the well-being of children and his creative talents and voice to developing a vision of the world that starts with the well-being of children. That vision is the philosophy of Child Honoring.
The heart of Child Honoring is A covenant for Honoring Children, a set of guiding principles for restoring natural and human communities that assure the well-being of children and, thus, the larger world they will inherit. The clarion call of Child Honoring is being heard in ever-widening global circles, and has drawn the voices of T. Berry Brazelton, Stephen Lewis, Fraser Mustard and the Dalai Lama, among many others, in its support.
CHEO feels that the Raffi covenant is consistent with its mission to make a difference in the lives of children, youth and families and has raised its voice in support of the initiative.