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Health minister meets with foster family board of directors

The Government of the Northwest Territories health minister and board of the Foster Family Coalition of the NWT met recently to discuss some of the most pressing issues related to the delivery of child and family services in the territory, according to a Jan. 31 news release.

Health and Social Services Minister Diane Thom and department officials met with the Foster Family Coalition board on Friday. NNSL file photo

Diane Thom minister of Health and Social Services and the Northwest Territories Health and Social Services Authority, department officials and the Foster Family Coalition NWT came out of a recent meeting "agreeing to find new ways to collaborate for addressing the on-the-ground and in the home needs of caregivers, and for addressing challenges within the child and family services system," states the release.

The release states that all parties agree that the safety and welbeing of children "is paramount." It also states that caregivers, frontline workers and officials of the NWT all want improved outcomes for children, families and youth.

The meeting occurred following Thom's willingness to meet with the coalition earlier this month to hear in detail the "crisis" situation of foster family and children service delivery.

In December, Thom had received a 27-page letter from the coalition demanding that she meet about the failing foster care system.

In Friday's release, the GNWT stated that the meeting led to both parties agreeing that there was to be work done on the ways the two bodies communicate and that more collaboration has to be done "to address challenges being experienced on the frontlines and in the homes of caregivers and to make system improvements."

The release also states that child protection and community social workers are key for both the GNWT and Foster Family Coalition as being "a valued and essential part" of the delivery system and should be heard by the government to move issues forward involving children and youth.

Thom was expected to visit frontline service workers on late Friday.