Social Development

Healthy, safe and sustainable First Nations communities through an inclusive, holistic and culturally-based social development system that promotes First Nations control and jurisdiction.

Our Vision

  • An ongoing partnership between First Nations and the Federal/Provincial/Territorial governments to ensure a continuum of quality, culturally-relevant services, and;

  • A comprehensive, integrated social development approach that includes capacity development at the community level.

What is Jordan’s Principle?

Jordan’s Principle is a child-first principle named in memory of Jordan River Anderson, a First Nations child from Norway House Cree Nation in Manitoba. Born with complex medical needs,Jordan spent more than two years unnecessarily in hospital while the Province of Manitoba and the federal government argued over who should pay for his at-home care. Jordan died in the hospital at the age of five years old, never having spent a day in his family home.

Learn More Summit Materials



On March 22, 2017, Prime Minister Trudeau tabled his second budget. Budget 2017 included $39.2 million for Youth Case Management (a component of the on-reserve Income Assistance program) and $7 billion over 10 years for early learning and child care, of which $130 million is targeted for Indigenous early learning and child care, starting in 2018-2019. Budget 2017 also included an investment of $118.5 million over five years to support Indigenous peoples living in urban centres.


On March 22, 2016, Prime Minister Trudeau tabled his first federal budget. An historic $8.4 billion over 5 years in investments have been made on Indigenous issues. Specifically, the federal budget invested $635 million over 5 years for First Nations child welfare. Additionally, budget 2016 identified $100 million for Indigenous early learning and child care.


The Trudeau Government committed to establishing a National Indigenous Early Learning and Child Care Framework. Budget 2016 & 2017 included new funding to support these efforts. The Prime Minister’s mandate letter to the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development instructed the Minister to “Work with the Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs to launch consultations with provinces and territories and Indigenous Peoples on a National Early Learning and Childcare Framework as a first step towards delivering affordable, high-quality, flexible and fully inclusive child care.” The Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada received a similar mandate.

At the 2016 AFN Annual General Assembly in Niagara Falls, Chiefs-in-Assembly passed AFN Resolution 39/2016 which directed the AFN to obtain funding to establish a national expert working group on ELCC which would oversee a 4-6 month community engagement process. This process would support the identification and confirmation of key principles, priorities and actions of a First Nations ELCC framework along with an action plan that takes into account regional priorities, needs and circumstances. Through the AFN Social Development unit and the AFN Regional Offices, representatives for the National Expert Working Group on ELCC have been identified and the working group has met twice. The meetings have provided for further establishment of the working group’s mandate, coordination of regional engagement and an approach for developing the First Nation component of the National Indigenous ELCC Framework.


On February 23, 2007 the Assembly of First Nations and the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society filed a Canadian Human Rights complaint alleging Canada is discriminating against First Nations children in the provision of on reserve child welfare. On January 26, 2016 the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal (CHRT) confirmed that the federal government is discriminating against First Nation children. AFN resolution #62/2016 mandated the AFN to re-establish the NAC with the goal of advising on the reform of INAC’s child welfare program.

The NAC is a joint advisory body consisting of regional First Nation child welfare experts, the Assembly of First Nations, the First Nation Child and Family Caring Society and the Federal Government. The NAC is chaired by Grand Chief Ed John. For background information on the Tribunal rulings and the NAC please refer to the resources section below.

Interim Report of the National Advisory Committee on First Nations Child and Family Services Program Reform

January 2018

Contact Social Development Staff

Jonathan Thompson

Lorna Martin
Administrative Assistant

Stephanie Wellman
Sr. Policy Analyst

Pamela Corkum
Administrative Assistant

Martin Orr
Sr. Policy Analyst

Kara Kennedy
Policy Analyst

Kanatase Horn
Policy Analyst

Jessica Quinn
Policy Analyst

rdbrinkhurstSocial Development
Assembly of First Nations