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For Immediate Release
February 21, 2012

PROGRAM TO HELP FIND FIRST NATIONS AND ABORIGINAL CHILDREN

The Canadian Centre for Child Protection, Assembly of First Nations and RCMP collaborate to raise awareness about MissingKids.ca


VANCOUVER, British ColumbiaThe Canadian Centre for Child Protection, the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) and RCMP have come together to raise awareness about a program available to help First Nations and Aboriginal families in their search for missing children. MissingKids.ca, the Canadian Centre for Child Protection’s missing children resource and response centre, is a central place for parents and communities to get help and critical tools as well as resources to prevent children from going missing.

“Today, at the AFN’s National Justice Forum, we are announcing a joint effort to help ensure that all First Nations and Aboriginal communities in Canada know where to turn when a child is missing. We are living in a more complex world and our children are facing new risks. 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,’ said Christy Dzikowicz, Director of MissingKids.ca.

MissingKids.ca works in partnership with Canada’s law enforcement agencies and other stakeholders in the search for missing children. The program provides a national voice on missing children’s issues and a coordinated approach in the search, capitalizing on new technology and providing prompt, efficient dissemination of information to the public.

“The stark reality that more and more First Nation youth go missing in Canada each year is unacceptable,” said AFN National Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo. “As the leaders of today, First Nation youth must be supported and nurtured to achieve their dreams and reach their full potential. The Assembly of First Nations is proud to work together with the Canadian Centre for Child Protection to support the development of First Nation resources and tools to be available to First Nations youth right within their communities.”

With the support of the Government of Canada, through the Department of Justice Victims Fund, the Canadian Centre for Child Protection will be reaching out to First Nations and Aboriginal people through multiple channels.

“Our Government has been very clear about the importance that we place on the safety of children,” said the Honourable Rob Nicholson, P.C., Q.C., M.P. for Niagara Falls, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada. “We are proud to be a part of this program to assist child victims and their families.”

As part of this initiative, a public service announcement featuring National Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo will be airing on the Aboriginal People’s Television Network (APTN). Also, over 150,000 pieces of MissingKids.ca program materials will be distributed to approximately 650 band offices and 700 RCMP and First Nation police detachments across Canada. Finally, MissingKids.ca staff will personally reach out to hundreds of First Nations communities to survey their needs and raise awareness.

MissingKids.ca, will continue to work with partners to provide all families and communities across Canada with the support and resources they need to help bring missing children home. For more information, visit www.missingkids.ca.

The AFN National Justice Forum, taking place in Vancouver February 21 through 23, is focused on advancing First Nation-driven strategies for achieving safe, secure and thriving First Nation communities, while identifying opportunities for further engagement and partnerships. Priority areas for discussion and action at the Forum include ending violence against Indigenous women and among gangs, addressing the over-representation of First Nation citizens in the justice system and seeking adequate support for First Nation policing and emergency crisis response. Over 400 delegates and frontline justice workers from First Nation communities, national and regional Indigenous organizations, as well as key stakeholders and representatives from the federal and provincial governments will take part.

For more information please contact:
Carolyn Shimmin, Communications Coordinator, Canadian Centre for Child Protection
Office: (204) 945-8074 Cell: (204) 801-6838
Email: carolyn@protectchildren.ca

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