Indigenous heritage doesn’t overrule other factors in adoption: B.C. court

Unanimous decision is latest ruling on how much weight cultural identity should have in adoptions

The B.C. Court of Appeal has ruled that Aboriginal heritage must be considered when placing an Indigenous child with an adoptive family, but it does not overrule all other factors in deciding their best interests.

The unanimous decision issued today is the latest ruling grappling with the issue of how much weight should be given to cultural identity when First Nations, Metis or Inuit children are being adopted.

The case involves a 10-year-old Aboriginal boy who was legally adopted by a non-Indigenous father and a mother who is Aboriginal who have raised the boy since he was 14 months old.

He was removed from his biological mother’s care at birth when cocaine was detected in his bloodstream, but the woman later went through substance abuse recovery and appealed the adoption order.

She argued the judge who issued the order did not adequately consider the boy’s heritage, but the panel of five judges ruled that Aboriginal background is just one of several factors that must be weighed.

Last year, the appeal court ruled against a Metis foster mother who was fighting to adopt a Metis toddler she had raised since birth.

The Canadian Press

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