Supporting Inuit children

ᐃᓄᒃᑎᑐᑦ

The Child First Initiative ensures Inuit children have access to the essential government funded health, social and educational products, services and supports they need, when they need them.

Each province and territory has a regional representative to support applicants in accessing the Child First Initiative. Please submit your request for Inuit children to Indigenous Services Canada though the regional representative for your province or territory. Your regional representative for the Child First Initiative also supports Jordan’s Principle, which follows a similar set of process steps. The process outlined below for the Child First Initiative is tailored specifically to Inuit children, and your regional representative can provide further information and help you submit a request.

The Government of Canada is working with Inuit partners, provinces and territories to develop a long-term Inuit-specific approach to help better address the unique health, social and education needs of Inuit children.

To submit a request

Step 1. What is covered

Each child's situation is unique. Please contact your regional representative to discuss what coverage is available based on the child’s needs.

Some examples of what could be funded include:

Health

  • wheelchair ramps
  • addiction services
  • cultural services from Elders
  • mental health counseling
  • assessments and screenings
  • medical supplies and equipment
  • therapeutic services (speech therapy, physiotherapy, occupational therapy)

Social

  • land-based activities
  • specialized summer camps
  • respite care programs based on cultural beliefs and practices

Educational

  • tutoring services
  • educational assistants
  • specialized school transportation
  • psycho-educational assessments
  • assistive technologies and electronics

Step 2. Who is eligible

All Inuit children, no matter where they live in Canada, can request funding through the Child First Initiative. They must be:

  • recognized by an Inuit land claim organization

and

  • under the age of majority in their province/territory of residence

Step 3. Who to contact

Contact your regional representative or call the national call centre at 1-855-572-4453, which is available 24 hours per day, 7 days per week.

Step 4. Who can send requests

Requests can be submitted by:

  • parents or guardians caring for a dependent Inuk child
    or
  • an Inuk child above 16 years of age for themselves
    or
  • an authorized representative of the child, parent or guardian (written or verbal consent must be provided by the parent or guardian)

A request for a group of children with similar needs from multiple families or guardians can be submitted by a community or a service provider. Examples of the types of services a group can request are:

  • wheelchair ramps
  • cultural support programs
  • specialized school transportation  
  • specialized education and communication equipment

Step 5. How to send a request

To start your request, contact your regional representative or call the national call centre at 1-855-572-4453, which is available  24 hours per day, 7 days per week. We are here to help.

Having certain information ready when you contact us can help if you are seeking access to funding for a product, service or support.

This includes:

  • Proof of beneficiary enrollment with an Inuit land claim organization
    Please provide either:
    • the child’s 'N' number (which identifies the child as a beneficiary of an Inuit land claim)
      or
    • one parent’s 'N' number (which identifies the parent as a beneficiary of an Inuit land claim)
      or
    • a letter or card indicating the child or one parent is a beneficiary of an Inuit land claim organization in Canada
      or
    • a Nunavut or Northwest Territories health card
    • a certification and authorization form filled out by your land claim organization (to be provided by your regional representative)    
  • a summary of the child's history and unique needs 
  • the product, service or support needed
  • how often the product, service or support will be needed
    • one time
    • many times
    • on an ongoing basis
  • estimated costs (if known)
  • copies of related
    • prescriptions
    • referrals from a health, social or education professional (if you have them)
  • medical, educational, social assessments identifying the child’s need for the product, service or support
  • if the request has been submitted in the past, the name of the provincial or federal program or service where the request was submitted and copies of documents submitted (if available)

Step 6. Processing requests

Your regional representative will review the completed request. A decision will be sent to you in writing after the request is processed. If your request is denied, you may initiate an appeal anytime within one year from the date the request was denied.

Funding is provided for approved requests in one of two ways:

  1. We provide funding for the products, services or supports for the child or children.
  2. If the family, guardian, child or authorized representative has already paid for the approved product, service or support, then reimbursement of these expenses will be provided.

Step 7. Reimbursements and retroactive requests

Each child's situation is unique. For this reason it is important to confirm coverage with your regional representative.

Requesting a reimbursement

Reimbursement may be provided if the approved product, service or support has already been paid for by the family or provided by a service provider/vendor.

A reimbursement form is needed:

  • to request reimbursement for costs already paid
  • for service providers and vendors to request direct payment for services rendered

Follow these three steps to request a reimbursement:

  1. Contact the regional representative or call 1-855-572-4453 so we can help you start the process and confirm that the product, service or support will be funded.
  2. Complete a reimbursement form (we can send you the form and help you fill it in).
  3. Send the completed reimbursement form to your regional representative, including all relevant supporting documents.

Receiving the payments

Requests for a child or children in the same family or with the same guardian:

  • the parent or guardian normally gets the payment if the child is under the age of majority in their province/territory of residence
  • children over age 16 may get the payment if they submitted the request
  • a vendor or service provider may be paid directly

Request for a group of children from multiple families or guardians:

  • payment will be made to the community or group that made the request
  • vendors or service providers may be paid directly

Retroactive requests

Applicants who had previously submitted a request for an Inuk child since July 2016 under Jordan’s Principle are encouraged to call 1-855-572-4453 or call their regional representative to request a reimbursement.

Step 8. How to appeal decisions

If a request is denied, you may initiate an appeal anytime within one year of the date of denial. To do so, please send in a written request to your regional representative, they will work with you throughout the process.

All requests for appeals must contain, at minimum:

  • the child's name and date of birth
  • the product or service requested
  • the date of denial

Although it is not required to initiate an appeal, you may also include additional information, such as professional assessments, or information that summarizes the child's history and unique needs.

The appeal process can take up to 30 business days.

Sending a request for appeal

An individual can appeal a decision if they are:

  • a parent or guardian of an Inuit child
  • an Inuk child above 16 years of age
  • an authorized representative of the child, parent or guardian

Requests for appeals for a group of children from multiple families or guardians can be submitted by:

  • the community or group that submitted the request

For more information

Please contact your regional representative or call 1-855-572-4453 if you have:

  • any questions
  • new information about any request that was submitted since July 2016
  • applied for funding under Jordan’s Principle and were denied or sent a pending letter
  • knowledge of a case  where a request  for an Inuit child was partially approved or denied since July 2016, and would like the case to be reviewed

You can also contact us by teletypewriter: 1-866-553-0554.

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