Building Stronger Families and Relationships to Shape Our Future
The NCN Child and Family Services (CFS) is an integral part of our community’s wellbeing. We help families and young people manage every stage of childhood with success. We are proud that our innovative programs are helping our families live happy, healthy lives together at home.
The Centre is committed to improving the lives of children and families in the communities it serves by engaging in culturally appropriate program planning and service delivery that is coordinated, responsive, and empowering.
We combine a western traditional model of service with our Elder’s wisdom, traditional teachings and cultural practices. The success of our programming has resulted in fewer children in foster care and reduced apprehension of children. We also work to further reduce the number of families with recurrent involvement with Child and Family Services and keep children in the community and in their home. With more funding, focus on our innovative service model, professional training, and formalized policies and procedures, we will continue to have a profound effect on our families and community.
The NCN Child and Family Services is responsible for NCN children in Nelson House, Thompson, South Indian Lake (OPCN), Winnipeg and Brandon (with a presence in Leaf Rapids).
We coordinate the following programs:
• Therapy Services (Family and CFS)
• Wecihitowin Project
• Foster Care Program
• Removal of Parent Program
• Community Youth Cree Court Program
Renowned Progress Reducing Number of Children in Care
Since the Wellness Centre was transitioned to a new funding model in 2012, the overall number of Children in Care (CIC) has decreased. In cases of apprehension, the Centre continues to focus on the approach of leaving children in the home and removing parents from the residence.
Helping Families Reunite and Heal
Working in cooperation with the NCN Child and Family Services team in Nelson House, Thompson and Winnipeg, the therapists provide clinical counselling and assessment services for parents and their children. Where possible, the therapeutic process begins with the Circle of Care, bringing together family and other community professionals. The work conducted by the therapists is part of the NCNCFS case planning and intervention services provided to children in care. The therapists conduct psycho-social assessment for children in care and also perform parenting capacity assessments. The assessment and intervention services are strengths-focused and build on traditional beliefs, skill building and areas of communication and attachment. We identify parent and child strengths with the goal of helping the family move toward reunification and permanent stability in the home.
Connecting With Our Culture Makes Our Community Stronger
We believe our community members can ease their struggles and find success through more engagement with traditional cultural practices. The Wecihitowin Project provides ongoing support for anyone in need with activities and resources that lead to healthier living options.
The Wecihitowin Project currently includes two Awasis workers and two NCN-CFS workers who deliver holistic services for people in every stage of life. We have had great success with community family spirit events, sharing circles, land-based activities, counselling, court support, transportation services and family conferencing.
We believe the future success of our people relies on embracing the traditional teachings of our past. Using the wisdom of our Elders, we have helped our participants deal with suicide, child apprehension, and addiction. Our participants have enjoyed Clan Mother Teachings, Spring Ceremonies, Women’s Retreats, Family Camps and Circles of Security.
Removal of Parent Program
A Community Approach to Reducing the Trauma of Child Apprehension
Our professionals and Elders see similarities between the current child apprehension system and the obsolete residential school system. Survivors say the country’s foster system is having a similarly destructive effect on the community. Both systems create short-term trauma, and the long-term effects can include loss of culture, community and family, depression and addiction.
The Intervention and Removal of Parent Program is an innovative approach to child apprehension. Sending the child away for his or her own safety often creates feelings of guilt and wrongdoing in the child. Our program instead removes the parent from the home to take part in culturally appropriate counselling or specific treatment programming while the child remains at home with family or support staff and continues daily routines. Families are then reunited after a care plan has been implemented. Our Intervention and Removal of Parent Program is currently operational in Nelson House and has seen an outstanding result in its first year.
NCN Community Youth Cree Court
Guiding our Children to a Better Path
The NCN Community Youth Cree Court aims to reclaim responsibility for our youth who commit minor crimes. Our professionals and Ketiyatisak (Elders) use holistic processes and traditional teachings to help these children make amends and restore community harmony.
The Court acknowledges many of our youth face struggles in their lives that led them to destructive choices. There are often generational issues that mean a child may not have a strong support system or helpful mentors. Once fully operational, the Court will help these children avoid the child welfare and criminal justice systems.
The Youth Cree Court was established in 2010. This innovative program is gaining recognition from the criminal and justice sector and other First Nations communities across Canada for its commitment to keeping our youth at home while leading them to a path of personal responsibility and citizenship.