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Latest News2020-04-12T18:04:10-04:00

Latest News

25Nov 21

You’re Invited: Decolonizing Child Welfare Webinar Learning Series – December 13th

Webinar #2 of our Learning Series focuses on the most important decisions made in child welfare arising from the Intake and Assessment process.

Please join us to explore how Child and Family Wellbeing teams respond to concerns about the safety of children and how we connect families and children to early interventions, holistic healing, and prevention services that lessen the need for intrusive child welfare interventions and keep children safe. Attend the discussion to hear how we ensure that families stay together and are safely supported with culture and community.

Register in advance for this webinar: https://nativechild.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_OQg8qc6yQFmLK43X9tWXZA

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

Select here to view previous webinars

 

10Nov 21

Announcement from Native Child and Family Services of Toronto (NCFST) and Peel Children’s Aid Society (Peel CAS)

Download the agreement

Native Child and Family Services of Toronto and Peel CAS are pleased to announce a new agreement to provide culturally appropriate Child and Family Well-Being (child welfare) and Holistic (prevention services) supports for Indigenous children, youth, and families in Peel Region.

We are taking this important step as part of our commitment to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) of Canada’s Calls to Action with respect to child welfare. It is our goal to ensure that Indigenous children, youth, and families have access to culturally appropriate services provided by an Indigenous agency. Currently there are no Indigenous child welfare agencies operating in Peel. NCFST will work in collaboration with Peel CAS to fill this gap.

Peel CAS and NCFST have recently established a formal agreement between our organizations, so that children in the care of Peel CAS who identify as Indigenous can be referred and/or transferred to NCFST. This includes Indigenous children and youth who are transferring to Peel from other jurisdictions. NCFST offers a multitude of culturally grounded support services that work to enhance the resurgence of Indigenous identity and well-being.

Through important agreements like this we are honouring the TRC’s calls to action and the right to self-determination. As we continue to build this relationship, we are working together to ensure that Indigenous children, youth, and families in Peel receive services that best meet their needs and preserve their cultural connections.

Quotations

“As a culturally grounded agency centred in Indigenous worldviews, we are honoured to walk in relationship with Peel CAS to provide culturally appropriate services to Indigenous children and families in the Peel region. This agreement represents another important step towards ensuring that all Indigenous children and families in Ontario have access to programs and services that are led and delivered by Indigenous agencies.” – Dr. Jeffrey Schiffer, Executive Director, NCFST

“At Peel CAS we are proud to support the diverse communities in our region through a variety of culturally responsive service models that help improve outcomes for the children, youth and families we work with. We are grateful for this new agreement with NCFST, which will expand and build upon the work we have been doing with local Elders and Indigenous organizations to assist with providing culturally appropriate supports to First Nations, Inuit and Métis families. We look forward to working together to build a better future for the children, youth and families we serve.” – Rav Bains, CEO, Peel CAS.

Dr. Jeffrey Schiffer
Executive Director, Native Child and Family Services of Toronto

Rav Bains
Chief Executive Officer, Peel Children’s Aid Society

For media inquiries please contact:

Freida Gladue,
Manager of Communications and Culture
Native Child and Family Services of Toronto
437-244-2816
[email protected]

Alicia Land,
Communications Consultant
Peel Children’s Aid Society
905-363-6131 x 1157
[email protected]

30Oct 21

Decolonizing Child Welfare Webinar Learning Series – Recording

Thank you to everyone who joined us on October 29th in the first of our Decolonizing Child Welfare Webinar Learning Series.

In this webinar we discussed the history of NCFST in relation to its provincial child welfare mandate, provided an overview of the core interventions and services that are offered from referral to case closure and we told the story of our efforts to provide prevention and early intervention to mitigate the harms caused by colonial child welfare services.

Miigwetch to our host and panelists:

  • Terri Jaffe, Senior Supervisor, Aboriginal Cultural Program Liaison;
  • Vivian Roy, Knowledge Keeper;
  • Kenn Richard, Founder and Director of Special Projects;
  • Jeffrey Schiffer, Executive Director;
  • Mark Atanasoff, Director of Quality Assurance and Decolonization.

Webinars in this learning series will be recorded and posted as the series evolves to be available to the community and the families we serve.

Below is the recorded webinar available for viewing.

6Oct 21

Decolonizing Child Welfare Webinar Learning Series – Oct 29 @ 2 PM

Please join us as we launch the first Child Welfare Webinar Learning Series.

This launch will consist of an overview of the child welfare system and the role of Native Child and Family Services of Toronto. We will look at the child welfare systems in the historical injustices against Indigenous children and families and the impact of the resulting intergenerational trauma.

The Webinar will explain the history of NCFST in relation to its provincial child welfare mandate, provide an overview of the core interventions and services that are offered from referral to case closure and tell the story of our efforts to provide prevention and early intervention to mitigate the harms caused by colonial child welfare services.

Webinars in this Learning Series will be recorded and posted on the NCFST website as the series evolves to be available to the community and the families we serve.

Register here: https://nativechild.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_bX7M3X_pQVy_xQsu0vvLqA

30Sep 21

Decolonizing Child Welfare Webinar Panel September 30, 2021

Thank you to the 1246 individuals who joined us today in our discussion on what Indigenous child welfare could look like in five years. Today, we announced our commitment to open a new chapter in our ongoing work and vision of transforming child welfare.

Read the full announcement here.

Miigwetch to our host Bob Goulais and the panelists:

  • Jocelyn Formsma, Executive Director, National Association of Friendship Centres;
  • Irwin Elman, Former Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth;
  • Pat Green, Traditional Knowledge Keeper;
  • Micheal Miller, Executive Director, Association of Native Child and Family Services Agencies of Ontario
  • Jeffrey Schiffer, Executive Director, Native Child and Family Services of Toronto

For those not in attendance on Sept 30th, the recorded webinar is now available to watch. 

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30Sep 21

NCFST announces commitment to launch the next phase in its on-going work to decolonize child welfare services in the city of Toronto

Every Child Matters

Following Call to Action #80 of Canada’s Indian Residential Schools Truth and Reconciliation Commission, on September 30th 2021, Canadians are observing the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, a day to honour residential school survivors, their families, and communities, and to commemorate the history and legacy of residential schools.

The discovery of thousands of unmarked graves on the sites of Canada’s residential schools has resulted in a belated Canadian public awakening to the genocide of the residential school system and recognition of the deep trauma and impact of the residential school system on Indigenous children and families.

The harmful impact of residential schools has been exacerbated by the Sixties Scoop and the continuing overrepresentation of Indigenous children in care, with many separated from their families, extended family, and community. Responding to this continuing reality, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission dedicated the first 5 of its 94 Calls to Action to the reform and redesign of child welfare services delivered to Indigenous families and communities. Declarations from current and former authorities have reiterated the need for transformation:

  • Indigenous Services Minister Jane Philpott called the overrepresentation of Indigenous children and youth in government care a “humanitarian crisis.”
  • Associate Minister of Children and Women’s Issues Jill Dunlop stated that Children and youth in care experience significantly worse outcomes than those in a family setting, such as lower graduation rates, a higher risk of homelessness and more involvement with the justice system.
  • Chairman of the Indian Residential Schools Truth and Reconciliation Commission Murray Sinclair said there are more children in Canada’s child-welfare system today than there were at the height of residential schools.

NCFST History and Role in the Child Welfare System

On September 30th, Native Child and Family Services of Toronto will be honouring the lives lost and survivors of the residential schools and their families with a day of ceremony and reflection on our journey to decolonize child welfare services for urban Indigenous children, families and communities. We will reflect on the road we have traveled so far, and the road still to be traveled ahead. In 1986 NCFST was established by Elders, Knowledge Keepers, grassroots leaders and community members, and in 2004 NCFST accepted a provincial mandate to deliver child welfare services as a major step in the quest to decolonize child welfare in the city of Toronto. By accepting this mandate, NCFST and the Indigenous community understood that we were taking a strategic step in the journey to decolonization. While being subject to mainstream standards for child welfare services, NCFST has pushed the envelope in evolving strong, culturally grounded Indigenous child and family well-being services. Having now provided service to a generation of Indigenous children in the country’s largest urban setting, NCFST has become an expert in innovation to mitigate the continuing harm of colonial child welfare policies. This has been accomplished by focusing on evolving the integration of holistic, prevention-focused child and family well-being services in collaboration with Indigenous communities and service providers in Toronto.

NCFST Announcement

Today, Native Child and Family Services of Toronto launches the next step in our journey to redesign child welfare services. Following Calls to Action number #2 of the Truth and Reconciliation Commissions 94 Calls to Action, Native Child and Family Services of Toronto is making the following commitment:

Native Child and Family Services of Toronto commits to prepare and deliver, beginning on September 30th, 2022, an annual report on the progress of our efforts to redesign child welfare services. This report will include, in accordance with the Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the number of Aboriginal children in care in the city of Toronto compared to the number of non-aboriginal children, the reasons for apprehension, the total spending on holistic and prevention services compared to spending on child welfare investigation, ongoing services and alternative care, and a report on the effectiveness of interventions to reduce the number of children in care and keep Indigenous children with their extended families and communities when child welfare interventions are unavoidable.

To meet these commitments, we are today announcing that, beginning this October, we will be inviting representatives of Indigenous people in Toronto who have worked with us either as service partners or as recipients of our services to join a Community Advisory Circle to help us examine our practices and identify priorities for child welfare redesign. We will turn to the advice and guidance of those with wisdom and lived experience to help us succeed in our redesign of Indigenous child welfare services in the city of Toronto.

In addition, beginning in October, we will also be launching a bi-monthly Decolonizing Child Welfare Learning Series for community and partners devoted to explaining and examining the Child and Family Wellbeing services that the agency provides to Toronto’s Indigenous community. The Learning Series will begin with an overview of the current state of Indigenous child welfare services in Toronto, including a review of the challenges and opportunities for redesign in the context of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action, the enactment of Bill C-92 and the Child Welfare Redesign initiatives in the province of Ontario. Development of the Learning Series modules will require Native Child and Family Services of Toronto to undergo a critical examination of our child and family wellbeing services, including standards, service eligibility criteria, assessment tools and current practices. The purpose of this critical examination will be to identify priorities for redesign to reduce the number of Indigenous children in care and ensure that all Indigenous children in care are placed with extended family or, at minimum, in their communities with strong connections to their families.

We are making these commitments today, this first Day for Truth and Reconciliation, to honour those children who never made it home, the survivors of Canada’s residential schools and their families. We acknowledge the Truth that Indigenous children continue to be overrepresented in child welfare systems and continue to suffer separation from their families, communities and culture. Native Child and Family Services of Toronto has now served a generation of Indigenous children in the City of Toronto and continues to mitigate the harms of colonial child welfare services by evolving strong, culturally grounded, Indigenous Child and Family Well Being services that keep children connected to family, community and culture. But there is more to do. Every September 30th we will gather with community and report back on our progress in our journey to decolonize child welfare services and to do our part to ensure that the tragedy and trauma of the Indian Residential School System and the Sixties Scoop will never happen again.

An Elder once asked, if it takes three days to walk into the bush, how many days will it take to walk back out again? The answer, of course, is three days. Canada’s colonial legacy runs deep, and we know it will take many years to address it. We must walk together at a brisk pace not only for all the children we have lost walking into the bush, but for all of those who have and will be born as we walk out again.

Select here to view the recorded announcement

For Media Inquiries contact:
Freida Gladue
Manager of Communications and Culture
437-244-2816
[email protected]
 

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