Have immediate concerns about a child? Call 416-969-8510

April 2021

Malvern Aboriginal Child and Family Centre – Virtual Grand Opening

Toronto, Ont. – April 12, 2021 – Today, Native Child and Family Services of Toronto (NCFST) celebrates the opening of the new Malvern Aboriginal Child and Family Centre, located at 31 Tapscott Road in Scarborough. This new multi-service centre will provide a new EarlyON Centre, as well as holistic, culture-based programs and services for Aboriginal children, their families and caregivers.
The virtual grand opening includes a virtual walk-through of the new site, a traditional opening, video statements from Minister of Education Stephen Lecce, Mayor John Tory and Native Child and Family Services of Toronto’s Executive Director, Dr. Jeffrey Schiffer, with an overview of the child-centred, family focused and community driven supports that will be delivered at this new centre.

EarlyON Child and Family Centre offers free programs to parents and caregivers and their children from birth to six years of age. The centre welcomes families to participate in programs that strengthens adult-child relationships, supports parent education and fosters healthy child development. Qualified professionals help families and caregivers find support, get advice, make personal connections and access a network of resources.

Funding for this initiative was provided by the Ministry of Education as part of the Journey Together Initiative – a response to the Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action report. The projects were designed by the community through a needs assessment led by Toronto Aboriginal Support Services Council (TASSC).

As EarlyON Centres are currently under a provincial closure order due to COVID-19, Native Child and Family Services of Toronto will continue to offer virtual and remote services from these new locations and continue to offer land-based programming in City of Toronto parks until they are permitted to open.

February 2021

Indigenous Spirit Fund (ISF) launches to support healthy outcomes for urban Indigenous Youth

(Toronto, Ont., February 11, 2021) – The Indigenous Spirit Fund (ISF), which launched virtually on February 11, 2021, is changing the narrative of Reconciliation through philanthropy by Native Child and Family Services of Toronto (NCFST). This new fund will deliver long-overdue financial support for Indigenous youth and children, proving that successful decolonization can happen through philanthropy.

ISF is led by Indigenous people with expertise in child and family welfare, Indigenous cultures, and governance. Andrew Wesley, Cree Elder, explains that the fund’s vision is to create, “a world where all Indigenous children, youth and their families experience purpose, peace, joy, and love.”

ISF will create opportunities for Canada’s private, philanthropic, and charitable sectors to build new relationships with Indigenous families, and the organizations that serve them, in order to create healthy outcomes for Indigenous children and youth. It will help deliver much-needed support to some of Toronto’s most vulnerable children and families through community-driven and culture-based services, including summer culture camps, employment and education programs, and arts and entrepreneurship programs.

“The Indigenous Spirit fund, at its highest level, is here to give the philanthropic community an opportunity to actively participate in reconciliation,” said Kenn Richard, ISF Director. “All funding goes directly to Indigenous children and their families who need supports, sometimes, just to survive.”

In the spirit of reconciliation, the charitable and philanthropic sector can create a difference today by investing in the Indigenous Spirit Fund to help give youth a chance to become the leaders of tomorrow.

Make a donation

November 2020

Mino Bimaadiziwin Healing and Prevention Centre – Virtual Grand Opening

Today, Native Child and Family Services of Toronto (NCFST) announced it has opened the Mino Bimaadiziwin (pronounced Me-NO b-MAAZ-da-win and meaning Living the Good Life) Healing and Prevention Centre, a new permanent space in Toronto which will provide the Indigenous community with a sense of space, privacy, ownership, and belonging – all integral components to the prevention and healing work conducted by NCFST.

While the new site will bring together programs that have been running successfully at NCFST for decades, it will also offer new services such as the Tikinagan Mobile Pre and Post-Natal program. The Tikinagan team provides intensive wrap-around health and social services and works cohesively with child welfare to decolonize child welfare practices for pregnant and postpartum families, ultimately creating a healthy start for Aboriginal infants.

The activities and programs delivered at Mino Bimaadiziwin Healing and Prevention Centre include:

  • Group therapy for children exposed to domestic violence;
  • Sharing circles to assist with positive Indigenous identity development and self-care;
  • Case management for children and youth and referrals to other needed services offered at other NCFST locations or by other organizations;
  • Family support programs including family therapy, family violence and addiction services, parenting skills-building programs, and life skills building;
  • A new initiative for youth in need of preventative services for issues related to sex trafficking;
  • Maternal mental health counselling, intensive pre- and post-natal case management and housing services, doula services, infant mental health education and support and a new initiative to provide care being developed by an Indigenous midwife.

Chi Miigwetch to Knowledge Keeper, Alita Sauve who opened today’s event with prayer, Executive Director, Jeffrey Schiffer for the introduction; Manager of Clinical Services, Charlene Avalos, and Manager of Pre/Post Natal, Cathy Punnett for speaking about what integrated services are offered at this new centre. Chi Miigwetch to community members for sharing their inspiring stories and the NCFST hand drummers for grounding our new center in song.

Finally we would also like to thank The Honourable Marc Miller, MPP for Toronto Centre, Suze Morrison and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Indigenous Services, Pam Damoff – for your kind words, support, and for attending the opening of the centre.

If you were unable to attend the event you can view the Virtual Grand Opening here.

September 2020

CHI MIIGWETCH: COMMUNITY GIVEAWAY DAY!

SATURDAY SEPTEMBER 26, 12PM TO 3PM

While we may not be able to drum and dance together this year, we can still feast!  Visit us at 30 College, SCFLC, the NYRC, or the Malvern Hub to pick up an NDN Taco Take Away kit, and awesome swag like orange masks (just in time for Orange Shirt Day), white buffalo sage, and cold & flu tea.

12pm FACEBOOK LIVE – our virtual Grand Entry!  Tune in to listen to Big Train open the day with an honor song, and a Community Message from Dr. Jeffrey Schiffer

For details about what’s happening at each site (or to volunteer!) please connect with:

30 College:  Kayla Vesterfelt [email protected]

NYRC:  Alexandra McMinniman [email protected]

SCFLC:  Andrea Hayward  [email protected]

Malvern:  Shannon Wooler  [email protected]

Thank you to all.  Please share widely with staff, community, families and friends.  These events are open to everyone.

Chi Miigwetch,
The Culture Team

NCFST Mental Health Survey

NCFST has been operating as a family support agency in Toronto for over 30 years. With recent events in mind, we would like to know more about the community’s experience with the Toronto Police. This survey is only the first step in a multi-step planned community consultation process and will help us shape the rest of our strategy to obtain even more feedback from you.

First, please help us understand what is happening for you in the communities we serve. Please take our brief survey, it should take no more than 3 minutes:

Take Survey Here

July 2020

MLSE Foundation Community Action Grant

Native Child and Family Services of Toronto (NCFST) is extremely grateful to be a recipient of a 2020 Community Action Grant from MLSE Foundation. Launched in December 2009, MLSE Foundation has a vision of changing lives through the spirit and power of sport. Through their generous support, NCFST will be providing Aboriginal youth aged 16-29 with barrier-free access to a culturally-safe physical literacy program that combines sports, peer engagement, mental health workshops, elder supports and cultural teachings.

To learn more about MLSE Foundation and their exceptional community impact, please visit https://www.mlsefoundation.org/.

2019-2020 Annual Report

Native Child and Family Services of Toronto is pleased to release our 2019-2020 Annual Report. We would like to express our deep gratitude to our partners, funders, and community members for supporting us through another year of transition, growth, and development. Thanks to their valuable participation, we have continued to increase our resources available for Holistic Services. This increased funding in Holistic Services has enabled us to launch Ontario’s first urban healing lodge for Aboriginal women and their children, to open a new Healing and Prevention Centre, and to complete the design and begin construction of two new multi-service Aboriginal Child and Family Centres.

In addition to our Annual Report, we have also released our Audited Financial Statements for 2019-2020.

This year’s Annual Report and Financial Statements, as well as previous Annual Reports and Financial Statements, are also available on our Policies and Publications page.

June 2020

National Indigenous Peoples Day

June is National Indigenous History Month. This is a time to reflect upon and learn the history, sacrifices, cultures, contributions, and strength of First Nations, Inuit and Métis people. In addition, June 21 is National Indigenous Peoples Day, which is a time for gatherings and celebration. As we all know, this year things will be different across Canada which will involve celebrating in our own unique way. Large gatherings may not be possible, but celebration of our culture can and must continue in ways that are close to our heart and loved ones. It is important that we celebrate this day because Canadian history has not always celebrated and respected Indigenous peoples, our culture and our ceremonial practices, as well as who we are as Indigenous people. The efforts of reconciliation look promising, but we are still in the early days.

Reconciliation was top of mind when Dr. Jeffrey Schiffer, our Executive Director, had the privilege of interviewing Mayor John Tory via Zoom, where they discussed reconciliation and Indigenous innovation in the context of COVID-19 response and recovery in the City of Toronto. We were privileged to learn more about Mayor Tory’s personal journey of reconciliation, commitment to Indigenous self-determination and sustainability of Indigenous innovation. Native Child and Family Services of Toronto is deeply grateful to Mayor Tory for taking the time to speak with us.

Watch the full interview below:

April 2020

A message to COVID-19 essential service professionals in Toronto

Native Child and Family Services of Toronto (NCFST) is a multi-service urban Aboriginal agency providing child safety and well-being, holistic, and culture-based programs and services for over 7,000 Aboriginal children and families across the Greater Toronto Area. We remain committed wherever possible to keep families together.

Our Concern

We are concerned about an increased risk of child abuse and neglect with families being increasingly isolated amid the COVID-19 pandemic. This crisis has created a challenging environment for families. With the closures of schools, daycares, and other services, children are increasingly vulnerable to family stress. Aboriginal families already have increased risk factors, when compared to non-Aboriginal households, as it relates to poverty, addictions, mental health, and family violence. Without the appropriate supports during this pandemic Aboriginal children are at greater risk.

The number of calls being reported by community concerning child safety & well-being has plummeted

Kids are simply not being seen during this pandemic unless families were already engaged in service. The majority of our calls historically come from schools, daycare centers, and other professionals. While we have seen a dramatic decrease in new cases being reported we have experienced an increase in demands from existing families. For many of these families, there is an increase in challenges to access food and basic necessities; there is also increased anxiety and stress. We know more than ever there is domestic violence and child abuse/neglect occurring in the community. In this time of crisis, we all need to look out for vulnerable children and families to work together to keep kids safe.

We are an Essential Service and Still Open to Serve 24 Hours, 7 Days a Week

We want the community to know we are open – we are first-responders. If anyone is worried about a child, please call. We are still here and you can remain anonymous. The duty to report obligation for professionals remains and is even more vital during times like this. The goal is to work with families early before problems become acute.

Contact Us

During a time of increased anxiety, vulnerable children, youth and families need support and care more than ever. Should you have concerns for the safety or well-being of a child, or if you are a caregiver who requires support to keep your child safe, please call us at (416) 969-8510. We are also updating our website regularly with more holistic and cultural-based service offerings.

A Message to Aboriginal Families of Toronto

It feels like Mother Earth just sent us all to our rooms……the Ontario government has ordered all non-essential businesses to shut down and the City of Toronto declared a state of emergency and instituted an emergency order regulating physical distancing. We find ourselves in unique and challenging times. More than ever we require the wisdom of our teachings and the strength of community. We have all been humbled by the circumstances in which we find ourselves – we are now a community at a distance. During this period of social distancing, we must be vigilant to stay connected with one another and support those who are most vulnerable just as we have always done in community since time immemorial.

The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted our lives and when it is done we will have collectively experienced loss and hardship. We can navigate this crisis together as a community by keeping the circle strong. Native Child and Family Services of Toronto (NCFST) remains unwavering in our commitment to serving the community during this crisis and as such we have been classified as an essential service by the Province of Ontario.

We know that this is an extremely difficult time for community members. This crisis has created a challenging environment for many families. With the closures of schools, daycares, and other services, children are increasingly vulnerable to family stress. We want to reassure you that we remain open and can provide you with the support you and your family need. We offer a single point of access to an integrated network of programs and services designed to address the multiple and complex issues facing many Aboriginal families in Toronto. As a provider of essential services, NCFST is here to help.

If you and your family are struggling, please don’t wait to reach out for support. During a time of increased anxiety, children, youth and families need support and care more than ever. Additionally, should you have concerns for the safety or well-being of a child, or if you are a caregiver who requires support to keep your child safe, please call us at (416) 969-8510. We are also updating our website (www.nativechild.org) regularly with all our holistic and cultural-based service offerings. In this time of crisis we all need to look out for vulnerable children and families to work together to keep kids safe and community healthy. Please continue to self-isolate, check in on each other and have a good weekend.

Chi Miigwech
The NCFST staff, board and executive team
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