Decolonizing Child Welfare Webinar Learning Series

Join us on our journey as we open a new chapter in our ongoing work and vision of transforming child welfare in the city of Toronto.

In October, we launched a bi-monthly Child Welfare Learning Series for community and partners devoted to explaining and examining the Child and Family Well-being 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 a 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 well-being services, including standards, service eligibility criteria, assessment tools, and current practices. The purpose of this critical examination will be to identify priorities for a 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.

Each webinar in this learning series will be recorded and posted below for viewing.

Webinar #6 of our Decolonizing Child Welfare Learning Series focused on the services we offer when vulnerable children must be removed from unsafe circumstances and placed in alternative care. In this webinar, we address some of the most crucial questions arising from the experience of Indigenous children and families with colonial child welfare systems.

  • How do we meet the holistic needs of children and youth placed in care? What are the dimensions that guide us?
  • How do we work alongside the Alternative caregivers to guide them, in helping our children and youth who are placed in their homes?
  • How do we work to keep children connected with culture, family and community while they are in care?
  • How do we work to keep children to family, extended family and community and culture?

We were joined by our host Terri Jaffe, and the following panelists:

  • Rosary Spence, Cultural Resource Worker
  • Jeffrey Schiffer, Executive Director
  • Courtney Dorion, Children’s Services Supervisor
  • Jama Maxie, Community Member
  • Mark Atanasoff, Director of Quality Assurance & Decolonization

Click to access the presentation file

Below is the recorded webinar available for viewing.

Webinar #5 of our Decolonizing Child Welfare Learning Series focuses on Holistic Healing, Prevention and Early Intervention programs.

NCFST offers a wide array of programs available to children, youth, individuals and families open to all self-identifying community members, whether or not a child welfare file is currently open. Holistic programs seek to empower families to access resources and supports that can avert crises that may necessitate child welfare, and to support Youth in strengthening resilience and personal growth in contemporary cultural contexts.

In this webinar, we describe how our culturally grounded holistic healing and early intervention services work to provide the necessary resources and supports to families to prevent the need for Child and Family Wellbeing (child welfare) involvement or help families succeed so that time involved in child welfare services is minimized. We discuss how our services work together and work with external Indigenous and mainstream services to strengthen parents and children at risk of involvement in child welfare services or who are already working with child welfare services as part of their healing journey.

Join our host Terri Jaffe, and the following panelists:

  • Pat Green, Knowledge Carrier;
  • Daniella Robinson, Supervisor of Bekaadendang Program
  • Jennifer Gray, Supervisor of Early Years
  • Jessica Wilson, Manager of Early Years & Community Programs
  • Julianna Meawasige, Supervisor of Aboriginal Child and Family Centre
  • Siobhan McCarthy, Director of Holistic Services
  • Jeffrey Schiffer, Executive Director;
  • Mark Atanasoff, Director of Quality Assurance & Decolonization

Below is the recorded webinar available for viewing.

Webinar #4 of our Decolonizing Child Welfare Learning Series focuses on our Family Finding program. At NCFST we know that the removal of children can leave a lasting legacy of trauma and the longer a child remains in care, the greater the risk of negative life outcomes. The best way to reduce harm, avoid further trauma and keep children connected to their culture and community is to keep children in the embrace of extended family.

The Family Finding model offers methods and strategies to locate and engage extended family, as well as First Nation, Metis and Inuit communities for children/youth currently living in out-of-care placements. The process identifies relatives and other supportive adults in planning for the permanency of the child and a major component of the program is to facilitate the child’s connection to their community and culture in order to promote a strong sense of cultural identity. Please join us as we share what steps we take to find extended family and community to step in to create a circle of care to support children, youth and families.

Join our host Terri Jaffe, and the following panelists:

  • Vivian Roy, Knowledge Keeper;
  • Mary-Ann Rice, Supervisor of Family Finding
  • Tammi Ferguson, Kinship Support Worker
  • Jeffrey Schiffer, Executive Director;
  • Mark Atanasoff, Director of Quality Assurance & Decolonization.

Click to access the presentation file

Below is the recorded webinar available for viewing.

Webinar #3 focuses on the ongoing services we provide when protection concerns have been verified and when a family’s file remains open to our Child and Family Wellbeing teams.

  1. Why do cases stay open for longer-term services?
  2. How do we make decisions about whether a family’s file should remain open?
  3. Why do some cases go to court? How is the decision to go to court made?

Please join us to hear how we seek to empower families to reach their goals, how we connect families and children to external and internal supports, healing services and how we decide when a child and family wellbeing case is ready to be closed

Join our host Terri Jaffe, and the following panelists:

  • Vivian Roy, Knowledge Keeper;
  • Jamie Toguri, Supervisor, Child and Family Wellbeing;
  • Miguel Torres, Child and Family Wellbeing;
  • Jeffrey Schiffer, Executive Director;
  • Mark Atanasoff, Director of Quality Assurance & Decolonization.

Click to access the presentation file

Below is the recorded webinar available for viewing.

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. Watch the discussion and hear how we ensure that families stay together and are safely supported with culture and community.

Join our host Terri Jaffe, and the following panelists:

  • Vivian Roy, Knowledge Keeper;
  • Michele Scott, Supervisor, Child and Family Wellbeing;
  • Timbrell Meehan, Intake Screener, Child and Family Wellbeing;
  • Jeffrey Schiffer, Executive Director;
  • Mark Atanasoff, Director of Quality Assurance & Decolonization.

In this first Learning Series 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.

Join our host Terri Jaffe, and the following panelists:

  • Vivian Roy, Knowledge Keeper;
  • Kenn Richard, Founder and Director of Special Projects;
  • Jeffrey Schiffer, Executive Director;
  • Mark Atanasoff, Director of Quality Assurance and Decolonization.

On Canada’s first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, we hosted a webinar event and made an announcement on our new commitment and dedication to continue the journey to Decolonize Indigenous Child Welfare services in the city of Toronto.

Read the full announcement here.

Our webinar welcomed a panel of community leaders who spoke about the challenges and opportunities for transforming child welfare services following the first five Calls to Action of Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission.  What might Indigenous child welfare services look like five years from now?

Join host Bob Goulais, and the following 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