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October 2022

Indigenous Child Welfare Reform Annual Report to Community

On Canada’s first NDTR, Native Child and Family Services of Toronto (NCFST) announced its commitment and dedication to decolonize Indigenous child welfare services in the city of Toronto. Over this past year, NCFST went through a critical examination of our child and family wellbeing services, including standards, service eligibility criteria, assessment tools, and current practices. This report addresses priorities for redesigning child welfare with the intent to help reduce the number of Indigenous children in care.

Many thanks to community who participated and help us every day in our continuous efforts to heal and find a better way forward.

Annual Report to Community

As part of our annual report back to community for 2022, our Quality Assurance and Decolonization team has prepared a separate report on the activities, reform and discussion ideas provided by both the Community Advisory Circle and various Staff consultation processes, including the Staff Advisory Group.

Transformation in Action at NCTST Report

September 2022

National Day for Truth and Reconciliation: Calls to Action

September 30th is Canada’s National Day for Truth and Reconciliation (NDTR). On this day, we honour the children who never returned home from Canada’s residential schools along with the Survivors, as well as their families and communities. Remembering the painful and tragic history and acknowledging the ongoing impacts of residentials schools is a vital component of the reconciliation process with Indigenous peoples.

On Canada’s first NDTR, Native Child and Family Services of Toronto (NCFST) announced new commitments dedicated to continuing our journey to decolonize Indigenous child welfare services in the city of Toronto. Over the past year, NCFST went through a critical examination of our child and family well-being services, including standards, service eligibility criteria, assessment tools, and current practices.

NCFST invites you to join us on Friday, September 30th at 10 AM – 12 PM where we will provide a report back to community addressing the priorities for redesigning child welfare to help reduce the number of Indigenous children in care. During this virtual event we will have special guests join in the conversation around the importance of this report and we will share some exciting new announcements.

To register for this event, please click HERE!

August 2022

Decolonizing Child Welfare Webinar Learning Series #6 – Recording

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 addressed 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.

Decolonizing Child Welfare Webinar Learning Series #6 – August 23, 2022

Webinar #6 of our Decolonizing Child Welfare Learning Series focuses 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?

Please join us to explore the programs, resources we use, and the challenges we face as we work to help children to heal and stay connected to family, community and culture.

REGISTER HERE!

June 2022

Decolonizing Child Welfare Webinar Learning Series #5 – Recording

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.

May 2022

Decolonizing Child Welfare Webinar Learning Series #5 – June 28, 2022

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. Please join us to learn how our services can work together and can 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.

REGISTER HERE!

April 2022

Decolonizing Child Welfare Webinar Learning Series #4 – Recording

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.

November 2021

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]

October 2021

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.

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

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