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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.

October 2019

A Call for the Inclusion of Urban Aboriginal Service Providers in the Federal Transformation of Aboriginal Child Welfare

In September 2019, Indigenous child and family well-being organizations delivering services in urban spaces across Canada met for the first time to consider the potential impacts of Bill C-92, An Act respecting First Nations, Inuit and Métis children, youth and families. This federal transformation of Aboriginal1 child welfare has been designed and developed without the technical expertise of the agencies currently delivering these services to the majority of Aboriginal children and families in Canada. Mechanisms used to develop Bill C-92’s regulations and inform its ongoing implementation continue to leave out large urban service providers. As a result, this process also ignores the voices of the 25% of Indigenous children not registered for Indian status and who reside in urban spaces; this population has their own unique and legitimate needs and aspirations around cultural identity, belonging, and service.

We collectively call for Indigenous Services Canada, the Assembly of First Nations, the Métis National Council and Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami to provide meaningful opportunities for urban services providers to participate in the ongoing development and implementation of Bill C-92 to ensure that: 1) distinct urban Aboriginal voices inform the process; and 2) Aboriginal children do fall through jurisdictional gaps created by the implementation of the Bill.

Read the full position paper here

Toronto Star – Opinion Editorial, Oct 15, 2019 – Spotlight needed on urban Indigenous child welfare


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