Terry Cross et Cindy Blackstock
This research is a similar study to Gold’s (1998) study on the promotion of physical and mental health of mainstream female social workers in child welfare. Six First Nations women Child and Family Service (CFS) Social Workers (FNWCFSSW’s) who work in First Nations agencies gathered with me to share individual and collective stories about our CFS experiences. First Nations women and I discussed the impacts of our work on our holistic health, how we coped with the work, and strategies to deal with the issues that we face. This study outlines the research process that we engaged in, and, essentially weaves together the challenges, resilience, innovations, and unique experiences of First Nations women CFS Social Workers in a First Nations setting under a delegated authority model. As a result of these discussions five major themes were identified. The five themes that emerged from this study include the stress of dual accountability, the stresses of unrealistic expectations and multiple roles, the emotional costs and benefits of the intensity of the relationships, the fact that meaningful work gives strength and how the women coped and maintained their holistic health. This study reveals the important need for future participatory research to be conducted with FNWCFSSW and First Nations peoples. Ultimately, this paper speaks to the importance of changing the nature of along-term colonial relationship between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal peoples within the child welfare system and in dominant mainstream research processes.
Strengthening the Spirit: Adapting Multisystemic Therapy (MST) for Native American Youth and Communities
Roxanna E. Torres
Multisystemic Therapy [MSR] is an evidence based treatment for youth with severe psychosocial and behavioral problems. Discussed are the personal experiences of a Native American student in social work who is engaged in pursuing information on MST for Native youth and communities. Although there is still promise of its efficacy, there are questions on MST’s effectiveness, replicability, and ease of implementation as a program. There is little quantitative and qualitative information to date to support its generalizability across race - no outcome results for Native participants have been disseminated. With goals of strengthening Native families and communities, discussion includes how MST can be adapted for use and programs concerns that should be considered.
Can University/Community Collaboration Create Spaces for Aboriginal Reconciliation? Case Study of the Healing of the Seven Generations and Four Directions Community Projects and Wilfrid Laurier University
Ginette Lafrenière, Papa Lamine Diallo, Donna Dubie et Lou Henry
In this article, the authors attempt to illustrate how two Aboriginal community-based projects were conceptualized and developed through the collaborative efforts of four individuals who believed in the merits of a project aimed at survivors and intergenerational survivors of the residential school system as well as Aboriginal people in trouble with the law. Drawing upon a small body of literature on university/community collaboration, the authors illustrate the importance of meaningful collaboration between universities and communities in order to enhance a mutually beneficial relationship conducive to community-engaged scholarship. Through an examination of the case study of the Healing of The Seven Generations Project and the Four Directions Aboriginal Restorative Justice Project, the authors hope to illustrate to fellow Aboriginal colleagues in Canada the merits, strengths and challenges of university/ community collaboration. Ultimately, what the authors hope to share through this article is an example of how university/community collaboration can create spaces whereby Aboriginal people have become agents of their own healing.
Joe Pintarics et Karen Sveinunggaard
Community justice initiatives are now common in Canada, both for young offenders and in adult criminal cases; there are only a few examples of alternative methods for dealing with justice issues in the area of mandated child welfare services. The initiative outlined in this paper represents one of the most comprehensive family justice initiatives in First Nations Child and Family Services in Canada.
Meenoostahtan Minisiwin: First Nations Family Justice offers a new way of addressing conflict in child and family matters, outside of the regular Child and Family Services (CFS) and court systems. It incorporates the traditional peacemaking role that has existed for centuries in Northern Manitoba Cree communities, alongside contemporary family mediation. The program brings together family, extended family, community members, Elders, social workers and community service providers in the resolution of child protection concerns through the use of properly trained Okweskimowewak (family mediators). The Okweskimowewak’s role involves assisting participants to articulate their personal ‘truth’ (dabwe) and to hear and respect the dabwe of others; to create a safe and nurturing context by addressing inherent power imbalances; to explore the root causes of family conflict in order to address the long term best interests of children; and to facilitate innovative and collaborative planning outcomes for families.
The program was developed by the Awasis Agency of Northern Manitoba, a mandated First Nations Child and Family Services agency, although it receives its services mandate from the Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak (MKO) Exectuive. It is jointly funded by the Aboriginal Justice Strategy of Justice Canada and the Manitoba Department of Family Services and Housing. Overall direction for the program is provided by the First Nations Family Justice Committee, a sub-committee of the MKO Exectuive Director of Awasis Agency, and representative chiefs of the MKO region. The program currently employs a Program Coordinator, two full time regional Okweskimowewak, two full time community-based Okweskimowewak and an administrative assistant.
Since its inception in 1999, the program has received referrals involving more than seven hundred families, including well over 1900 children and 1500 volunteer participants. Services have been provided in seventeen First Nation communities in Northern Manitoba as well as in Thompson, Winnipeg, The Pas, and Gillam.
The Meenoostahtan Minisiwin program responds to all aspects of mandated child welfare, as well as other situations where the best interests of children are in jeopardy. These have included mediating care placement arrangements; child-parent conflicts; family-agency or family-agency-system conflicts; assisting in the development of service plans in neglect and abuse cases; advocating on behalf of families attempting to access services; family violence; larger community-wide conflicts; and working to address systemic problems which impact the lives of First Nations children and families. We believe that by establishing processes which focus on restoring balance and harmony within families and communities, we are working towards an overall increase in the health and wellness of community members.
And you who would understand justice, How shall you, unless you Look upon all deeds In the fullness of light? Only then shall you know that the erect And the fallen are but one man standing in The twilight between the Night of his pigmy-self And the day of his god-self. K. Gibran
Marlyn Bennett et Corbin Shangreaux
This paper evolved from the outcome of a feedback meeting held between the principle researchers of Cycle II of the Canadian Incidence Study of Reported Child Abuse and Neglect (CIS), the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) and a number of representatives of the First Nations Child and Family Service Agencies (FNCFS Agencies) which participated in Cycle II of the CIS (CIS-2003) and numerous Research Assistants tasked with collecting information from the FNCFS Agencies. The authors present a profile of the historical and contemporary experience of Aboriginal children and families who come into contact with the child welfare system and include a discussion on some of the findings from two analyses that have been conducted on the data from the 1998 Canadian Incident Study of Reported Child Abuse and Neglect (CIS-1998). An overview of the challenges as well as the positive aspects of the study from the perspectives of the FNCFS Agencies and the Research Assistances is included along with an examination as to why research may not figure prominently among the service priorities of FNCFS Agencies. The strengths of challenges of participating in CIS-2003 provide rich insight into the perspectives of the Research Assistants and FNCFS Agencies who participated in this national study. The paper concludes with recommendations by the FNCFS Agencies and the Research Assistants on how to improve the data collection process with FNCFS Agencies for future Cycles of the Canadian Incident Study of Reported Child Abuse and Neglect.
Qallunaat Crossing: The Southern-Northern Divide and Promising Practices for Canada's Inuit Young People
Shannon Moore, Wende Tulk et Richard Mitchell
Life for Inuit communities in Canada’s northern territory of Nunavut has been impacted by rapid change over the past fifty years in particular, a pattern that has similarly impacted First Peoples’ communities across the southern portion of the country for centuries. Unfortunately, inadequate resources often leave young people from Nunavut challenged to safely navigate these abrupt changes within their communities and culture. The chronic lack of resources for young people is compounded by the lack of educational opportunities for Inuit adults to enter professional roles in support of the region’s next generation. As a result, non-Inuit (or Qallunaat) professionals from southern Canada are frequently recruited. This paper examines some of the challenges faced by Inuit communities and Qallunaat professionals as they traverse the North/South divide within a cross-cultural educational context. This process is characterized by struggles and joy in finding the balance between meeting young people’s basic social and emotional needs, and professionals who are often illprepared to teach and learn within a cultural context with which they have little familiarity. In response, the authors describe some of the unique attributes of Inuit life and some of the many challenges faced by young people. They also suggest that a “ transdisciplinary” approach be established (Holmes and Gastaldo, 2004) towards educating Qallunaat professionals as an important step in achieving effective practice within northern communities- one which integrates knowledge from Inuit Elders with cross-cultural counseling techniques, multicultural competency development and practice-based wisdom. Specific application of these skills will be explored in this paper to illustrate ways of engaging “multiculturalism” within this context while accounting for the right of Canada’s Inuit young people to have their basic social, emotional and cultural needs recognized during a transformative historical epoch.
Same Country; Same Lands; 78 Countries Away: An exploration of the nature and extent of collaboration between the Voluntary Sector and First Nations Child and Family Services Agencies in British Columbia
As the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child (2003) noted, Aboriginal children face more discrimination and increased risk factors than other Canadian children. Their lived experiences are shaped by the policies of assimilation and colonization that aimed to eliminate Aboriginal cultures through repression of fundamental freedoms, denial of ownership and the operation of residential schools (RCAP, 1996; Milloy, 1999). First Nations child and family service agencies have expressed concern about the lack of resources available to support families in redressing the significant impacts of colonization. The voluntary sector provides a myriad of important social supports to Canadians off reserve and this research project sought to determine how accessible voluntary sector resources were for First Nations children, youth and families resident on reserve in British Columbia. Results of a provincial survey of First Nations child and family service agencies and child, youth and family voluntary sector organizations indicate very limited access to voluntary sector services. Possible rationales for this social exclusion are examined and recommendations for improvement are discussed.
Tous droits réservés © First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada, 2005