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Strengthening communities through tradition and culture Presented by: Chief Maureen J. Chapman, Chair of the Aboriginal Children and Families Chiefs’ Coalition.

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Presentation on theme: "Strengthening communities through tradition and culture Presented by: Chief Maureen J. Chapman, Chair of the Aboriginal Children and Families Chiefs’ Coalition."— Presentation transcript:

1 Strengthening communities through tradition and culture Presented by: Chief Maureen J. Chapman, Chair of the Aboriginal Children and Families Chiefs’ Coalition (ACFCC) and the ACFCC Work Team NICWA Conference – April 12, 2010, Portland, Oregon Working for Families in BC’s Fraser Region

2 Focusing on Priorities Our children transcend everything else

3 History  BC government responsible for many social services including Health, Child and Family Services, Education, etc.  2002 – First attempt to transfer service oversight to Aboriginal communities begins. Process discontinued in April 2009.

4 History, cont’d.  Fall 2008 – Fraser Region Chiefs representing 34 First Nations sign a Memorandum of Understanding, agreeing to support each others’ efforts without political interference.  April 2009 – Aboriginal Children and Families Chiefs’ Coalition formed as a Society under the British Columbia Societies Act.  ACFCC represents 14 Fraser Region First Nations communities in the southwest region of British Columbia from the Canada/US border and north to the Fraser Canyon.

5 Timeline 2002 20082007 2009 Aboriginal leaders agree to Tsawwassen Accord MoU signed with province Province fails to introduce legislation creating permanent Authorities Interim Authority declared in Fraser Region Authority process ended, ACFCC formed

6 Who We Are The Aboriginal Children and Families Chiefs’ Coalition has 13 member First Nations and two others that we have established relationships with. They are: Aitchelitz First NationChief Jimmy George40 Boothroyd First NationChief Phil Campbell266 Boston Bar First NationChief Dolores O’Donaghey244 Leq’a:mel First NationChief Alice Thompson347 Matsqui First NationChief Alice McKay239 Popkum First NationChief James Murphy8 Shxwa:y First NationChief Murray Sam343 Skawahlook First NationChief Maureen Chapman77 Skowkale First NationChief Willy Hall232 Spuzzum First NationChief Melvin Bobb210 Squiala First NationChief Sam Jimmie III154 Tzeachten First NationChief Joe Hall414 Yakweakwioose First NationChief Frank Malloway63 We also work closely with Katzie First Nation and Tsawwassen First Nation

7 Doing it Differently  The ACFCC works only with communities that wish to be involved. It also supports the work of other Aboriginal communities or groups of communities working on their own children and families initiatives.  The ACFCC is based on the principles of “ground up” decision-making with Chiefs shaping policies based on the expressed needs of community members.

8 Doing it Differently, cont.  The ACFCC emphasizes the inclusion and consultation of youth as part of our direct mandate, not merely as a side component. Our youth linkage workers consult with youth in each community – either in small groups or, if requested, individually. Direct program proposals are based on the needs identified by youth.  The ACFCC Will not directly deliver services. It will help develop policies that service agencies will follow when working with members of its communities.  The ACFCC operates with a very small, integrated work team. Each member supports others and uses their individual skills to strengthen the whole.

9 Our Partners, Our Focus First Nation Child and Family Wellness Council Provincial Ministries Communities, Families, Children and Youth ACFCC Chiefs table Service Agencies

10 Working With Our Partners  The First Nations Child and Family Wellness Council – Formed in 2008, it works specifically with the provincial government and government agencies on family and children’s issues. ACFCC Chair Chief Maureen Chapman is one of two Fraser Region representatives.  Service Agencies – the ACFCC is working directly with Xyolhemeylh Child and Family Services, a delegated agency, to enhance the way services are provided to its member communities.  The Provincial Government – ACFCC Chiefs have met directly with the Honourable Mary Polak, Minister of Children and Family Development on service issues and to transition program oversight. It is also working with ministries responsible for education, health and housing.

11 Our First Year  Worked with each individual member community to identify strengths and gaps  Prepared an analysis of strengths and gaps and formulated proposals to address them  Engaged government bodies and service agencies to assist in a holistic approach to future planning  Recognized the need for and increased the direct influence youth and young adults have in this process. Since its formation in April 2009, the ACFCC has:

12 Building to the Future  The ACFCC has identified next steps based on discussions with communities. These include:  The formation of Care Committees and a National Care Committee. Care Committees work with families in crisis and social workers to prevent child removals and/or to keep children in their home communities. A national committee would assist in instances where family connections require outside parties.  Pilot projects including Vision Question camps for youth to participate in cultural activities including living off the land, canoeing, carving, drumming and dancing.  Working with provincial ministries to begin the transfer of oversight from government bodies to First Nations.  Ratifying protocol agreements to set standards for social workers entering ACFCC communities.

13 Challenges  Funding – First Nations services in BC have long been underfunded. The global recession has also had an impact.  Government resistance – while BC’s government has said it wants to relinquish control over First Nations services, its actions have shown a reluctance to enter trust-based relationships.  Knowledge gaps – Social workers receive limited, if any, exposure to First Nations culture while training. The ACFCC is working to bring in reality-based training.  Small population bases – Unlike many US and Canadian First Nations/Tribes, British Columbia has more than 200 distinct First Nation communities. Many are very small – with only a few dozen members – but must still be given equal consideration in planning and programming.

14 The Outcome The ACFCC’s long term goal is to see community-based services offered in an atmosphere of respect, consultation and a family-first focus. Service areas could include:  Family Development  Early Childhood Development  Supported Child Development  Youth Justice  Child and Youth Mental Health  Child Protection, including intake and investigation, foster parenting and guardianship  Adoption  Children and Youth with Special Needs First Nations Children and Youth should grow up in their home communities with pride, knowledge and culture.

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