YTC is currently coordinating a five year pilot with Alexander, Sunchild and the Alexis Nakota Sioux Nation
The Child and Family Services (CFS) Division of YTC is currently coordinating a five year pilot with Alexander, Sunchild and the Alexis Nakota Sioux Nation. The pilot involves conducting needs assessments in each community, identifying strengths and areas/issues that each Nation feels they need more support in addressing. The overall goal of the project as we begin to address these issues is to reduce the number of member children entering the care of the Director (Alberta Children's Services). The most exciting part of this project is that the Nations will decide what issues are priorities - not the government, or other institutions or community stakeholders. As of August 2020, we are in the second year of the pilot and need to refocus our work and clarify priorities with each Nation and their respective Chiefs and Councils due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Conducting any work came to a halt when the pandemic was declared.
The CFS Pilot Project, Restoring Balance to our Nations: Bringing our Children Home has a number of deliverables that are sequential in nature. When the project started we were sure to ground ourselves in the ceremony, so that we would know that whatever work we were involved in, would be done in a good way.
We believe in the principle that each Nation is unique in its own way so the approaches we develop need to reflect that diversity. To ensure we had a good understanding of what exists in each Nation, a thorough environmental scan was conducted of all existing programs and services to ensure we were not "stepping on anyone's toes". These scans are living documents and can be added to or deleted as time passes.
A literature review was also completed outlining what the wise practice is on various subjects. Wise practices take the place of best practices - because when we say best practice it implies someone is better than someone else because of their knowledge. In the Indigenous worldview, no one is better than anyone else, in the circle, we are all equal, we are all the same. The review is also a living document and will be added as we receive new knowledge.
The next step is for our program to gather feedback from on-reserve members about their levels of satisfaction with the current services being provided on-reserve. This also allows for an opportunity for people to share the things that matter to them most and what they need for wellness to thrive in the Nation. This is where we are at in the project. We have some feedback already gathered but will be looking for more community input.
Future work will focus on strengthening programs already existing in the Nation and piloting others that are not but are in demand. Creating wellness in our Nations is the first step towards having healthy homes for children to remain in when a child becomes a risk or has the potential to be at risk.
Keep trying, stay healthy and look out for your neighbours. We are all in this together. If you would like to share your ideas please contact us.