Child & Family Services Band Rep. & Prevention Services Unit
What does the Band Rep. and Prevention Services Unit do?
Caldwell First Nation’s Band Representative & Prevention (Family Well-Being) Services Unit is responsible for representing Caldwell First Nation's interests in child welfare court proceedings. As such we make decisions and carry out our duties with the child’s best interest at the fore. This includes ensuring that children who are registered citizens or are in the care of registered citizens of Caldwell First Nation, who are involved with a Child And Family Protection Agency or Mnaasged, have access to their culture and community.
Child & Family Revitalization Protocol
(Approved October 1, 2019)
Caldwell First Nation (CFN) works with both the Child and Family Protection Services Agencies and Mnaasged Child & Family Services to provide community-based child and family services to registered CFN citizens and minor children in their care. By incorporating both protection services and prevention programs, CFN places utmost importance on family unity and cultural continuity. CFN makes every effort to ensure that child and family services provided to CFN citizens respect culture, parents, family and the community; and that plans of service are developed by the Nation with the family, based on needs, cultural values and traditions. To ensure the rights of citizens are upheld in matters respecting child welfare, CFN has developed this protocol which defines the roles, responsibilities and operating procedures for all those involved.
Shared Concern of Child - The protection of the best interest, safety and wellbeing of children of CFN is a shared concern.
CFN jurisdiction - CFN has the legal, cultural and political authority over our citizens, and any child and family service provider providing services to our citizens must respect the authority of our Nation and the integrity of our families.
Family led - CFN citizens have the right to choose to work with either a Child And Family Protection Agency or Mnaasged Child & Family Services for protection services. Families are encouraged to lead the development and implementation of service plans.
Community-based – CFN makes every effort to keep, return and connect CFN children to the community.
Best Interest of the Child/Youth
Every Anishinaabe Child/Youth has an inherent right to:
Adequate food, shelter, clothing and health care;
Protection and supervision to ensure their safety and health;
Nurturing, appropriate cultural teachings and education; and
Repatriation to the Nation.
Partnership with Service Providers
CFN works with both the Child And Family Protection Agency and Mnaasged. CFN citizens have the choice of working with either organization for protection services. Child And Family Protection Agency provides both prevention and protection services, and Mnaasged provides protection services only.
Intake and Referrals
When a Child And Family Protection Agency receives information that a CFN member child, youth or family composed of at least one CFN member parent are in need assistance, the following steps are taken:
Child And Family Protection Agency sends the referral and required response time to CFN’s Band Representative.
The Band Representative consults with the family about whether they would like to work with a Child And Family Protection Agency or Mnaasged Child & Family Services.
The family’s preferred service provider (Child And Family Protection Agency or Mnaasged) consults with CFN’s Band Representative about any services needed, and develops a plan for first meeting with the family.
CFN’s Band Representative attends the majority of the intakes with Child And Family Protection Agency unless they are unable to due to geographic or other barriers (e.g. cross-border issues, etc.)
When a Child And Family Protection Agency or Mnaasged investigates a referral that a child, youth or family need assistance, the following steps are taken:
The family’s preferred service provider (Child And Family Protection Agency or Mnaasged) works with the family to encourage voluntary acceptance and benefit from the services of both the Band Representative and the Community Prevention Worker.
The family’s preferred service provider (Child And Family Protection Agency or Mnaasged) invites representatives of these services and supportive extended family to be involved in the development of a safety plan for the family, where it is determined one is needed.
Ongoing Service Stage & Child and Family Protection Services Agency Closure
CFN child(ren) and youth will not be deprived of their family and connection to their community if less restrictive measures are appropriate. When an investigation leads to a family being referred to services, the Child Protection Worker(s), the Nation’s Band Representative and the Community Prevention Worker will support the family in:
Clearly identifying the safety risks and factors that might result in the child(ren) or youth being placed outside of their home.
Developing a plan of service that will assist the family in addressing the safety and risk issues.
Ensuring that, if at all possible, the child(ren) or youth is kept with their family and community.
In instances where a child(ren) or youth are placed in Customary Care, the following steps will be taken:
Protection Service will be provided to families until a decision has been made about family reunification.
When it is determined that a child(ren) or youth will remain in the Customary Care placement on a long-term or permanent basis, the protection services file in respect of the parents may be closed.
In instances where a child(ren) or youth cannot be safely placed within their family and community, the following steps will be taken:
An emergency meeting will be held to discuss the placement with preferred service provider’s Child Protection Workers, the Nation’s Band Representative, Community Prevention Worker(s) that might be involved, the family and extended family of the child(ren), and where possible and appropriate, a Senior or Elder from the Nation.
These parties will reconvene regularly to review and adjust the service plan as needed or end services to reflect the progress of the family.
Need for Alternative Safe Care
CFN will ensure that the child and family service providers with which it works (Child And Family Protection Agency and Mnaasged) make every effort to:
Consider the cultural and placement needs of CFN children who are in care; and
Repatriate CFN child(ren) and youth in care where possible to the community or otherwise enable them to develop a meaningful connection to the Nation.
Title Supports for 16- and 17-year-old youth in Need of Protection
The Children, Youth and Family Services Act (CYFSA) extends the provision of protection services and supports to youth ages 16 and 17, who are in need of an out-of-home placement and have no other safe options with family or friends. The new Voluntary Youth Services Agreement (VYSA) provides for youth to enter into an agreement with a Child And Family Protection Agency for services and supports, including developing a plan and securing an appropriate living arrangement. A youth who enters a VYSA is not in the care of the Society.
CFN provides for Customary Care agreements, which place a child(ren) or youth in the care of the First Nation. Chief and Council (and not a Child And Family Protection Agency) have decision making authority over children in Customary Care, but devolve this authority to the caregiving family. The child’s extended family and the community as a whole participate in planning for the child’s care. The traditional timelines for care set out in the legislation do not apply, and the relationship between the child and the parent will not be severed as long as it remains safe for the child.
Adoption as an Option for CFN in Care
CFN works with Child And Family Protection Agency and Mnaasged to achieve permanency for the Nation’s children by only considering adoption in those situations where a child can be matched to a family that shares their culture, language and traditions. The Child And Family Protection Agency will support youth who have been previously adopted and are reconnecting with the Nation.
Dispute Resolution Processes
CFN’s dispute resolution process commits all parties to identifying conflicts early and addressing the conflict in the spirit of respect, confidence, and in a manner that will lead to mutually satisfactory solutions. This includes attempting to first resolve the conflict among supervisors, then senior leadership (for CFN the Director of Operations) and then an Indigenous facilitator, if needed. A formal court process will only be considered as a last resort.
CFN, Child And Family Protection Agency and Mnaasged are all bound by Privacy Law not to share the information they collect about Child and Family Protection Services Agency except:
Where necessary as a part of their employment duties or to uphold this protocol;
With written consent from all parties to which the record relates;
Where required by law, including on the order of or where giving evidence in court;
Where needed to protect or provide care, counselling or education for a CFN child/youth;
Where the benefits of disclosure would outweigh any invasion of privacy that could result.