Special Considerations when Working with Aboriginal Children and Families
There are several delegated First Nations Agencies in British Columbia responding to the needs of First Nations and Aboriginal children. These agencies operate at different levels of delegation providing services along a spectrum from Voluntary Family Services to Guardianship, to full Child Protection Services. There are 9 agencies in the province that are delegated to provide full Child Protection Services. Nenan is in the process of completing the readiness requirements necessary to sign a delegation enabling agreement with the government in order to provide delegated child welfare services to Aboriginal children in the Northeast, however at present, Nenan is not delegated.
Nenan is mandated by the member Treaty 8 Nations, as well as the Metis and urban Aboriginal communities in the Northeast to develop a new model of child welfare, and in order to do so, has utilized an unprecedented community engagement process to gather information about the communities’ cultural traditions, strengths, teachings, as well as issues, to inform the development of the service delivery model (info paraphrased from http://www.nenan.org).
Nenan offers unique services to Aboriginal families in the Northeast, in the form of Support and Advocacy within this pre-delegation context. The Support and Advocacy Program grew from the community engagements, where families were coming up to Nenan staff requesting support services and advocacy when dealing with the provincial child welfare system. In order to facilitate meaningful and collaborative practice between Nenan social workers, and MCFD social workers, Nenan and MCFD are in the final phases of completing and signing off on a Collaboration Agreement that will outline specifically the role that Nenan will play with a family with a family going through a child protection intervention with MCFD.