Our team has created this video to help community members understand the Child Protection process.

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 Report from the Child & Family Services Department (August 8, 2012)

Hello everyone!  Director of Child & Family Services Dean Wilson here and my staff and I would like to provide the following information about what work the our department has been doing between April and June:

1. Initially I began a review of all the present services provided through this department.  The review is now complete, and the 37 recommendations to improve services has been passed by Chief & Council.  The review will be posted on the community website for anyone to look at. I will update more on the Review and the Implementation Plan for the 37 recommendations in the future.

2. While the review was being completed we developed some temporary policies to respond to Child Protection reports with MCFD, and Suicide Concerns.  This includes a short, daily meeting to develop responses to emergencies, and new ways to track our intervention & follow up.  The policies were temporary until the review of services was complete and recommendations for improving them could be made.  Between April and June, we successfully responded to 10 attempts of suicide and 32 situations where people were concerned someone may be talking/thinking about suicide.

3. All staff took part in a training on the legalities of Confidentiality and we developed new policies to ensure client information is protected in a legal and ethical manner.

4. We have met with the Minister and Deputy Minister of MCFD and outlined community concerns about Child Welfare Practice, and MCFD has agreed to engage with us to improve the situation:

5. We have renegotiated the Child Welfare Protocol with MCFD.  We will likely have a public signing in the Fall.  A public signing is also a way of holding all of us more accountable to the Protocol.

6. We have established a managers meeting with MCFD to resolve the problems around community issues and MCFD practice.  We have identified and found solutions to some issues, such as babysitters, and are discussing many other issues, such as visitation, community standards, and much more.

7. We have developed a meeting structure that allows us to develop a Band Position for child welfare cases, as well as better engage in planning with families and MCFD.  This has resulted in several removals NOT happening, returns with supervision orders rather than keeping children in foster care away from their families, community and culture.  This work has just begun and will be a long road.

8. We had a presentation on the Touchstones Reconciliation Process to our staff, and those of MCFD and Sacred Wolf.  MCFD is offering to engage in a Reconciliation process to allow the community to voice concerns and mutually seek solutions.

9. Our temporary policies for Child Protection follow up also allowed us to provide supports to various families and come up with interim plans to avoid removals.

10. We have also notified MCFD that this Band will seek to take over its' own Child Welfare by establishing a Delegated Aboriginal Agency!  This is very exciting, but also a long process.  I will provide more information on this later as well.

11. We developed a way to record the stats to finally get an ACCURATE picture of the amount and type of work being done.

12. Between May & June we provided services repeatedly to many community members:

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Age Groups

# of contacts (may be more than one contact/client over 3 month period)

0-6 years

84

7-12 years

361

13-18 years

220

19-59 years

730

60+ years

37

Most services were to Drop in Clients, Counseling services, Supporting families through child protection investigations, court proceedings and meetings with MCFD.

In addition, the Cultural Group, Men's Circle and Youth groups were well attended.

My next report will focus on the 37 Recommendations and the plan to implement all of them.  The biggest revelation that arose was the enormous amount of work that needs to constantly be attended to.  We discovered that just to address the needs of the families with children in MCFD care we would need at least 5 Family Support Workers and a supervisor for them - our contracts with MCFD provide us with a supervisor (Case Manager Eleanor Wilson), and 1.5 Family Support Workers (Maggie Jack and 1/2 of Laura Burns position)!  This highlighted for us the need to develop some ways to do the work more efficiently to better serve community members with what we have, while we advocate for new services.

I need to end this report, but at this point I hope it is becoming obvious just how much work we are doing to make changes and better serve the community. 

Dean Wilson

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