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Since the release of the Aboriginal Justice Inquiry (AJI) report of 1991 there have been some very significant changes within the child and family services system in Manitoba. Overall these changes have flowed and resulted from the AJI- Child Welfare initiative (AJI-CWI) which serves and guides the Child Welfare System today. There have been many milestones and touchstones achieved along the way. For the First Nations of Southern Manitoba and its Child and Family Services Authority the following is a brief summary and background of those significant events and subsequent initiatives.

For more information on the AJI-CWI Detailed Implementation Plan (DIP), please go to:

www.aji-cwi.mb.ca

A Brief Overview of Progress Since Implementation

By 2006, most of the restructuring of the child and family services system was completed, including the establishment of four new CFS Authorities:

  • The Metis Child and Family Services Authority
  • The Southern First Nations Child and Family Services Authority
  • The Northern First Nations Child and Family Services Authority
  • The General Child and Family Services Authority

As well, the restructuring included:

  • enacting The Child and Family Services Authorities Act and amending The Child and Family Services Act and The Adoption Act
  • establishing new service delivery arrangements and partnerships throughout the province
  • transferring responsibility for more than 3,600 cases, along with human and financial resources, to the Metis and First Nations Authorities and their agencies

Currently, the Authorities in collaboration with government continue their work to improve the child and family services system. Significant progress continues to be made in the following areas:

Funding Models

In December 2008, a working group of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs, representatives of the First Nations of Southern Manitoba CFS Authority and the First Nations of Northern Manitoba CFS Authority, and the Manitoba and federal governments completed a draft framework and funding model for on-reserve CFS program delivery and funding. The funding model includes maintenance, enhanced operations, and differential response (DR) components. It is anticipated that this collaborative strategy will:

  • strengthen and support First Nations families to care for their children
  • reduce the number of First Nations children in care
  • reduce and potentially eliminate inequities in funding and services relating to residencies on or off reserve

In early 2009, the working group’s proposed framework and funding model will be submitted to the federal government. It is expected that First Nations CFS agencies will begin to receive funding in Autumn 2009. First Nations acknowledge that the proposed funding model has important shortfalls that require ongoing review.

Prevention Programs

A variety of prevention projects were completed or started in 2006/07:

  • Educational materials on suicide prevention and water safety were distributed.
  • Funding was provided for foster family recreation and child safety equipment.
  • A project to enable CFS workers to provide police with identifying information in sexual exploitation investigations was launched.
  • A new committee was formed to explore ways to promote better collaboration and integration of systems.

In April 2007, the four Authorities in collaboration with the Manitoba government announced plans to enhance Manitoba’s Coordinated Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) Strategy. To date, the FASD Strategy has focused on helping children and families involved in the CFS system.

During 2007/08, work on the theme of prevention focused on four areas: inter-sectoral collaboration, FASD, suicide prevention, and safety education.

FASD

In March 2008, Standing Committee and Healthy Child Manitoba came together to coordinate FASD recommendations through the Provincial Coordinated FASD Strategy. Work on the Strategy is ongoing.

In April 2008, the Manitoba government announced funding for the creation of FASD Specialist positions at each of the four CFS Authorities. These positions have all been filled. The role of the specialists is to develop, implement, and evaluate FASD services delivered by CFS agencies. As well, the specialists offer expertise in case planning and help to improve access to needed services.

In April 2008, the FASD Strategy Implementation Team (SIT) was established. The SIT is comprised of the four Authority FASD Specialists and representatives from Healthy Child Manitoba. Its purpose is to design work plans for implementing FASD recommendations.

In May 2008, the Spectrum Connections program was launched. This program is delivered by FASD Life’s Journey Inc. and provides services for youth and adults living with FASD.

Work is underway to develop new standards for FASD services for children, using best practice models. An independent contractor retained by the Authorities has completed initial consultations and research, and has written a final report on findings.

Three communities in Manitoba have accepted invitations to be sites for expansion of Healthy Child Manitoba’s Stop FASD program. The three communities are Portage la Prairie, Flin Flon, and Dauphin. Stop FASD provides mentoring and other supports to pregnant and post-natal women at high risk of having alcohol and/or drug-exposed births.

Suicide Prevention

In December 2008, the Manitoba government, in collaboration with the Authorities, announced Reclaiming Hope – a youth suicide prevention strategy. The strategy will provide funding both to enhance existing services and to create new ones. Projects funded by the strategy will help to support communities, promote mental health, and improve access to mental health care.

Suicide intervention training was provided to over 250 CFS staff, foster parents, and other care providers.

Safety and Education Materials

Resources on water safety and healthy living have been distributed to agencies, residential child care facilities, and communities. The resources on healthy living provide information on a variety of lifestyle issues, such as sexual activity, drug and alcohol consumption, housing, and nutrition.

PDF Document AJI-CWI Detailed Implementation Plan (DIP) Summary (PDF Format; 214 KB)