Groundbreaking Relationship Forged Between Inuit, Métis and First Nation Communities and Children's Aid



    OTTAWA, March 28 /CNW Telbec/ - Today, the Children's Aid Society of
Ottawa (CASO) hosted an Inuit, Métis and First Nations Forum Information and
Resource Event.This event was a celebration of the growing partnership between
CASO and the Aboriginal-Inuit community-based service providers of Ottawa.
    Launched with traditional opening ceremonies by Inuit, Métis and First
Nations elders, there were also traditional food, Aboriginal arts and crafts
and kiosks for the seven Aboriginal-Inuit community service partner agencies.
In addition, an "Information and Referral Tool", which outlines all of the
services available for Inuit, Métis and First Nations peoples were made
available to staff. The seven partner agencies are those offering front line
community-based services to families: Minwaashin Lodge/Aboriginal Women's
Support Centre and Oshki Kizis Lodge, Odawa Friendship Centre, Tungasuvvingat
Inuit, Wabano Centre for Aboriginal Health, Makonsag Head Start, Ottawa Inuit
Children's Centre, and Tewegan.
    The intergenerational impacts of child protection policy in Canada have
been devastating for Inuit, Métis and First Nation families. In collaboration
with Aboriginal-Inuit community-based service providers and community leaders,
the CASO has taken the first steps on a path toward reconciliation in
Aboriginal child welfare.
    "This is a very important and groundbreaking event," says Karen
Baker-Anderson, Executive Director of the Ottawa Inuit Children's Centre.
"It's a path towards reconciliation."
    The partnership between CASO and the Aboriginal-Inuit community-based
service agencies began in January 2007, when over 50 Aboriginal-Inuit front
line service providers attended a consultation hosted by CASO. The purpose of
the day was to give these service providers an opportunity to speak about
their concerns and challenges in their interface with Child Welfare. This
process significantly strengthened agency-to-agency relationships.
    On February 17, 2007 Aboriginal-Inuit community-based service providers
partnered with CASO to hold a community consultation for over 100 Inuit, Métis
and First Nations community members in receipt of services from both sectors.
This was an opportunity for CASO to hear the perspective of community members
and identify how they could address their needs.
    Aboriginal children are disproportionately represented on Child Welfare
caseloads. According to a recent National report released by the Assembly of
First Nations (February 12, 2007), one in ten Aboriginal children is in foster
care compared to one in two hundred non-Aboriginal children.
    Many of the Inuit, Métis and First Nation clients served by Aboriginal
community-based service providers in our region also have files with the
Children's Aid Society of Ottawa; one member of the Liaison Group noted at a
recent meeting that twelve children out of forty-two (28.5%) on their caseload
have active files with the CASO. The total caseloads of all seven
Aboriginal-Inuit community-based service providers in Ottawa represents
approximately 5,000 clients, the majority of whom will benefit from this
proposed project either directly as children and parents as well as indirectly
as members of extended families.

    /NOTE TO PHOTO EDITORS: A photo accompanying this release is available on
    the CNW Photo Network and archived at http://photos.newswire.ca.
    Additional archived images are also available on the CNW Photo Archive
    website at http://photos.newswire.ca. Images are free to accredited
    members of the media/




For further information:

For further information: France Clost, Communications, The Children's
Aid Society of Ottawa, (613) 747-7800 ext. 2033

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Children’s Aid Society of Ottawa

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