UOI OFFICES, Nipissing First Nation, April 4, 2012 /CNW/ - The Anishinabek Educational Institute in partnership with Canadore College launched the First Nation Child Welfare Advocate Certificate Program today at the Union of Ontario Indians head office.
"The First Nation Child Welfare Advocate program will prepare students for the role of advocate or representative on behalf of a First Nation, child and/or family in child protection matters," says Union of Ontario Indians Social Services Director Adrienne Pelletier. "Upon completion of the program, students will have developed skills in case-file assessment, and development of culturally-appropriate Child Welfare advocacy."
Students will gain knowledge of the Canadian Child Welfare System, treaty and aboriginal rights, the Indian Act, First Nations and their organizational political structures, and the Child and Family Services Act.
"We believe in building and supporting healthy communities," said Mary Wabano, Director of the First Peoples' Centre at Canadore. "This program is the only one of its kind in Ontario and will improve the well-being of our First Nations by providing our people with the tools to effectively advocate on behalf of First Nations children, families and communities in a highly specialized field."
Anishinabek Grand Council Chief Patrick Madahbee congratulated the education partners on creating a program for which there is such an urgent need.
"There are an estimated 27,000 First Nations children in foster care in Canada today--more than three times the number of children in residential schools during their peak of operation," said Madahbee. "Unfortunately, the residential school legacy of uprooting our people from their communities and families is still alive, and there is a desperate need for a care system that protects our children, instead of neglecting their cultural and social needs."
The course will start in September and will be offered at the Anishinabek Educational Institute's Nipissing Campus at the Union of Ontario Indians head office on Hwy. 17 West.
The Anishinabek Nation established the Union of Ontario Indians as its secretariat in 1949. The UOI is a political advocate for 39 member communities across Ontario, representing approximately 60,000 people. The Union of Ontario Indians is the oldest political organization in Ontario and can trace its roots back to the Confederacy of Three Fires, which existed long before European contact.
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