SOCIAL SERVICES

Overview

The Social Development department supports the political goals and aspirations of member First Nations.  This is accomplished through the coordination and development of strategies that address social policy and legislative issues from the Anishinabek Nation position to the federal and provincial governments and non-government organizations.

Goal: To coordinate social policy development, political advocacy and improved coordination and support amongst member First Nations across the Anishinabek Territory.

We provide support and representation to the 40 member First Nations in the following areas:

  • First Nation Child and Family Services
  • Anishinabek Nation Child Welfare Law Development
  • Social Assistance
  • First Nation Daycare/Childcare
  • Disabilities
  • Federal Family Violence

Anishinabek Nation Child Well-Being Law

The Anishinabek Nation (AN) Child Well-Being Working Group (CWBWG) has been working on addressing the changesrequired for the AN Child Well-Being Law over the past year. The Anishinabek Nation Child Well-Being Law has been redrafted several times over the last year in accordance with the direction given at the AN CWBWG meetings and at information sessions held with Chiefs and Councils. The AN CWBWG met on April 2015, Manitoulin Hotel & Conference Centre; July 2015, Sagamok Anishnawbek; September 2015, Munsee-Delaware; December 2015, UOI-North Bay; February 2016, Alderville; and April 2016, Fort William. The next CWBWG is scheduled for July 2016 on Mississauga # 8 FN.

The CWBWG will continue to work on the implementation plan and strive to complete the implementation work by April 1, 2017. We are in the process of seeking individual band council resolutions for the ratification and adoption of the AN Child Well-Being Law. The community presentations will be scheduled over the next fiscal year or you may contact the Social Development department to arrange a presentation.

Canadian Human Rights Tribunal

The Canadian Human Rights Tribunal has ruled on the case involving First Nations under-funding of child welfare services on-reserve. The immediate relief order was issued on April 26, 2016.

The tribunal panel ordered that Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) immediately consider Jordan’s Principle as including all jurisdictional disputes (including between federal government departments) and involving all First Nations children, (not just the children with multiple disabilities). Pursuant to the purpose and intent of Jordan’s Principle, the government organization that is first contacted should pay for the service without the need for policy review or case conferencing before funding is provided. INAC has responded to the immediate relief order and will increase funding for the First Nations Child and Family Services Program. There will be immediate adjustments to the operations and prevention through additional investments to update existing funding agreements.

Aboriginal Child and Youth Strategy

The Ministry of Children and Youth Services (MCYS) has been meeting with First Nations leadership and technicians to co-develop an Aboriginal Children and Youth Strategy. The main priority of the Anishinabek Nation is to exercise our jurisdiction in child welfare through the implementation of our Anishinabek Nation Child Well-Being Law.

Grand Council Chief Patrick Madahbee, Ogimaa Duke Peltier, and Chief Peter Collins have been attending the Bilateral and Leadership meetings with the MCYS. The most recent bilateral discussion took place in February 2016. The MCYS and the Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs hosted another leadership table meeting with the PTO’s and Independent First Nations on May 5, 2016. Grand Council Chief Patrick Madahbee, Ogimaa Duke Peltier and Chief Peter Collins and Social Services Director attended the meeting. Agency Directors are provided opportunities to attend and submit briefing notes at both the bilateral and leadership roundtable meetings.

The AN has been working with Wikwemikong Health Centre to incorporate “Wikwemikong’s Children’s Well-Being Measure” into First Nations and First Nation Agencies across Ontario and will be incorporated into the AN Child Well-Being Law system. The measure is also known as “Aanish Naa Gegii.”

 

 

MartenOntario’s newly announced “Family Well-Being Program” as part of the Walking Together Strategy will begin with an engagement of First Nations communities to discuss the best possible use of resources to support children and families in our communities as part of their prevention programming.
The resources will be targeted based on the input received by communities and the funding will flow directly to the programs and services identified by each of our First Nations as set out in the funding agreements.

Band Representative Funding

The Canadian Human Rights Tribunal Immediate Relief Order has identified the Band Representative issue as intermediate issue that will be reformed in accordance with the 1965 Indian Welfare Agreement Review. INAC is not meeting their fiduciary obligations to provide funding for Band Representatives.

In addition, the Anishinabek Educational Institute has changed the delivery format of the “First Nation Child Welfare Advocate” accredited certificate program.

Social Assistance and Daycare/Childcare

We began service orientation by attending Regional Supervisor Network meetings with Anishinabek Nation Day Cares/Child Cares Centres, the First Nation Child Care Gathering with the Ministry of Education, information sessions and working group sessions, etc.

Current initiatives in place are:

  • The review of the Phase 2 Proposed Regulatory Changes regarding the Child Care and Early Years Act; changes which have been retracted at this time due to contributed feedback provided by many centres and organizations across the province with the UOI being one of those
    contributors.
  • Membership of the Healthy Smiles Ontario 2 Trilateral Working Group.
  • Advocating for support for local initiatives such as the Youth Job Connect project to begin with Niigaaniin Group Delivery based out of the NSTC.

Future initiatives will include engagement with the Ministry of Community and Social Services to address Ontario Works reform. There will be ongoing networking within the AN to ensure Social Assistance service delivery receive the political support and advocacy.

A common theme within Social Assistance is affordability in poverty. Our community members are having difficulty in living an adequate standard of life while rent, groceries, and especially hydro and utilities must be decided upon by a month-to-month basis of which is to be paid.

The interim “Transitional Support Fund” policy is in effect as of April 1, 2013. A working group coordinated through COO met in 2014-15 to monitor and address issues with the implementation of the new policy. There are issues with the limited funding identified and First Nations continue to seek an exemption from the cap on health and non-health discretionary benefits. There has been no response to the First Nations proposal submitted to the Ministry of Community and Social Services. INAC has incurred significant savings as a
result of the changes to Ontario Works delivery in Ontario.

The Social Development department will continue to explore these issues that affect our communities, our families, “us,” and effectively assist the managers, case workers, and technicians as we address those issues together.

Family Violence and Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women
(MMIW)

  • The AN has a strategic plan to address family violence issues.
  • INAC provides funding to the First Nations on a project proposal basis for UOI communities to address family violence issues. There will be a yearly call for proposals in December-January of each fiscal year. The funding requests for this program exceeds the funding available through
    INAC.

The Social Department has also been working with COO to assist with coordination of UOI families who are participating in the MMIW’s pre-inquiry sessions with the Federal Government. We will ensure that “Ngo Dwe Waangizid Anishinaabe” is incorporated in all our work going forward.
Ngo Dwe Waangized Anishinaabe is the preamble to the Anishinabek Nation Chi Naaknigewin (Constitution).



Copyright 2016 @ Union of Ontario Indians | All Rights Reserved