Kina Gbezhgomi started out as a Native Child Welfare Prevention Program in 1982. The need to develop child welfare prevention programs grew out of concern for the increasing numbers of Native children in the care of Children’s Aid Societies, particularly in the Districts of Greater Sudbury and Manitoulin. In January of 1984, the Native Child Welfare Prevention Program received support from the United Chiefs and Councils of Manitoulin (UCCM) to initiate the process to develop a Native Child Welfare Agency. After over twenty years of working to prepare its organization to assume the child welfare mandate, Kina Gbezhgomi finally received designation as a Children’s Aid Society on April 1, 2015, allowing them to provide child welfare services to member First Nations within the Districts of Greater Sudbury and Manitoulin.
The vision of Kina Gbezhgomi Child and Family Services states that the agency “will honour and support our family’s and community’s inherent authority to care for their children based on unity, traditions, values, beliefs and customs” (Kina Gbezhgomi Child and Family Services, 2017). Their mission statement states that “Our services ensure children are protected and stay connected with their culture, language and community while strengthening family and community relationships” (Kina Gbezhgomi agency brochure, 2017). Service principles focus on ensuring culturally based services that strengthen cultural identity, supporting children to remain in their communities connected with their roots, culture and language, family centred and family focused services, participation of children, families and communities in all aspects of case planning and decision making, and building relationships with families based on open, honest communication.
Kina Gbezhgomi Child and Family Services operates from a cultural service model that includes offering bi-cultural services, Anishinabek best practices, and strengths-based and family preservation. Cultural services are intended to assist the service user in attaining a balanced and holistic well-being.
Cultural services may include:
Traditional Case Conferencing
Naming Ceremony / Clan and Colours
Traditional Talking or Sharing Circles
Regalia Making for Children / Youth in Care
Purification Ceremonies: Cedar Baths, Sweat Lodge
Fasting Teachings and Ceremony
Coordinate Debriefing and Recovery Sessions
Cultural Camps for Children / Youth-in-Care
Match and Mentorship with an Elder or Traditional Resources (Kina Gbezhgomi, 2017)
Did you know:
The Ministry of Children and Youth services has defined a five (5) phase process that must be completed In order for a First Nations community to become a mandated Child Welfare Authority. These five phases are as follows:
Phase 1 – Assessing Community Interest, Support and Readiness
Phase 2 – Capacity Development, developing the organizational and service delivery capacity to deliver Child Welfare services
Phase 3 – Developing a Transition Plan and begin implementation of service delivery through the Aboriginal delivery organization
Phase 4 – Ministerial Designation
Phase 5 – Sustaining capacity and building on standards and quality of services
( Kina Gbezhgomi Child and Family Services, 2013 )
- Why do you think that it takes so long for Indigenous child welfare agencies to become mandated?
- Do you believe that non-Indigenous child welfare agencies would be under the same scrutiny? Would their process proceed at a quicker pace? Why or why not?
Expanding Your knowledge
- The following link provides detailed information about Kina Gbezhgomi Child and Family Services including history of the agency, timelines and milestones:
Kina Gbezhgomi Child and Family Services