Nog-da-win-da-min Family and Community Services

Nog-da-win-da-min Family and Community Services (NFCS) provides child welfare and prevention services to seven Anishinaabe First Nations communities represented by the North Shore Tribal Council located between Sault Ste. Marie and Sudbury, Ontario. These communities include Whitefish Lake, Sagamok Anishnawbek, Serpent River, Mississauga, Thessalon, Garden River and Batchewana. In 1987, the North Shore Tribal Council established NFCS and Community Services, and later became incorporated as a Child and Family Services organization under Section 194 of the Province of Ontario’s Child and Family Services Act in August 1990. NFCS provides child welfare services, foster care services and family preservation services to its member First Nations (Schmidt et al., 2012).

What makes  Nog-da-win-da-min unique? Nog-da-win-da-min provides culturally based services that places the child, family and community at the centre of care. Cultural and traditional approaches are incorporated into and strengthens the circle of care. When needed and/or warranted, external services are brought into the community, meaning that families do not have to leave their communities to access specialized services.

The integration of tradition and culture is a key component of Nogdawindamin’s programming. To aid in integrating tradition and culture, Nogdawindamin receives guidance and support from their Elder’s Council. The Seven Sacred Teachings form the foundation for all aspects of service delivery for the agency. Respect, one of the seven teachings, is integrated into all aspects of service delivery.  Inherent in the service delivery model is the importance of knowing Anishinawbe history, language and culture, and its connection to building a strong sense of identity and knowing one’s place in creation.

Nog-da-win-da-min shares a similar story of development as Kina Gbezghomi Child and Family Services. Changes to the Child and Family Services Act (CFSA) in 1984 opened the way for the development of Indigenous child welfare agencies. In 1990, Nogdawindamin become incorporated as a Family and Community agency providing prevention services to its member communities.

In 2006, Bill 210 was passed, making changes to the Child and Family Services Act that is referred to by Nagdawindamin as the ‘customary care declaration 2006’ (Ministry of Children and Youth Services, n.d.).  Paragraph 3 of subsection 1 (2) of the Child and Family Services Act states:

  1. To recognize that children’s services should be provided in a manner that,

  1. respects a child’s need for continuity of care and for stable relationships within a family and cultural environment,
  2. takes into account physical, cultural, emotional, spiritual, mental and developmental needs and differences among children,
  3. provides early assessment, planning and decision-making to achieve permanent plans for children in accordance with their best interests, and
  4. includes the participation of a child, his or her parents and relatives and the members of the child’s extended family and community, where appropriate

(Legislative Assembly of Ontario, 2006)

Learning Activities

  1. How do the developments in the Indigenous child welfare contribute to the creation of spaces for people to learn about traditions and culture, traditional healing practices, Indigenous governance systems, Indigenous knowledge systems and Indigenous ways of being?

  2. Take some time to explore news articles about Indigenous child welfare. A good site to explore is CBC news. This following link brings you to a specific search for the terms Indigenous Child Welfare:

    CBC Search: Indigenous Child Welfare

    1. What are some of the statistics about Indigenous children in care?

    2. What are some of the concerns being raised as a result of the numbers of Indigenous children in care?

    3. How has reading about the state of Indigenous child in care changed your perspective?

Expanding your Knowledge

  1. For more information about Kina Gbezghomi Child and Family Service and Nogdawindamin Family and Community Services, visit the following websites:
    Kina Gbezhgomi Child & Family Services
    Nogdawindamin Family and Community Services
  2. Visit the following link to learn more about Weechi-it-te-win Family Services:
    Weechi-it-te-win Family Services
  3. The following is a PDF of the History of Weechi-it-te-win Family Services:
    Weechi-it-te-win Family Services Timeline of Events
  4. For more information about Indigenous (Aboriginal) child welfare, take some time to explore the following website:
    Canadian Child Welfare Research Portal
    This portal contains a wealth of information about statistics, publications and legislation, as well as information directed at researchers wanting to know more about Indigenous child welfare.


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