Who and Why are We?
Child and Family Services was developed during the 1980’s as a direct result of 1st Nations people experiencing drastic rates of child apprehensions and adoptions outside of First Nations communities. As a result, a Tripartite Committee (Federal, Provincial, and 1st Nations governments) was formed and 1st Nations Communities began taking over control of child welfare issues within the boundaries of our respective reserves. However, WFN recognizes that our people do not stop being 1st Nations because they do not live on the reserve.
What makes our Agency necessary is that 1st Nations people often find themselves involved in the Court and Justice system without a clear understanding of charges or expectations. As a result, generations of 1st Nations children and families were subjected to a foreign culture and value system which caused systemic problems within our home communities as a result. Having our own child welfare agencies only stems the flow of 1st Nations children into mainstream society, as Wolastukwiyak, we have much more work to do.
Child and Family Services can also be an excellent advocate for our community members who are in the Family Court system. The Agency does NOT determine custody but will assist parents in reaching goals and objectives as set out by the Court.
Types of Services
- Child Protection
- Foster Homes and Foster Family Care Manual
- Family Support
- Adult Protection
- Home Support (aka Homemaker Program)
- Aboriginal Head Start
Strengths-Based Approach:Child protection is just one aspect of what we do as you can see by the above list. Child and Family receives its mandate from Chief and Council with regard to cultural relevance in community activities and program development. However, community input is very important to the on-going development and delivery of services. Strengths based practice has the worker exploring the client strengths and building a case plan recognizing strengths and skill building where necessary. If apprehension is necessary, everything will be done to assist the parent in gaining the necessary skills and/or abilities to regain care, custody and control of their child and life.Family SupportChildren are our future. We hear that often but what do people actually mean when they say that? Child and Family Services understands that ALL our children will one day be OUR leaders, caretakers and decision makers and that the effort we put in today to care and teach our children will be rewarding to the children immediately; but also to our families, communities and social world in the long run (seven generations).
Social workers only disclose confidential information to other parties (including family members) with the informed consent of clients, clients’ legally authorized representatives or when required by law or court order. The general expectation that social workers will keep information confidential does not apply when disclosure is necessary to prevent serious, foreseeable and imminent harm to a client or others. In all instances, social workers disclose the least amount of confidential information necessary to achieve the desired purpose. (NBASW)
Chief and Council Confidentiality
Chief and Council will NEVER have access to your personal information UNLESS you consent as a client or it is deemed “need to know.” An example of need to know is a client who may require political assistance in their particular situation. Otherwise, all personal information is kept confidential.
Jurisdiction, Legislations and Standards
As many 1st Nations are aware, the Federal government of Canada has a fiduciary responsibility to 1st Nations as stated in our Constitution. However, all legislation and standards regarding social services (including child welfare) are a Provincial responsibility. This leaves our people at a disadvantage as both levels of government disagree consistently who is responsible for what regarding our people in social service matters.
1st Nations child welfare agencies spend a lot of time and energy fighting for a budget that would allow them to provide comparable services to our people that the province does for theirs. The Province of New Brunswick is the ONLY province who does NOT financially contribute to 1st Nations child welfare. Native child welfare is driven by:
Family Services Act
Mi’kmag and Maliseet 1st Nations Child and Family Service Standards Manual
- After hours emergency social services (AHESS) 1-800-442-9799
- Woodstock Social Development 1-866-444-8838
- Woodstock RCMP 325-3000 or 911
- CHIMOHelpline (suicide/crisis intervention) 1-800-667-5005
- Mobile Crisis (after hours mental health) 1-888-667-04444
- Kids Help Phone 1-888-668-6868
- Sexual Assault Crisis Centre 1-506-454-0437
- Woodstock Sanctuary House (Women/child shelter re: Domestic Violence) 325-9452
What else should I know?
If you or someone you know feels:
- you want to harm yourself or others
- you feel unsafe and threatened in your home, community or workplace
Call one of the numbers above and a trained professional will be able to assist you.
Child and Family Services:
Director: Samantha Paul, RSW
Contact number: 506-324-6253 office
Prevention Social Worker: Kelly O’Neil-Morin, RSW
Contact number: 506-324-6252
Child Protection Social Worker: Sheena DeMerchant, RSW
Contact number: 506-324-6240
Emergency After Hours Number: 506-323-0498
– Someone within First Nations or Province will addresss your concerns regarding immediate emergencies for the safety of children. Otherwise all other matters can be addressed during regular business hours.