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PCWC Conference On the Edge between

held October 27th, 2016
by

Marlyn Bennett

on 3 November 2016

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Transcript of PCWC Conference On the Edge between

ON THE EDGE BETWEEN TWO WORLDS:
Community
Narratives
on the
Vulnerability
of Indigenous Girls

October 27th, 2016
Prairie Child Welfare Consortium Conference
Winnipeg
, Manitoba

Marlyn Bennett
, Ph.D. and
Ainsley Krone
, M.A., Office of the Children's Advocate

THE ROLE OF WOMEN
Traditional roles of the family members/community members
Changes as a result of contact and misunderstanding
What it was, what it has become
SMALL GROUP DISCUSSION
QUESTION:
What do you know about the
Indian Act (1876),
its impact on Indigenous women and its connection to Manitoba's 10,295 children who are in care?
RESIDENTIAL SCHOOLS
How we got to "now"
How this fundamentally changed the family structure and created chaos
Attitudes of the time, the result of the embedded racism
WHAT IS HAPPENING NOW
FOR CHILDREN IN CARE?
Rates of care, how early first apprehensions occur
Relationships central to mental health
Family separation - from parents/siblings
Graduation rates/other outcomes
Over-representation
Inter-generational
STRUCTURE OF THE PROJECT
Who was involved
What we did
THE TURTLE:

13 tiles
13 questions
13 moons
Report Themes
1.
Why are Indigenous girls so vulnerable when they come into care?
WHAT DO WE NEED TO


DOING?
5 - What is missing in how we teach boys to interact with girls?
6 - How can the public systems (child welfare, justice, health, education, etc.) be improved so that outcomes for young girls get better?
8 - What do communities need to be able to provide more safe and nurturing homes for young girls?
COMMON THEMES
Ensure we remember to include boys in our work.
THEME 3:
Share messages of love and support with youth; make sure they know they are important and that we as a community care
Provide stable funding for community-based organizations that are building relationships with youth
Provide ongoing and consistent opportunities for youth to access cultural and land-based teachings
What do we need to
DO MORE OF
?
Listen carefully and frequently to the voices of youth - ask them what they feel they need, help them develop the ability to ask for and receive support
Messages to girls?
a. You are loved!
b. Don't give up!
c. You are smart, kind, important!
d. You deserve respect and you can say no!
e. We care for you, we want good things for you!
f. You can heal!
g. There is a place for you!
H. You are beautiful!
OVERALL LESSONS
Key things we take away:
Aggressive investments need to be made in the organizations who are already doing the work with youth
Foster families need to be supported to know how they must support and encourage cultural identity
Family/extended family must be supported in healing from trauma and must be part of youth's circle of care
Need to uncover opportunities to bring in strong Indigenous women, pair them with girls in care
Indigenous leaders in the communities must set the direction and the tone, non-Indigenous people should take their lead
RECOMMENDATIONS
1.
2.
3.
4.
RECOMMENDATION ONE:

The Children’s Advocate recommends that the Department of Families conduct a thorough cultural audit of the foster care licensing standards and regulations to support the objective of increasing the numbers of safe foster homes available in rural and remote communities. The cultural audit shall examine the concept of community norms for safe care of children and ensure that urban standards (i.e., square footage requirements, single room occupancy) do not continue to be unfairly applied to rural locations. The revised foster care licensing standards and regulations for Manitoba must ensure safety of children remains a priority of care.
RECOMMENDATION TWO:
The Children’s Advocate recommends that the Department of Families develop training tools and resources for all caregivers who foster Indigenous children and youth to ensure all out-of-home placements receive training and education on ensuring children and youth are supported in exploring and developing their cultural identities.
RECOMMENDATION THREE:
The Children’s Advocate recommends that the Government of Manitoba provide funding to community-based organizations to hire indigenous cultural workers to support indigenous children and youth impacted by the child welfare system. This investment in the care and development of indigenous children who are disproportionately impacted by colonial legacies is in recognition of significant volumes of evidence showing that knowledge and experience of culture has positive impacts on long term outcomes for young people.
RECOMMENDATION FOUR:
The Children’s Advocate recommends the Government of Manitoba establish a Grandmother’s Council, or
Ganawenamig
, that acknowledges the traditional role of women in caring for family systems and which can engage the wisdom of indigenous Elders in providing cultural safety and traditional parenting advice and guidance to government on the development and delivery of public services that impact children, youth, and families. The Council should be developed through meaningful consultation with indigenous individuals who are recognized within the indigenous community as leaders. These consultations should identify and invite appropriate indigenous women to serve their communities through advising government in all areas of the public service that impact Manitoba’s children.
QUESTION:
Does your prior knowledge about the Indian Act match with what you just saw in the videos? Did anything surprise you?
& THE 60s SCOOP
How we did it
How the Indian Act Changed Things
The exclusion of women in decision making
The rise of patriarchy
The erosion of family units
Theme 1
: What do we need to
STOP
doing?
Theme 3
: What do we need to
DO MORE
of?
Theme 2
: What do we need to
START
doing?
2.
Why are so many young women mistreated and exploited?
Theme 1
: What do we need to
STOP
doing?
on What we Need to
STOP
Doing:
All people learning the history of residential schools, 60s scoop
Common Themes
Understand the impact the
Indian Act
has had and still has on families
Recognize the negative ways Indigenous girls are approached and addressed by systems/the public
Acknowledging and addressing embedded racism that currently exists
THEME 2:
10 - Are there any programs that need to be developed to address the vulnerability of Indigenous girls in care?
Continue to push for more collaborations and relationship building between systems as youth are often involved with multiple public systems (silo destruction)
Seek out and change relationships where
unnecessary power imbalances exist - work for reciprocal relationships
Examine areas of CFS where
inherent discrimination exists
- foster care licensing, etc.
Connecting youth and families to places of cultural support and healing
Keep children and youth connected to family at every opportunity - fight for these connections to happen and support family connectedness
See the wealth of expertise in community-based organizations that operate as supports to public systems already - attach youth to those organizations where relational work happens everyday
3 - What messages do we need to communicate to other people about the roles of young girls and women?
4 - If Indigenous girls cannot live with their birth families and there are limited safe options for these girls to live with extended family or trusted community members, where else can they find support, development, and teachings?
7 - Are there elements of traditional parenting or traditional family structures that would help improve the situation for young women who are vulnerable?
9 - What are some of the things that can be done to keep Indigenous girls safe when they come into care of child welfare?
11 - What do you believe young girls need to thrive in life?
12 - What suggestions do you have that would make all Indigenous girls safer?
13 - If you could pass on a message to girls, what would you want to tell them?
QUESTIONS:
COMMON THEMES
FOR THIS SECTION
Make decisions from the heart, challenge rules that don't help move a youth forward
Involve Elders, especially Grandmothers - surround youth with grandmothers
OVERVIEW
Traditional role of women
How the Indian Act changed things
Residential schools
What is happening for children in care?
Structure of the Report
Overview of themes and questions
Overall lessons learned
Recommendations
Closing Comments
Questions:
on What we Need to
START
Doing:
The End!
Miigwetch
Ekosi
Marsi
Thank you
Merci
Full transcript