Evolution of Child Welfare Service Delivery in Treaty #3 north
Since the inception of indigenous child welfare in the mid 1980's in Treaty 3 with Ojibway Tribal Family Services, there has always been an indigenous service provider. The Chiefs at that time split the 28 First Nation communities that comprise this Treaty territory into north and south, with 14 communities in the north and 14 communities in the south.
On July 1, 2006, Anishinaabe Abinoojii Family Services was designated by the Province to provide mandated child welfare services to the communities of Rat Portage, Grassy Narrows, Whitedog, Whitefish Bay and Washagamis Bay. Minister Mary Anne Chambers at that time stated "as Minister of Children and Youth Services, I share your commitment to helping Aboriginal children and youth make a positive transition to adulthood as they embrace a life of full participation in the rich culture and traditions of your Treaty 3 First Nation communities".
Since that time we have evolved, through Services Agreements, to offer an alternative to mainstream child welfare practices to an additional seven of our communities in Treaty 3 north. We continue to push the Ministry to acknowledge this expanded jurisdiction and request acknowledgement through an official transfer of those communities to us from Kenora-Rainy River Districts Child and Family Services.
Although we maintain the designation as the service provider for child welfare in northern Treaty 3 territory, three of our largest communities are operating their own child welfare agencies, with day to day decision making authority for their community membership. Seven communities, through the devolution process, maintain day to day authority of their prevention services program also. This "devolution process" is a necessary step in the progression towards self governance and assertion of our treaty rights for our own People.