Prevention Services in Treaty 3 North
In 1986, Ojibway Tribal Family Services began delivering supportive prevention services to families in Treaty 3 northern communities. OTFS was created to prevent children from being removed from their families and communities by supporting and strengthening family function. The Chiefs negotiated their rightful bi lateral relationship with the federal government and were directly funded. The intent was to have an alternative to the Provincial mainstream child protection system, which had provided inadequate and ineffective service provision for aboriginal children and families.
The first prevention worker in Ontario was hired in Treaty 3. However, OTFS ceased operations in 2001 when the direct funding relationship ended. The funding was transferred for a time to the Grand Council of Treaty #3, a PTO (political/territorial organization). From 2001-2003 a Coordination Unit based in Kenora was the liaison for the community based workers and provided them with child welfare training called New Worker Training (what was then 13 modules is now 8).
On March 31, 2003, the Coordination Unit ceased operation and in the fall of that year the Provincial government, thru the Ministry of Children and Youth Services approached then Abinoojii Family Services Board of Directors to take over administration of the program as INAC had downloaded the responsibility to the Province.
Negotiations lasted two years, and by the end of 2005 the majority of the communities had signed on with AFS for management of the program. All former employees of the Bands were rolled over to become employees of AAFS, at that time. By the time Abinoojii was designated in 2006, it had changed its corporate name to Anishinaabe Abinoojii Family Services to differentiate its clientele base to be “anishinaabe”.
What is Prevention Services?
- Community based activities and support which promote healthy families and communities and services that address families at risk of becoming involved with the child welfare system, and services to those families that are involved with child welfare to provide them with educational supports, advocacy and referral services, in order to strengthen the family and work towards reunification.
Services offered to families through this program are completely voluntary. Referrals for services are accepted from various sources for the family members and are supported in each community further through other community service providers such as Healthy Babies/Healthy Children, Community Health workers, Youth programs, Health Canada, NNADAP workers etc.
Prevention workers work in and with the community members by offering services at the following three levels:
- Primary services: children/youth activities, Community social activities, educational workshops, fun activities that encourage working together
- Secondary services: one to one and family support/counseling, support for parents through group activities, referral for services from other providers, resource coordination for the family
- Tertiary services: crisis support services, referrals and advocacy, resource coordination for individuals or the family