Community Networking: A Policy Approach to Enhance Aboriginal Child Welfare in Off-Reserve Communities

Authors

  • Judy Gillespie University of British Columbia
  • Dennis Whitford Senior Advisor Aboriginal Services, Region 8 Northwest Child and Family Service
  • Miriam Abel University of Calgary

Abstract

This paper presents results from a community based participatory research initiative involving an Aboriginal Interagency Committee located in northern Alberta. The research aimed at developing knowledge and understanding of community oriented policy frameworks that promote social change at community and structural levels, to enhance off-reserve Aboriginal child welfare. Emerging policy lessons suggest "community networking" as a viable approach to address off-reserve Aboriginal child welfare. This approach utilizes a formal structure, grounding in Aboriginal values and traditions, leadership and guidance from Aboriginal community members, and the values of inclusiveness and respect for cultural diversity. There is a need for further research to understand the outcomes of such an approach for the welfare of Aboriginal children and families and for similar research within other contexts.

Author Biographies

Judy Gillespie, University of British Columbia

Dennis Whitford, Senior Advisor Aboriginal Services, Region 8 Northwest Child and Family Service

Miriam Abel, University of Calgary

References

Australian Institute of Health and Family. 2010. Child Protection Australia 2008-09. Retrieved Jan. 29, 2010 from http://www.aihw.gov.au/publications/cws/cpa07-08/cpa07-08.pdf

Blackstock, Cindy and NicoTrocmé. 2005. "Community-Based Child Welfare for Aboriginal Children: Supporting Resilience Through Structural Change." IN Michael Ungar, ed. Handbook for Working With Children and Youth: Pathways to Resilience Across Cultures and Contexts. Pp. 105-120. Thousand Oaks: Sage.

Blackstock, Cindy, Nico Trocmé, and Marilyn Bennett. 2004. Child maltreatment investigations among Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal families in Canada. Violence Against Women, 10(8)): 901-916.

Boothroyd, Peter. 1996. "Community Development: The Missing Link in Welfare Policy." IN Bill Kirwin, ed. Ideology, Development and Social Welfare: Canadian Perspectives 3rd ed. Toronto: Canadian Scholars' Press Inc.

Bradbury, Hilary and Peter Reason. 2003. "Action research." Qualitative Social Work 2,(2): 155-175.

Brown, Leslie, Lise Haddock and Margaret Kovach. 2002. "Watching Over Our Families: Lalum'utul Smun'eem Child and Family Services," IN Brian Wharf, ed. Community Work Approaches to Child Welfare. Pp. 131-151. Peterborough: ON: Broadview.

Brown, Michael. 2000. "Care and Protection is About Adult Behaviour." The Ministerial Review of the Department of Child, Youth and Family Services. Retrieved Feb. 21, 2010 from http://www.msd.govt.nz/documents/about-msd-and-our-work/publications-resources/archive/ 2000-care-and-protection-is-about-adult-behaviour.pdf

Carter, Vernon B. 2010. Factors predicting placement of urban American Indian/Alaskan Natives into out-of-home care. Children and Youth Services Review, 32(5): 657-663.

Carter, Vernon B. 2009. Prediction of placement into out-of-home care for American Indian/Alaskan Natives compared to non-Indians. Children and Youth Services Review, 31(8): 840-846.

Chandler, Michael J. and Christopher E. Lalonde. 2008. "Cultural Continuity as a Protective Factor Against Youth Suicide in First Nations Youth." Horizons 10,(1): 68-72.

Connors, Ed and Frank Maidman. 2001. "A Circle of Healing: Family Wellness in Aboriginal Communities." IN Issac Prilleltensky, Geoffrey Nelson and Leslea Peirson, eds. Promoting Family Wellness and Preventing Child Maltreatment: Fundamentals for Thinking and Action. Pp 349-418. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

Dal Fiore, Filippo. 2007. "Communities Versus Networks: The Implications on Innovation and Social Change. American Behavioral Scientist 50: 857-66.

Duran, Bonnie and Eduardo Duran. 2000. "Applied Postcolonial Clinical and Research Strategies." IN Marie Battiste, ed. Reclaiming Indigenous Voice and Vision. Pp. 86-100. Vancouver: UBC Press.

Duran, Eduardo and Bonnie Duran. 1995. Native American Post-Colonial Psychology. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press.

Dussault, Mr Justice René. 2007. "Indigenous Peoples and Child Welfare: The Path to Reconciliation." First Peoples Child & Family Review 3(3): 8-11.

Ermine, Willie. 1995. "Aboriginal Epistemology." IN Marie Ann Battiste and Jean Barman, eds. First Nations Education in Canada: The Circle Unfolds. Pp. 101-112. Vancouver, BC: UBC Press.

Foxcroft, Debra and Cindy Blackstock. 2003. "USMA: Cherished Ones, Precious Ones, the Children A First Nations Approach to Child, Family, and Community Well-being." IN Nico Trocmé, Della Knoke, and Catherine Roy, eds. Community Collaboration and Differential Response: Canadian and International Research and Emerging Models of Practice. Pp. 105-111. Ottawa, ON: Centre of Excellence for Child Welfare.

Greenwood, Davydd and Morten Levin. 2000. "Reconstructing the relationships between universities and society through action research." IN Norman Denzin and Yvonna Lincoln,eds. Handbook of Qualitative Research 2nd ed. Pp. 85-106. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Hand, Carol A. 2006. "An Ojibwe Perspective on the Welfare of Children: Lessons of the Past and Visions for the Future." Children and Youth Services Review 28(1): 20-46.

Harris, Marian S. and Hackett, Wanda. 2008. "Decision Points in Child Welfare: An Action Research Model to Address Disproportionality," Child and Youth Services Review, 30: 199-215.

Hart, Michael Anthony. 2008. "Critical Reflections on an Aboriginal Approach to Helping." IN Mel Gray, John Coates, and Michael Yellow Bird, eds. Indigenous Social Work Around the World: Towards Culturally Relevant Education and Practice. Hampton, Great Britain: Ashgate.

Hudson, Pete and Brad McKenzie. 2003. "Extending Control Over Child Welfare Services." Canadian Review of Social Policy 51(Spring/Summer): 49-66.

Kemmis, Stephen and Robin McTaggart. 2000. "Participatory action research." IN Norman Denzin and Yvonna Lincoln,eds. Handbook of Qualitative Research 2nd ed. Pp. 567-605. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Lavergne, Chantal, Dufour, Sarah, Trocmé, Nico, and Larrivée, Marie-Claude. 2008. Visible minority, Aboriginal and Caucasian children investigated by Canadian child protective services. Child Welfare, 87(2): 59-76.

Little Bear, Leroy. 2000. "Jagged Worldviews Colliding." IN Marie Battiste, ed. Reclaiming Indigenous Voice and Vision. Pp. 77-85. Vancouver: UBC Press.

McKenzie, Brad. 2002. Block Funding Child Maintenance in First Nations Child and FamilyServices: A Policy Review. Unpublished paper prepared for Montreal: Kahnawake Shakotiia'takenhas Community Services.

Mignone, Javier. 2003. Measuring Social Capital: A Guide For First Nations Communities. Ottawa, ON: Canadian Institute for Health Information.

Minkler, Meredith. 2004. "Ethical Challenges for the "Outside" Researcher in Community-Based Participatory Research." Health Education and Behavior, 31: 684-696.

Morrisseau, Calvin. 1998. Into the Daylight: A Holistic Approach to Healing. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

Nelson, Geoffrey, Issac Prilleltensky, and Leslea Peirson. 2001. "Beyond the Boundaries: Themes for Thinking and Action in the Promotion of Family Wellness and the Prevention of Child Maltreatment." IN Issac Prilleltensky, Geoffrey Nelson and Leslea Peirson, eds. Promoting Family Wellness and Preventing Child Maltreatment: Fundamentals for Thinking and Action. Pp. 419-448. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

Peirson, Leslea, Marie-Claire Laurendeau, and Claire Chamberland. 2001. "Context, Contributing Factors and Consequences." IN Issac Prilleltensky, Geoffrey Nelson and Leslea Peirson, eds. Promoting Family Wellness and Preventing Child Maltreatment: Fundamentals for Thinking and Action. Pp. 41-123. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

Pettipas, Katherine. 1994. Severing the Ties that Bind: Government Repression of Indigenous Religious Ceremonies on the Prairies, Winnipeg, MB: University of Manitoba Press.

Rice, Brian. 2005. Seeing the World With Aboriginal Eyes: A Four Dimensional Perspective on Human and Non-Human Values, Cultures and Relationships on Turtle Island. Winnipeg, MB: Aboriginal Issues Press.

Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples. 1997. Volume 3: Gathering Strength. Ottawa, ON: Indian and Northern Affairs Canada. Retrieved January 12, 2009 from

http://www.ainc-inac.gc.ca/ap/pubs/sg/sg-eng.asp.

Statistics Canada. 2006a. Census. Retrieved Jan. 12, 2009 from http://www12.statcan.ca/census-recensement/index-eng.cfm.

Statistics Canada. 2006b. Aboriginal peoples in Canada in 2006: Inuit, Métis and First Nations, 2006 Census. Retrieved Feb. 10, 2010 from http://www12.statcan.gc.ca/english/census06/ analysis/aboriginal/pdf/97-558-XIE2006001.pdf .

Statistics New Zealand. 2007. "QuickStats About M?ori." Retrieved Feb. 21, 2010 from http://www.stats.govt.nz/Census/2006CensusHomePage/QuickStats/quickstats-about-a-subject/maori.aspx

Statistics New Zealand. 2002. Census Snapshot: Children, 2002. Retrieved Feb. 20, 2010 from http://www.stats.govt.nz/reports/articles/census-snapshot-children.aspx

Stroick, Sharon and Jane Jensen. 1999. What is the Best Policy Mix for Canada's Young Children? Ottawa, ON: Canadian Policy Research Networks Inc./Renouf Publishing Co.

Thoburn, June. 2008, "Globalisation and Child Welfare: Some Lessons from a Cross-national Study of Children in Out-of-home Care," Social Work Monographs,UEA, Norwich. Retrieved Feb. 9, 2010 fromhttp://www.uea.ac.uk/swk/research/publications/monographs/ welcome.htm.

Tilbury, Clare. 2009. "The Over-Representation of Indigenous Children in theAustralian Child Welfare System." International Journal of Social Welfare18(1): 57-64.

Trocmé, Nico, Della Knoke, and Cindy Blackstock. 2004. "Pathways to theOverrepresentation of Aboriginal Children in Canada's Child Welfare System."Social Service Review 78(4): 577-600.

Trocmé, Nico, Bruce MacLaurin, Barbara Fallon, Della Knoke, LisaPitman, and Megan McCormack. 2005. "Understanding the Overrepresentation ofFirst Nations Children in Canada's Child Welfare System: An Analysis of theCanadian Incidence Study of Reported Child Abuse and Neglect." Toronto: Centreof Excellence for Child Welfare.

Tseng, Vivian, Daniel Chesir-Teran, Rachel Becker-Klein, May L. Chan,Valkiria Duran, Ann Roberts, and Nenshad Bardoliwalla. 2002. "Promotion ofSocial Change: A Conceptual Framework." American Journal of CommunityPsychology 30(3): 401-27.

United States Census Bureau. News Release, "An Older and More Diverse Nationby Midcentury" (August 14, 2008). Retrieved Feb. 20, 2010 fromhttp://www.census.gov/Press-Release/www/releases/archives/population/012496.html.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Childrenand Families, Administration on Children, Youth and Families, Children'sBureau. 2009. The AFCARS Report: Preliminary Estimates for FY 2008 as ofOctober 2009 (16). Retrieved Feb. 12, 2010 fromhttp://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb/stats_research/afcars/tar/report16.htm.

Walker, Ryan C. 2008. "Improving the Interface between Urban Municipalitiesand Aboriginal Communities." Canadian Journal of Urban Research 17(1) (SummerSupplement): 20-36.

Wellman, Barry and StephenD. Berkowitz,,eds. 1998. Social Structures: ANetwork Approach. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Downloads

Issue

Section

Articles