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Tikinagan Child and Family Services has a dual mandate. It is one of 53 Children's Aid Societies in Ontario mandated under the Child and Family Services Act to protect children from harm. We are accountable to Ontario for this responsibility. We are also mandated by our Chiefs to provide services that are culturally sensitive to the needs of Aboriginal children, families and First Nations. We are accountable to the Chiefs and to the communities for this responsibility.
Moses Fiddler and grandson Matthias Beardy graced the cover of Maurice
Brubacher's 2006 book about Tikinagan
Ontario took over the responsibility for First Nations child welfare from the federal government through the 1965 Welfare Agreement. They assured First Nations at the time that it was an opportunity to develop models and standards for their own child welfare services. During the early 1980s, Ontario amended the Child and Family Services Act to recognize First Nations' right to culturally appropriate child welfare services. This paved the way for Tikinagan's establishment in 1984. We have provided the full range of child protection services since April 1987.
Families often require help at many levels to address issues like mental health, family violence, marital support, addictions and others. Our communities do not have the resources to meet all of these needs. In establishing Tikinagan, the Chiefs committed to providing services to children and families in whatever manner necessary to prevent them from becoming "at risk". They established Tikinagan not only to provide child protection services, but also to provide family support and intervention, to assist and seek out resources for families to overcome difficulties and to broaden the social service network for the benefit of our children and families.
The Answers Lie within the Communities
The Creator entrusted First Nations with the sacred responsibility of protecting our children and developing strong families and healthy communities. The Chiefs created Tikinagan to support and strengthen our children, our families, and our communities. The future of our communities is our children. They need to be nurtured within their families and communities. As such, community responsibility for child protection is an essential aspect of Native self-government.
The overall goal of Tikinagan Child and Family Services is to keep our children with us, and within our community. The goal challenges us to:
- nourish the values and principles of our people;
- draw our strengths from the people we serve; and
- develop skills and resources at the community level to address child welfare issues.