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The Mamow Obiki-ahwahsoowin model focuses on the child within his/her community to seek customary care and continuity of care. The model has been set out in our comprehensive service manuals, including service standards and policies, and case management procedures and forms.
The Chief and Council of each First Nation are responsible for the welfare of families and children in their community. Child protection and family support services are therefore provided within each community in consultation with and co-operation with the First Nation. Chief and Council retain the authority to make decisions regarding children, with the consent of the parents, or when no parent or relative is available.
The relationship between each First Nation and Tikinagan is governed by a unique protocol. Some First Nations have formal written protocols.
Tikinagan investigates all reports that a child may be in need of protection. Family Service Workers provide ongoing support to the family by working with the parents, extended family, Elders, other community resources and First Nation leaders. Tikinagan Child Care Workers work with the child, foster parents, others interested in the child, the Family Service Worker and the Alternative Care Worker to create the child's Plan of Care.
A nih nih shib
If children can be protected within the family, the First Nation makes a First Nation Declaration, which together with a Mamow Obiki-ahwahsoowin Supervision Agreement (A nih nih shib) sets out terms and conditions to guide the family. The goal is to permit the child to remain in the home while ensuring that the child is protected.
Mi gi zi
When a child cannot be protected within the family, the Tikinagan workers may assist the family to arrange a traditional Customary Care Agreement (Mi gi zi) for the short or long term. In that case, the children will move to the home of a relative or other community member on a voluntary basis. The foundation for this arrangement is the First Nation Declaration signed by the Chief and Council.
Mi hii kun
When a child cannot be protected in his or her own family and a Mi gi zi Agreement is not possible, Tikinagan or the First Nation may remove the child from the home and the First Nation may declare the child to be in Tikinagan care by enacting a First Nation Mamow Obiki-ahwahsoowin Declaration (Mi hii kun). The First Nation may also make a Safe Home Declaration placing the child in a Community Safe Home, pending the completion of a home study; or place the child in an already approved foster home; or place the child at home, with or without conditions.
When a child is in care, the parents, children 12 years of age or over, the customary care parents and the First Nation may sign a Mamow Obiki-ahwahsoowin Care Agreement (Nih-kuh).
When a child must remain in care, the parties may enter into a Long-Term Mamow Obiki-ahwahsoowin Care Agreement that allows Tikinagan to care for the child until the child is 18 years old.
If a child cannot be left in the home and consensus cannot be reached, the First Nation may declare that the child be in Tikinagan care. Tikinagan will utilize the Talking Together program of NAN Legal Services or other alternate dispute resolution (ADR) processes in a further attempt to reach consensus.
As a last resort, Tikinagan may bring an application under The Child and Family Services Act before the Ontario Court of Justice. The priority is still to place a child with family members or another family in their home community.