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Founded in 1985, Mi’kmaw Family and Children’s Services of Nova Scotia (MFCS) has spent the last 37 years evolving into the agency it is today. Since our creation, we have maintained an ever-present connection to Mi’kmaw families and communities and have kept focused on gaining independence and self-governance. We are already well on our way, and we will continue this process to make sure our children, families, and communities are supported.

Today, we are considered a leading Indigenous agency in Canada. The Assembly of Nova Scotia Mi’kmaw Chiefs have established the Maw-Kleyu’kik Knijannaq (MKK), or the “keeping our children together” initiative, which will see the Mi’kmaq take its rightful place in caring for our Mi’kmaw children and families.

They are involving our Mi’kmaw communities, organizations and partners to establish a new way forward, outside of Nova Scotia’s Children and Family Services Act, which currently governs our work, to better reflect the values and culture of the Mi’kmaw Nation.

At Mi’kmaw Family and Children’s Services, we have a long and proud history of community members and leadership who worked together to shape our organization into what it is today, and whose legacy is guiding our continued journey.

Remembering Helen Martin

As one of the co-founders of the Nova Scotia Native Women's Association in 1972, Helen Martin's name is synonymous with the provincial association. But Helen Martin was more than that. She was a walking encyclopedia of historical facts on Mi'kmaw religion, history and Mi'kmaw culture in general.

Helen Martin2

Dr. Glode's Legacy

Her vast career accomplishments are many, including her role as the founding Executive Director of Mi’kmaq Family and Children’s Services. In this role, Dr. Glode oversaw service support to Mi’kmaq communities in Nova Scotia and extended the organization’s reach to serve all Indigenous families in the province.

Joan gloade62

Our Timeline


November 1 - Nova Scotia ends Birth Alerts as per a recommendation from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report.


January 1 - The FNIM ACT (A Federal Act respecting Indigenous, Metis, and Inuit Children Youth and Families in relation to Child and Family Services) is implemented in Canada and is given full jurisdiction over Provincial Legislation.


May 17 - MFCSNS held its official grand opening of the new MFCNS building in Eskasoni. On February 11, 2019, the actual move to the new MFCSNS building began. Before, few departments had rental locations throughout Eskasoni and Sydney. There were 97 staff currently working at Eskasoni MFCSNS building.

April 26 - MFCSNS officially opens its third office in Bear River First Nation to allow for better service coverage for Mi’kmaq Communities in the southern part of the Province.


March 1 - The legislated changes of the Child and Family Services Act of Nova Scotia came into effect to reflect the unique needs of the Mi’kmaq of NS, as well as other needed changes in Child Welfare.


Natalie J. (Curly) Doucette becomes the 1st Mi’kmaq Child Welfare Specialist with the Department of Community Services.


The Province of Nova Scotia opens up the Child and Family Services Act for changes and allows for the Chiefs of NS and MFCSNS to submit recommendations that will reflect their unique needs and culture.


Arlene Johnson of Eskasoni First Nation is appointed Executive Director of MFCSNS.


Dr. Joan Glode retires as Executive Director of MFCSNS, and Arlene Johnson is appointed Acting Executive Director. This same year, Chief Lawrence Paul retires as Board President and Chief Debbie Robinson, Acadia First Nation becomes the President of the Board of Directors.


Custom adoption ceremony was held.


MFCSNS holds it first Family Group Conferencing Circle. This is the first of many culturally appropriate practices to be initiated by the Agency.


June 4 - The Millbrook Healing Center opens it doors. This will service the Communities in Mainland Nova Scotia allowing the Waycobah Healing Center to service the Unamaki Communities.


March 13 - The Waycobah Healing Center opens its doors. This Women’s and Children’s Domestic Violence Center offers in-house service to women and children around issues of Domestic Violence. It also offers services to Men, Women, and Children on an Outreach Basis in Mi'kmaw Communities.


Enough students receive their BSW to assume all mandated services from the province.


October - The Province transfers all of our children in the permanent care and custody of the agency.


Chief Lawrence Paul, Millbrook First Nation is elected the President of the Board of Directors for MFCSNS following an Annual Assembly. This is due to the Federal Government not fully embracing the Grassroots Board. The full Board is now compromised of all the Chiefs of NS, the President of the NSNWA and the Grand Chief of the Mi'kmaw Nation.


October 21 - Mi'kmaw Family & Children’s of Nova Scotia is established and given authority for Child Welfare Services on Reserves and will work jointly with Provincial Child Welfare Agencies. Joan Glode is appointed as the first Executive Director. The Board of Directors is made up of grassroots individuals from the Micmac Communities. Staff members include Mi'kmaq Social Workers who were part of the Mi'kmaq BSW Program of the Maritime School of Social Work and other Mi'kmaq Support Staff.


June 22-25 - NS Mi’kmaq Leaders, Maritime School of SW, NSNWA, and others meet at Liscombe Lodge to address Mi’kmaq taking control of Child Welfare on Reserves in NS. 60 delegates from across the country and the community gather at Liscombe Lodge to develop the blueprint which led to a specialized training program that became the Mi'kmaw BSW Program and the Mi'kmaw Agency, along with the host of other initiatives, including Ulnooweg Development.

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