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Our programs and services provide children, youth and families with the supports and services they need to ensure their well-being, protect families and support healing. We offer child and youth programs, support programs, community programs, kinship services, temporary care services, early intervention services, foster care services, adoption services and so much more. See program details below.

Mi’kmaw Family Healing Program | Nepitmumkl Mu’kmawe’l Wkjiksu’l

The Mi’kmaw Family Healing Program (MFHP) runs the Mi’kmaw Family Healing Centres (Transition Houses) located in Millbrook First Nation and the We’koqma’q First Nation.

Our Healing Centres provide a place of safety for women and children and provide outreach programs to men, women and children who experience any form of violence.

  • Men’s Outreach Program and “Journey of the Two Wolves | Tapusijik Paqtismk”

    The Men’s Outreach program provides Mi’kmaw men the opportunity to receive important knowledge and education about being in a non-abusive relationship. The program includes the Journey of Two Wolves workshop, as well as support, education groups and one-to-one counselling.

  • Women’s Outreach Program

    The Women’s Outreach program provides education, phone/virtual support, and advocacy for women in their own communities. Topics covered by the program include trauma, self-esteem, grief and loss, parenting, options to anger, relapse prevention, intimate partner violence, healthy and unhealthy relationships, and more.

  • In-House Program

    The In-House program works with clients in their homes by providing support, programming, advocacy, transportation, referrals, parenting assistance, budgeting, meal planning and more. The program offers education on the topics of intimate partner violence, healthy/unhealthy relationships, safety planning, nobody’s perfect, little eyes little ears, beyond anger, healing journey, beyond trauma and violence, self-esteem, relapse preventions and more.

Family Support and Case Aid Program | Apoqnmujik Wkjiksu’k

The Family Support program provides Mi’kmaq families with the parenting skills, life skills and access to community resources that help them provide a better life for themselves and their children. We also help youth prepare for independent living.

Services are provided to men, women and children in all First Nation communities in Nova Scotia through family-based practice/home visitation, working collaboratively with Agency and Community resources.

Referrals to the Family Support Program are received from Intake and Investigations, Long Term Protection Services, Permanent Care and Custody, and Temporary Care and Custody.

The goal of family support involvement is to strengthen and enhance parenting skills so parents can create and maintain a safe, nurturing, and healthy environment for their children.

  • Case Aid

    The Case Aid program helps schedule, train, help and recruit service providers. The program assists social workers with providing services to families, children and adults, such as transportation, access visitation and youth support.

Child Protection – Intake and Investigations | Teli-ikaluj Mijua’ji’jk-Koqqwa’luj Mijua’ji’jk aqq Pipanuijkatekemk

The Intake and Investigation team’s primary role is to evaluate risk and guarantee the safety and well-being of children in their homes. This role is always carried out with children’s best interests in mind and with the least disruptive methods possible. Per the Agency’s mandate, the team’s focus is to maintain the integrity of the family according to our Mi’kmaw cultural values and beliefs.

As with the entire Agency, the Intake and Investigation team works towards the common goal of families being able to parent children safely without agency intervention.

Child Protection – Temporary Care and Custody | Teli-ikaluj Mijua-ji’jk – Maqatewi-ankweyut Mijua’ji’jk

The Temporary Care and Custody program investigates reports of alleged child abuse and neglect, attempts to reduce the risk of harm, and provides out-of-home support to children when a child is about to be harmed and the child’s safety cannot be guaranteed any other way. The chance of harm occurring can be reduced with the involvement of the parent, the program’s team, and from the agency.

The goal of the program is to return children to their parents. When reunification cannot happen due to continued risks to the child/youth, the program creates a permanency plan for the child/youth. Permanency planning may include exploring Kinship or Foster Care, Adoption, or Permanent Care and Custody (PCC) – in all cases, the Agency prioritizes placement within the community where possible.

Child Protection – Long-Term Protection Services | Teli-ikaluj Mijua’ji’jk – Siawa’sik Teli-ikaluj Mijua’ji’jk

The Long-Term Protection program begins working with families once the Intake and Investigation stage is complete and an identified child protection concern is identified. The program offers supports and services to families’ children/youth to prevent or reduce any identified protection concerns.

Once a family feels open to long-term services, a safe case plan is developed. Family members are invited to participate in a Wikimanej Kikmanaq, or “family group conference,” to create family and community supports and to build a case plan based on the identified needs of the child, family and caregivers involved. The Wikimanej Kikmanaq is a critical part of the process and is one of the greatest strengths of our program when it comes to creating a Mi’kmaw case plan that is positive and understood by everyone involved.

The Long-Term Protection program is committed to keeping children with family and community whenever possible, with two options to encourage this outcome:

  • Early Intervention Agreement

    When the risk to a child is low, families can work with the Long-Term Protection program to come to an Early Intervention Agreement. As part of an Early Intervention Agreement, families collaborate and cooperate with the Agency, voicing a willingness to work with the Agency to alleviate risks to the child(ren).

  • Alternative Family Care Program

    The Agency offers funding through the Alternative Family Care program to keep children with their extended families or in their communities instead of with the Agency. This program has reduced the number of children in Temporary and Long-Term Care, allowing them to be with family and community members during the difficult times in their lives.

Children in Permanent Care and Custody | Siaw-wsua’luj Mijua’ji’j

The Children in Permanent Care and Custody program (PCC) is designed to care for the children/youth who come into the permanent care and custody of the agency. Many of the children/youth in this program no longer reside with their biological family.

The program works closely with foster families, kinship families, biological families, and youth to ensure that their child(ren) will be safe and healthy in the Agency’s custody. The program’s goal is to guide and assist children/youth through life, with case workers acting as “wise and conscientious parents” at all times. The Children in Care team works closely with the Family and Community Resource program to provide appropriate workshops and programs for our youth.

Kinship Care and Foster Care | Anko’tasultijik Mijua’ji’jk

The role of the Foster Care department is to provide children and youth who have come into the care of Mi’kmaw Family & Children’s Services (MFCS) with an alternative family environment. Our goal is to ensure that the children who are in the care of the Agency are placed in a Mi’kmaw foster/kinship home, ideally within the child’s community. On-going support is available to general foster caregivers and kinship caregivers by their assigned Social Workers and the MAAK program. There are also various training programs that offer support though training, such as the Parent Resources for Information, Development and Education Modules (PRIDE), Pre-Service training, and A Traditions of Caring Program. This level of care ensures that children placed in these homes are fully supported while in transition.

  • What are Foster Caregivers

    Foster caregiving can be a rewarding and fulling experience. Foster caregivers provide day-to-day care for a child who is in the care of the Agency. They provide children with a stable, loving home that will enable children to grow and develop to their full potential.

    Foster caregivers can have various backgrounds, including religious affiliations, marital status, and income levels. All you need is a genuine desire to want to help a child or youth in care.

    Kinship Caregivers can be related to the child or have a strong pre-existing connection with them through their community. Kinship Caregiver applicants can contact the Children in Care Social Worker of their relative they wish to open their home for. The Children in Care Social Worker submits a referral to the Foster Care Team. Kinship Caregivers are also required to take A Traditions of Caring Training to open.

    General Foster Caregivers are those who have completed the required Pre-service training and assessments by the Agency for General Foster Care. The Caregivers can provide care for children who they are related to and also provide care for children who they are not related to. General Foster Caregivers can also be Respite providers for other Foster Caregivers and can be a Short Term Placement home.

  • Parent Resources for Information, Development, and Education (PRIDE) Pre-Training

    The PRIDE (Parent Resources for Information, Development, and Education) Pre-Service training program is a training program for prospective Foster Caregivers and is a model for the development and support of resource families. It is designed to strengthen the quality of family foster care services by providing a standardized, structured framework for recruiting, preparing, and selecting foster caregivers and adoptive caregivers.

    All prospective foster caregivers are required to complete the PRIDE Pre-Service program to become approved as a foster home and to attend other foster family training.

  • PRIDE Module Training

    PRIDE Module training is offered to promote the development of skills required to provide ongoing foster family education and support. Education and training services improve foster family retention by providing specialized training designed to develop and enhance foster caregivers’ knowledge and skills.

  • Are You Interested in Becoming a Foster Caregiver

    If you have the ability to help a child, provide a stable loving environment and have a lot of love to give, we encourage you to start the process today!

    Please call 1-800-263-8686 (Mainland) or 1-800-263-8300 (Eskasoni) or email us at Link the email address here

Adoption Program | Siaw-wsua’lut aqq kiskwenut Mijua’ji’j

The Adoption program provides children who need permanent homes with loving families. Without the opportunity for adoption, there would be children in our communities who lack the stability, support, nurturing, and attention needed to achieve proper physical, social, and emotional development.

All children need a stable and continuous relationship with a nurturing person to promote their physical, social, emotional, and intellectual development. For our children in care, these relationships are especially important to prevent early traumatic experiences, which often put children at greater risk of homelessness, failure to finish high school, unemployment, and substance misuse.

When children in out-of-home care cannot be reunited with their birth families, adoption is often the safest alternative. Adoption provides the most stable, legally binding relationship between the children in permanent care and their adoptive parents. Our foster parents often become adoptive parents to the children they foster, should that child not be able to return home.

Should children not be able to return to their birth families, it is our primary goal to have these children be adopted by their relatives. We believe a positive and nurturing environment will help children grow to their full potential. Working together with our adoptive families as a team toward a common goal allows us to provide services that help children reach their full potential.

Whenever possible, we want our children to remain with their families and in their home communities. If they cannot, we look to other Mi’kmaw families residing both on and off First Nation communities for adoption.

Wikimanej Kikmanaq Family Group Conference Program

The Wikimanej Kikmanaq Family Group Conference has its roots in Indigenous traditions, where the care of and decision making for children and families is the responsibility of the extended family and community.

The Mi’kmaw Family Group Conference is based on our Mi’kmaq values, beliefs, traditions, and customs, which have been preserved in our language and the collective cultural identity of the Mi’kmaw people. The Family Group Conference shifts the power to decide back to the families and empowers families to take responsibility for their children. As the supervisor of this process, the Agency retains the responsibility to ensure Family Group Conferences result in plans and strategies that satisfy the child(ren)’s best interests. This process is meant to uphold the integrity and dignity of the family group by helping them take the initiative in planning how to resolve their own issues.

Family & Community Resource Program | Maw-lukutimk Apoqnmuksinew Wkjisu’k aqq Wutanl

The Family & Community Resource Program works directly with our Mi’kmaw First Nation communities, community partners, and stakeholders to identify, develop, and enhance support services and resources to assist with the Agency’s program delivery. All programs are delivered in partnership with Interagency Committees, First Nations schools, Health Directors & Centers, Mental Health & Addiction Services, the Native Friendship Centre, NADACA and Chief & Councils

Blessings of Life Coordinator | Weli-Iknmakwemk Iltaqne’watk

As a commitment to reconciliation, Mi’kmaw Family and Children’s Services of NS wishes to honor the historical-cultural strengths and beauty of Mi’kmaw practices beliefs and values.

The Weli-Iknmakwemk Iltaqne’watk plays an important role in honoring and supporting Mi’kmaw women and families throughout their pregnancy journey to establish connections through community-based, culturally safe, and relevant prevention and early intervention programs and services, through trauma-informed practices.

Questions for Mi’kmaw Family & Children’s Services?

MFCS offers programs and services to help children, youth, and families lead healthy lives. If you feel we can help you, your family, or someone you care about, please contact us to discuss what we can do together.

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