Child Welfare’s Reconciliation Pathway

The Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Societies’ acknowledgment and apology for the harmful role child welfare has played historically, and continues to play, in the lives of Ontario Indigenous children, families, and communities is an important point on the sector’s path to Reconciliation. However, the Reconciliation pathway does not have an end. See the timeline below to trace the journey so far.

Aboriginal Services Advisory Committee formed

April 1, 2011

Aboriginal Services Advisory Committee formed

OACAS formed an Aboriginal Services Advisory Committee composed of Executive Directors of five Aboriginal child welfare agencies, along with five Executive Directors of non-Aboriginal agencies serving large Indigenous populations. The Committee was formed to address issues and advise the OACAS Board on increasing the organization’s responsiveness to the needs of…

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OACAS Strategic Plan 2012-2017

April 1, 2012

OACAS Strategic Plan 2012-2017

OACAS identified supporting and collaborating with Ontario Indigenous communities in bettering the health, well-being, and life chance of Indigenous children as one of its four strategic directions in its five-year strategic plan.

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Development of a Reconciliation Framework begins

January 1, 2013

The Aboriginal Services Advisory Committee started work to develop a “Reconciliation Framework” to guide Reconciliation efforts within Ontario’s child welfare sector.

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First annual Aboriginal Youth-in-Care Gathering

August 10, 2013

First annual Aboriginal Youth-in-Care Gathering

The first annual Aboriginal Youth-in-Care Gathering (later renamed the Indigenous Youth-in-Care Gathering) took place at Seneca College in conjunction with the annual YouthCAN conference. The event was envisioned as a way to support Indigenous youth in care to remain connected to their cultures, languages, and traditions.

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Sharing a Good Heart: Reconciliation Framework

December 1, 2013

Sharing a Good Heart: Reconciliation Framework

The Aboriginal Services Advisory Committee released the Sharing a Good Heart: Reconciliation Framework. The Framework serves as a guide for Children’s Aid Societies (CASs) to asses their existing child welfare practices and relationships with the Indigenous communities they serve. It provides questions for consideration to support CASs in dialoguing about,…

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Second annual Indigenous Youth-in-Care Gathering

July 8, 2014

Second annual Indigenous Youth-in-Care Gathering

The second annual Indigenous Youth-in-Care Gathering took place at the Bark Lake Leadership Centre in Kawartha-Haliburton. Youth participated in several days of cultural workshops and activities, including canoeing, kayaking, and archery.

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Sharing a Good Heart Symposium

October 7, 2014

OACAS hosted the “Sharing a Good Heart Symposium”.  The event was the experiential component organized to accompany the release of The Other Side of the Door: A Practice Guide for Child Welfare Professionals in Working with First Nation, Inuit and Métis Peoples. This took place at Kempenfelt Resort, where non-Indigenous…

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The Other Side of the Door

November 3, 2014

The Other Side of the Door

OACAS released The Other Side of the Door: A Practice Guide for Child Welfare Professionals in Working with First Nation, Inuit and Métis Peoples. The practice guide was developed by Kenn Richard, Executive Director, Native Child and Family Services of Toronto, to strengthen understanding of the history of colonization within…

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Restoration of Jurisdiction survey completed

June 1, 2015

A Restoration of Jurisdiction survey was completed by all OACAS member agencies. The results provided a snapshot of where agencies were at that moment in time, along the continuum of Reconciliation with Indigenous people and communities, compared against the Reconciliation Framework.

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Third annual Indigenous Youth-in-Care Gathering

July 7, 2015

Third annual Indigenous Youth-in-Care Gathering

The third annual Indigenous Youth-in-Care Gathering was held again at Bark Lake. Youth came together to celebrate their culture, traditions, and identities through various workshops and activities. Blake, an Indigenous youth in care, shared his most memorable moments with OACAS here.

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Child welfare sector launches Call to Action

January 1, 2016

Child welfare sector launches Call to Action

In the Call to Action, OACAS began collecting and distributing samples of resources to assist agencies in furthering Reconciliation with Indigenous people and communities. As part of this work, OACAS developed an online tool for members which maps the proximity and information of First Nation communities and Indigenous resource centres/organizations…

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Responding to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission report

January 15, 2016

Responding to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission report

OACAS made a renewed commitment to Reconciliation following the release of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s (TRC) report, which includes five recommendations directed at child welfare.

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Development of a Memorandum of Understanding with ANCFSAO

March 1, 2016

Development of a Memorandum of Understanding with ANCFSAO

The Association of Native Child and Family Service Agencies of Ontario (ANCFSAO) and the OACAS began discussions regarding a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to work together in a collaborative and coordinated partnership to improve outcomes for Indigenous children and families. This includes assisting to build capacity at ANCFSAO and Indigenous…

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First Bringing Our Minds Together Think Tank

April 5, 2016

OACAS hosted the first Bringing Our Minds Together Think Tank, a gathering of Ontario First Nations, Inuit, and Métis community leaders and service agencies to help inform OACAS and the child welfare sector’s Reconciliation journey.

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Fourth annual Indigenous Youth-in-Care Gathering

July 12, 2016

Fourth annual Indigenous Youth-in-Care Gathering

OACAS hosted the fourth annual Indigenous Youth-in-Care Gathering at Bark Lake. Youth from across the province participated in three days of cultural workshops and activities focused on building community.

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Emerging Practices/Actions survey launched

July 15, 2016

An Emerging Practices/Actions survey was designed to capture developments in the sector that may facilitate Reconciliation, as well as samples of Reconciliation best practices that could be shared across the sector.

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Resource Information Overview: Emerging Practices in Child Welfare Sector to Support Indigenous Communities

December 1, 2016

Resource Information Overview: Emerging Practices in Child Welfare Sector to Support Indigenous Communities

OACAS released Resource Information Overview: Emerging Practices in Child Welfare Sector to Support Indigenous Communities. This resulted from the Bringing Our Minds Together Think Tank and the Emerging Practice/Actions survey released in summer of 2016, where it was suggested that information be compiled to showcase what reconciliation practices were actually…

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Winter leadership camp for Indigenous youth in care

December 9, 2016

Winter leadership camp for Indigenous youth in care

OACAS hosted an inaugural youth leadership gathering for older Indigenous youth. The winter camp focused on building leadership skills and facilitating a conversation about creating a provincial Indigenous youth advocacy council.

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New child protection worker curriculum launched

January 9, 2017

New child protection worker curriculum launched

OACAS launched a revamped set of curriculum for Ontario’s child protection workers. The Child Welfare Pathway to Authorization Series is designed to be more responsive and better reflect the realities of child welfare work in Ontario using an anti-oppressive framework. It covers topic such as equity, human rights, and anti-racism,…

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Second Bringing Our Minds Together Think Tank

April 4, 2017

OACAS hosted the second Bringing Our Minds Together Think Tank for the group to reconnect and to present the findings of the Emerging Practices/Actions survey. At this event, participants agreed that the timing was right for an apology from the Ontario child welfare sector to Indigenous communities and families.

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Ontario child welfare sector unanimously agrees to 8 Reconciliation commitments

June 6, 2017

The Ontario child welfare sector unanimously agreed to eight commitments to further the Reconciliation agenda. Children’s Aid Societies committed to: Reduce the number of Indigenous children in care Reduce the number of legal files Increase the use of formal customary care agreements Track and report the number of Indigenous local…

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Fifth annual Indigenous Youth-in-Care Gathering

July 28, 2017

OACAS hosted its fifth annual summer Indigenous Youth-in-Care Gathering, this time at Geneva Park in Orillia. The three days again focused on providing Indigenous youth with the opportunity to connect with, and celebrate, their culture, language, and traditions.

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Indigenous acknowledgement and apology gathering

October 1, 2017

Indigenous acknowledgement and apology gathering

OACAS will host a gathering to apologize for and acknowledge the role the child welfare sector has played historically, and continues to play, in the lives of Ontario’s Indigenous children, families, and communities.

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