Dnaagdawenmag Binnoojiiyag Child and Family Services on the path to becoming a mandated child protection agency

Chiefs and Children’s Aid Society Executive Directors

The entire group of Chiefs from all seven First Nation communities and Children’s Aid Society Executive Directors posing in front of the beaded medallions of each clan. Photo by Sharon Monague, courtesy Dnaagdawenmag Binnoojiiyag Child and Family Services.

Dnaagdawenmag Binnoojiiyag Child and Family Services (DBCFS) is on its way to becoming a full-service child protection agency with the signing of the Protocol Concerning the Delivery of Child and Family Services.

As the umbrella agency serving seven First Nation communities in the central-eastern Ontario area covering Durham and York regions, the Bay of Quinte, Kawartha Haliburton, and Simcoe Muskoka, DBCFS delivers culturally appropriate services to children and families in seven First Nation communities. The signing of the Protocol recognizes the maturation of DBCFS as a separate child welfare service provider and will guide the cooperation between these First Nation communities and the five Children’s Aid Societies in the catchment area through the transition period towards designation.

“As Chairperson of the DBCFS Board of Directors, I could not be more proud of the positive relationship that we have built with the Children’s Aid Societies and the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Servicess,” said Hiawatha First Nation Chief Greg Cowie told the Northumberland View. “With the help of this new Protocol, we will continue to work together to build stronger communities and a healthy environment for our children to grow.”

Full designation by the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Servicess is a lengthy process that takes several years. Once DBCFS is designated, they will be a mandated agency under the Child, Youth and Family Services Act and will assume responsibility for providing the full range of child welfare services to First Nation communities, a responsibility that is currently shared with five Children’s Aid Societies.

“It’s increasingly recognized that there needs to be greater balance and transparency to the Ministry’s capacity assessment process,” says Karen Hill, Director of Indigenous Services at OACAS.

Designation of Indigenous child welfare agencies is a key step in the child welfare sector’s ongoing commitment to restoring the mandate back to the original people.