March 21, 2018
One day, Sofia accompanied her good friend on a life-changing journey, to bring home her newly-adopted child. Sofia is from Portugal, where children in need of foster care have always been housed in group settings – first in orphanages, and now in residential homes with an average of 12 children per home. Sofia assumed that she and her friend were headed to an orphanage, and so she was surprised when they stopped at a single family dwelling and were met by a foster family that had been caring for her friend’s child.
Sofia was so impressed by the concept of foster families that she and her husband made the decision to foster children through our agency. She also spoke to her godmother Clara in Portugal about foster families. Clara is a psychologist and adoption worker at the Santa Casa Misericórdia in Lisbon, a national social service agency that manages all child welfare programs in the country. She and her colleagues understood the benefits that children experience when they are fostered by a family, and new laws were moving the system towards family-based foster care. But there was little infrastructure in place to support this change.
So Clara came to visit her goddaughter in Hamilton, and met with staff here at CCASH who manage our fostering programs. She was impressed – so impressed that she arranged to come back with three of her colleagues on an official visit to learn as much as they could for implementation in Portugal.
This visit took place in November 2017. For over a week, Clara and her colleagues talked with and shadowed our staff as they did their work in our foster program. They met foster parents, and sat in on a multi-day training program for new foster families. They attended our annual Youth Day, which is where this picture was taken.
They learned a lot about the nuts and bolts of managing a foster program. But what they were most impressed by was the high degree of respect they observed in our approach to the children, youth and families who are part of the foster program. They saw this manifested in our systems and processes, and also in the way our staff interacted with clients.
We also learned valuable lessons from them. The adoption system in Portugal is robust and well managed and so they shared some of their wisdom with our adoption staff. Multidisciplinary teams are the norm in the Portuguese child welfare system; social workers and psychologists work together to ensure the best outcomes for children. This has significant benefits for all involved in the system.
Sofia’s initial encounter with the concept of foster families was life-changing in many ways. It changed Sofia’s and her family’s life when they became a foster family. It changed Clara’s life by exposing her to new ways of working in the child welfare system. And it will change the lives of all the Portuguese children who benefit from this wonderful relationship between CCASH and the Santa Casa Misericórdia.
February 26, 2018
In fall 2017, 4 staff members from Ogwadeni:deo Six Nations Child Welfare spent 4 weeks at our agency, observing our practices and approaches and sharing their own insights about child welfare and the Six Nations community.
Ogwadeni:deo means “taking care of our own” in Mohawk. In the midst of national conversations about the need for change in the way that Indigenous children, youth and families interact with the child welfare system, it’s wonderful that Ogwadeni:deo recently completed the child welfare designation process, becoming the primary child welfare organization serving Indigenous people in the Six Nations, Brantford and Brant County areas.
As part of the designation process, Charity, Connie, Dion, and Nicole from Ogwadeni:deo spent time with CCASH staff, observing client interactions in a range of situations, participating in a Signs of Safety training program (an innovative approach to child protection casework), and having discussions with our staff about the complexities of child protection work with both Indigenous and non-Indigenous clients.
Connie, Nicole, Charity, and Dion from Ogwadeni:deo
At the end of their month with us, they had identified some similarities between our two agencies. They commented on the transparency that our staff brought to their client interactions, and noted how important transparency is when working with Indigenous clients. They also commented on the shared spiritual focus of our agencies, and how it enriched our client services. There were differences too, from which our staff learned important lessons about working with Indigenous clients in Hamilton.
We look forward to working with Ogwadeni:deo as a sister organization, ensuring the safety and wellbeing of children and youth in Southern Ontario, and to continuing the dialogue that was started with Charity, Connie, Dion, and Nicole.
À l’automne 2017, quatre membres du personnel de l’organisme d’aide à l’enfance Ogwadeni:deo de la communauté des Six Nations ont passé quatre semaines dans notre société afin d’observer nos pratiques et approches et de partager leurs propres points de vue à propos du bien-être de l’enfance et de la communauté des Six Nations.
Ogwadeni:deo signifie « prendre soin des nôtres » en langue mohawk. Dans le contexte des conversations qui ont actuellement lieu au pays sur la nécessité de changer la façon dont les enfants, les jeunes et les familles autochtones interagissent avec le système de protection de l’enfance, il est fantastique qu’Ogwadeni:deo ait récemment achevé le processus pour obtenir la désignation d’organisme de bien-être de l’enfance, devenant le principal organisme de ce type à servir les Autochtones dans les régions des Six Nations, de la ville de Brantford et du comté de Brant.
Dans le cadre du processus de désignation, Charity, Connie, Dion et Nicole d’Ogwadeni:deo ont passé du temps avec le personnel de la SAECH afin d’observer ses interactions avec les clients dans diverses situations. Ils ont participé à un programme de formation sur les indicateurs de sécurité (une approche novatrice pour traiter les dossiers de protection de l’enfance) et discuté avec notre personnel de la complexité du travail de protection de l’enfance auprès des clients autochtones et non autochtones.
À la conclusion de leur séjour en notre compagnie, nos collègues invités ont fait ressortir certaines ressemblances entre nos deux organismes. Ils ont parlé de la transparence dont fait preuve notre personnel au cours de ses interactions avec les clients et indiqué à quel point la transparence est importante dans le cadre du travail auprès des clients autochtones. Ils ont aussi évoqué le caractère spirituel que partagent nos organismes respectifs et la façon dont il enrichit les services que nous offrons à nos clients. Nous avons également constaté certaines différences, qui ont permis à notre personnel de tirer d’importantes leçons à propos du travail avec les clients autochtones à Hamilton.
Nous sommes enthousiastes à l’idée de travailler avec Ogwadeni:deo à titre d’organisation sœur dans le but de veiller à la sécurité et au bien-être des enfants et des jeunes du Sud de l’Ontario, et de poursuivre le dialogue entrepris avec Charity, Connie, Dion et Nicole.
July 25, 2016
Ontario is investing in repairs and renovations at non-profit agencies in Hamilton as part of its Partner Facility Renewal Program that will help community agencies remain safe, secure and accessible to the children, youth and families they serve.
This morning, Ted McMeekin, MPP for Ancaster-Dundas-Flamborough-Westdale, was joined by Minister of Finance, Charles Sousa at Governing Council of The Salvation Army – Grace Haven in Hamilton to announce over $585,000 in funding for the 16 projects.
Through the annual Partner Facility Renewal program, the Ministry of Children and Youth Services is investing $15 million for upgrades and repairs at more than 140 community agencies across Ontario. These investments help children’s treatment centres, children’s aid societies and youth centres better serve Ontario’s children, youth and families.
Supporting community agencies that help those most in need is part of the government’s economic plan to build Ontario up and deliver on its number-one priority to grow the economy and create jobs. The four-part plan includes investing in talent and skills, including helping more people get and create the jobs of the future by expanding access to high-quality college and university education. The plan is making the largest investment in public infrastructure in Ontario’s history and investing in a low-carbon economy driven by innovative, high-growth, export-oriented businesses. The plan is also helping working Ontarians achieve a more secure retirement.
“Children, youth and families rely on the services that our local agencies provide. This investment means that agencies can keep their facilities in good condition and keep their focus where it is most needed.”
— Ted McMeekin, MPP Ancaster Dundas Flamborough Westdale
“While Ontario is making historic investments to build new roads, bridges, transit systems, schools and hospitals, it is equally important to maintain existing infrastructure across the province in good repair. Strategic investments in local projects and renovations like these, sustain jobs and stimulates the economy and supports critical services in the greater Hamilton area.”
— Charles Sousa, Minister of Finance
“Ontario’s children’s treatment centres, children’s aid societies and youth centres are there to support families by delivering essential services to our children and youth. Investing in their facilities is critical so that they can stay focused on helping young people thrive.”
— Michael Coteau, Minister of Children and Youth Service