SAULT STE. MARIE (September 13, 2017) – The Anishinabek Nation and Ontario have established a strong partnership with the Anishinabek Family Well-Being Program. Last year, through both Walking Together: Ontario’s Long-Term Strategy to End Violence Against Indigenous Women and the Ontario Indigenous Children and Youth Strategy, Ontario made three-year funding commitment for the Family Well-Being program focusing on improved outcomes for children, youth and families.  This includes an increase in community wellness, safe spaces and a reduction of children in the child welfare and youth justice systems.

Anishinabek Nation Grand Council Chief Patrick Madahbee says that collaboration has been the catalyst to move this important initiative forward.

“The responsibility of taking care of our children is enhanced by the cooperation we have received from Ontario,” says Madahbee. “We are also looking forward to full implementation of our Child Well-Being Law on April 1, 2018.”

Minister of Children and Youth Services, Michael Coteau, had this to add about the Family Well-Being program.

“These training opportunities for workers are an important opportunity to deepen the impact of the Family Well-Being program. Through this program, Anishinabek First Nations are providing holistic, prevention-based programs and services that support the healthy development of Anishinabek children, youth, families and communities,” says Minister Coteau.  “Our partnership with Anishinabek Nation will help us move closer towards the vision of the Ontario Indigenous Children and Youth Strategy.”

The Anishinabek Family Well-Being Program (AFWB) provided its first training session to some 40 Anishinabek Nation communities this week.

Grand Council Chief Madahbee says that the Family Well-Being workers are eager to learn how best to support their citizens using culture as an intervention, as well as providing a safe space.

“The objective of the training session is to provide a solid foundation for the new workers and connecting them to their new Family Well-Being network,” says Grand Council Chief Madahbee. “They will gain or expand knowledge of the root causes of violence, learn wise approaches for safety planning and how best support their new safe spaces in a cultural way.  Workers will gain relevant tools that can be used confidently in a community setting.”

The training follows a holistic and balanced approach by acknowledging the four quadrants of the Medicine Wheel.