Values and money

Earlier, we reported children and development's top bureaucrat Lesley du Toit would be gathering together community stakeholders to discuss "what values should guide our ministry in how we do our work." According to an initial government summary of that meeting, those values include the usual motherhood statements stressing the need for "respect and dignity," "honesty and integrity" and "courageous leadership" - etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. More newsworthy, though, is the recongition that ministry services should be "affordable and sustainable," as well as addressing "health and poverty" issues. Silo-busting also makes an appearance on the list - a favourite initiative among West Annexers. And so does the need to co-locate services. The following is a complete copy of that summary, which was obtained by Public Eye.

MCFD Transformation Workshop
Vision
* Respect and dignity
* Culturally appropriate and competent
* Community-based and child centred with youth and elder representation
* Provide services which are: Strength-based; integrated; (w)holistic; prevention-focused; and affordable/sustainable
* A healthy ministry that is proactive, highlights accomplishments and develops true partnerships.

Values for MCFD
* Child-centred, community-based
* Mutual decision-making
* Honesty and integrity
* Respectful and empathetic of all cultures, diversity
* Flexible and proactive and transparent
* Sustainable and affordable
* Holistic
* Integrated
* Adaptable (continuous learning)
* Courageous leadership
* Innovative
* Focused on the safety and well-being of children
* Service-oriented

Values with respect to provision of services
* Child-centred, community-based
* Choices for recipients, flexibility
* Integrated community-based services
* Accessible (flexible hours, locations) equal service delivery regardless of geography
* Competence (adequate training, resources and quality assurance)
* Culturally appropriate and respectful
* Proactive and prevention focused
* Flexible and responsive to change
* Accountable and consistent
* Guided by the wisdom of elders and advice of youth
* Collaborative, true partnership development
* Trusting and trustworthy
* Clear and understandable
* Cost-effective
* Ethical
* Research-based and innovative
* Addressing health and poverty "closing the gap"

Existing Best Practice Examples
* Child's Roots are Forever
* Cultural camps
* Transition houses in communities
* Alternate dispute Resolution
* Family-Group conferencing
* Prince George Urban Aboriginal Commission
* Out of care options
* Child and youth advocacy
* Youth Agreements
* Collaboration with non-profit service providers
* Child Youth Mental Health Friends program
* Safe Babies
* Family Healing program
* Safe Babies
* Family Healing Program
* Aboriginal adaptation of Infant Development Program
* FGC mediation
* Open Space Conferencing
* Regional planning teams
* Children, Youth, Mental Health planning
* Child and Youth Network Communities
* Protocol Agreements with First Nations communities
* Co-parenting by foster parents/natural parents
* Elders Council
* Family Development Response
* One Window Programs
* Women's Day celebration
* Family Conferencing Model
* Early Childhood Development community development
* Family Resource Centre in Prince George

Beginning of Framework
* Development of a continuum of services - no silos
* Co-location of services
* Integrated service delivery
* Take systemic issues into consideration i.e. poverty, underemployment, housing
* Strength-based, solution-focused
* Revisit existing policies to reflect both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal values and beliefs
* Cultural shift within MCFD needed first, framework second

***

Aboriginal Planning Session
Vision
As Aboriginal people, fully exercising our inherent title and rights through self-determination, we have strong and healthy children, youth and families.

Values
The relationship between Aboriginal peoples and the Crown in the area of children, youth and families will be based on, but not limited to, the following values:
* Respect for Aboriginal peoples' traditions, cultures and beliefs including governance structures and existing authorities
* Integrity
* Fairness and equity
* Transparency and accountability
* Consistency
Principles
* Aboriginal peoples will drive and implement their own process
* Commitment to:
- cultural identity, language and diversity,
- inclusivity
- including ongoing dialogue with elders and youth
* Ensure dual accountability at all levels of government and in the provision of services.
* We will provide the setting in which our children, youth and families can develop the fundamental attitudes and values which have an honoured place in Aboriginal tradition and culture.
* Child-centred, family-focused services, legislation and jurisdiction
* Recognition of Aboriginal people exercising our inherent right and responsibility in caring for our children and ensuring their safety and wellbeing
* Establish a mutually positive, respectful working relationship to enhance the safety and wellbeing of children
* All of our actions will be done in a timely, effective and responsive manner
* Committed to a learning cycle for continuous improvement based on action, reflection and renewed action.
* Existing policy and bureaucratic processes cannot be considered a rationale for not supporting the planning and delivery of services to Aboriginal children, youth and families in a manner determined by Aboriginal people.
Existing Best Practice Examples
Interior
* A Child's Roots are Forever (see MCFD Service delivery Model for Roots Practice for details)
* Ktunexa Kinbasket CFS - integrated services on/off reserve to all Aboriginal families and satellite community based offices
* Community Tables - local design and delivery of services based on consensual decision-making
* Cariboo Friendship Centre - recognized as one of Canada's "Top Employers” and the number 1 employer in terms of corporate citizenship
* "Long name” Society, Quesnel - has built a one window location for services with urban, Metis and First Nation Board of Directors
* MCFD Deputy Director position - hiring an Aboriginal person to mentor towards being the Aboriginal Director
* Lower Similkameen Indian Band - foster parent recruiting/ training project
* Aboriginal CYMH plan
* Supported Child Development service - joint MCFD/ APFA planning for service design and delivery

Fraser
* Xyolhemeylh Child and Family Services examples of best practices:
- Traditional counsellors
- Community development social workers
- Cultural camps
- Family homes
- Youth Emergency Placement Program
- Semi-Independent Living for Youth
- Sexual Abuse Intervention Program
- Prevention and Awareness Services
- Community Care Committees.

Vancouver Coastal
* The Aboriginal Mother Centre Society believes:
- in grassroots movement
- if you give women space, they will organize what they need in their communities
- every person has at least one gift (skills, cooking, cleaning, answering phones, sewing etc.) that they will learn to share in a Mother Centre
- we are a "child honouring” place
- food security is a priority, the AMCS provides breakfast, hot lunch, hot dinners to the most vulnerable children, youth and their families, 5 days a week, with over 1,700 meals served per month
- respect each other
- self help - you must take responsibility for your actions and changes in your life, with support from the AMCS

Vancouver Island
* Kwumut Youth Life Skills program - designed for children in care from ages 14-19. A group of 16 youth who are addressing issues from sexuality to anger management to budgeting. Intent is to give youth in care an opportunity to explore their Coast Salish culture's history, language and traditions which are also part of the curriculum. The end result is a more easy transition into independent living within their communities of origin.
* Sulhween Snuw'uyulh (Elders Group) - Eighteen elders for our nine nations have come together to provide guidance for our agency's operations/programs. They are currently active with our youth lifer skills program. Their role will be expanded once we reach C-6 (Level 15) delegation - Child Protection. They will provide guidance and information in areas such as child-rearing practices and the identification of potential caregivers of children in care.

Strategic Goals
Governance
* To ensure the recognition and /or development of Aboriginal governance structures and services that are responsive, accountable and relevant.
Legislation
* To develop and implement legislation for control and delivery of child and family services by Aboriginal people for Aboriginal people.
Strategic Partnerships/Alliances
* To establish strategic linkages within provincial and federal ministries to develop a coordinated, coherent, and cohesive strategy to address the multiple needs of Aboriginal children and families.
Resources
* To secure the human, monetary and capital resources that is based upon expressed prevention, protection and community development needs
Evaluation
* To develop and implement culturally-appropriate evaluation mechanisms to strengthen existing services and inform emerging services
Inclusivity
* To actively participate in all aspects of the development and implementation of Aboriginal child, youth and family services

5 Comments

...ah, there's the key right there. Just as in community living, "affordable and sustainable" is code for making do with whatever Cabinet decides should be left over for children and families once all the important stuff like new bridges and highways and gates are paid for.

This "affordable and sustainable" thing is more appropriately positioned in a special over-arching category because, as with CLBC, it totally defines how the rest of the wish list translates in reality.

...which is exactly why they need a lot more focus on "partnerships" (i.e. DIY)

...and why the vision of a healthy Ministry becomes one that "highlights accomplishments."

Oh well, more work for the PR guys and even less tolerance for talking about what's become "unaffordable"... at least until the next little Matthew or Sherry.

Wash/Rinse/Spin/Repeat

It took me awhile but I did manager to memorize all the vision, values and goals.

Okay, so what's next?

Perhaps its time to get on with the business of protecting children and supporting families. How much consultation is enough to know the system needs an atomic bomb dropped on it. Integration, collaboration and best practices, child centered with a focus on family. Its not rocket science.

This is what all those folks have come up with? Seems like a lot of resources being expended on continued navel gazing. How much has been spent so far on the studies, consultation etc.?

May I remind people that Hughes laid out a blue print. Let's stop wasting money navel-gazing that can be used to support children and families...and get on with the job.

Ms. du Toit makes a good politician. She talked a good game about consultation with staff in her first presentations. She discussed getting out & neeting all the staff in MCFD around the province. Yet, she's stayed in Victoria, or Vancouver and made no efforts to consult anyone past those borders, unless they're in management. Her consultation with other "stake-holders" can clearly be seen to be focusing on MCFD senior bureaucrats as evidenced by all the strokes for Family Group conferencing, an initiative that is being used to prevent kids from coming into care & getting them "off the books" as soon as possible. Laudable goals, if done for the right reasons and in the right way. MCFD has no need to keep outcome measures about whether these plans actually work & protect kids. Why let stats get in the way of a good scheme. Where is the consultation with staff around the province? Why place priority on consulting with "stakeholders" outside of the Ministry? What plans does the esteemed leader have to engage her staff who actually do the work in an ongoing discussion on "transforming services?" Her credibility as a leader is waning rather rapidly under promises that she has already demonstrated little intention of keeping to the staff of MCFD.

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