Child welfare has been implicated in the legacies of Residential Schools which has contributed to the over-representation of indigenous families, youth and children in the child welfare system. An important step in rebuilding our relationship with indigenous peoples would involve genuine and sustainable dialogue and advanced progress on shared priorities. Early engagement, timely communication and consultation with our indigenous communities remain a high priority for our agency.
Peel CAS is consulting with Indigenous practitioners from the local community and across the province to assist in the development and implementation of an Indigenous strategy for the agency. As part of this strategy, we have established an Indigenous table consisting of Elders and child welfare practitioners that would provide advice and consultation in all areas of our work including, but not limited to case consultations, development, implementation and evaluation of our strategy.
In November 2021, Peel CAS and Native Child and Family Services of Toronto announced a formal agreement between our organizations, so that children in the care of Peel CAS who identify as Indigenous can be referred and/or transferred to NCFST. NCFST offers a multitude of culturally grounded support services that work to enhance the resurgence of Indigenous identity and well-being. This arrangement will help to ensure that Indigenous children, youth, and families in Peel receive services that best meet their needs and preserve their cultural connections.
We are committed to active consultation and engagement with Indigenous peoples, practitioners, and local communities in the development of a holistic and culturally responsive service that would assist us in the implementation of the child welfare Nine Reconciliation Commitments.