Niijaasaananik Child and Family Services mission and mandate is to place children with family and community first with a preference to utilize Customary Care above all other permanency options.

It is the desire of the Agency that Customary Care Agreements be reached before any court applications are required.

Respecting that each community has their own values and beliefs and ways of doing things, the Agency has developed protocols with each First Nation that outlines the specific steps necessary when proceeding with a Customary Care Agreement.

The Rights of Anishnaabe children are inherent and forever in all our customary care practices. Click here to see more.

Customary Care is recognized under Part IV of the Child, Youth and Family Services Act, 2017. The First Nation, Inuit or Metis community has the legal right to declare that a First Nations, Inuit or Metis child is being cared for under customary care, a society or entity may grant a subsidy to the person caring for the child. (Part IV, Section 71 of CYFSA)

Customary Care refers to an arrangement for an extended family member or other Band member to care for another family’s children, because their own parents are not able to provide care or protect them. When the child’s protection cannot be ensured with their parents, the extended family or community members may be able to provide care until the parents are able to resume caregiving. Such an arrangement can be short or long term.

Customary Care Coordinator will:

  • Work collaboratively with families, First Nations and protection agencies to develop Customary Care agreements
  • Provide education and awareness on Customary Care programs and service

  • Coordinates and ensures all the proper documentation is completed for the implementation of the customary care agreement

  • Monitors and assists in regular reviews of Customary Care agreements

Niijaansinaanik Child and Family Services has been working on developing a customary care program that is based on Indigenous cultural belief systems and that recognizes and respects inherent rights of Indigenous people. The agency has a Customary Care Coordinator who works collaboratively with the First Nations and Protection Agencies to Develop Customary Care Agreements. The Coordinator has provided education and awareness to the First Nations and has assisted in the review and development of several Customary Care Agreements.

The agency has completed a Draft Customary Care Manual.  Over the past year, the workers have been providing education/awareness sessions throughout the region. The agency workers are coordinating, monitoring, providing support and ensuring all the proper documentation is completed.  Successful completion of all agreements have required working collaboratively with the families, First Nations and Children’s Aid Societies.