Customary Care Agreements are a priority to ensure children and youth remain with family and community. It is desired that Customary Care Agreements be reached before any court applications are required. The program individualizes each Agreement, encompassing traditional practices and/or healthy child-rearing and care. All members of the family, extended family, relatives, and community are involved in caring for children, whose families experience difficulties.

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.

This model of Customary Care will be implemented only if the child/youth is deemed in need of protection, as identified through a Child Welfare Authority or the Courts and the respective First Nation community, declares that the child/youth be cared for under a Customary Care Agreement, through a Band Council Resolution (BCR).

Customary Care is recognized under Part IV of the Child, Youth and Family Services Act, 2017. The First Nation, or Inuit 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).

The Rights of Anishinaabe children and youth are inherent and forever in all our customary care practices. Click here to view Rights Poster.

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 services

  • 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 developed 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.