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Appendix: Services and Supports for Aboriginal Children and Youth

The ministry continued to support the unique needs of First Nations (on and off reserve), Métis, and Inuit young people across Ontario in 2014-15. It continued to fund the Aboriginal Healthy Babies Healthy Children Program, the Aboriginal Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder/Child Nutrition Program, Aboriginal child protection services and prevention initiatives, the Akwe:go and Wasa-Nabin Urban Aboriginal Programs, and community-based programs for Aboriginal youth in, or at risk of, conflict with the law.

As part of Ontario's Mental Health and Addictions Strategy, funding was provided to hire more than 80 new Aboriginal mental health and addictions workers across the province to help almost 4,000 Aboriginal children and young people get better access to culturally-appropriate mental health and addiction services. These new workers provide counselling, individual and group therapy, crisis intervention, and a range of traditional health services, including traditional teachings and ceremonies. Funding for training needs was made available to Aboriginal agencies that provide child and youth mental health services.

The ministry is implementing a long-term plan for training supports for Aboriginal Mental Health and Addictions Workers in First Nations, Metis, Inuit and urban Aboriginal communities to build and enhance worker knowledge, competencies, and skill capacity to support them in providing high quality mental health services to children and youth. The plan is being implemented over three fiscal years starting in 2014-15 and consists of:

  • A Professional Development (PD) Fund;
  • Mobile Training Teams (pilot in 2014-15 and 2015-16);
  • A Short Term Intensive Course on Aboriginal Mental Health and Addictions; and
  • An Aboriginal Mental Health and Addictions Workers' Training Committee.

In January 2013, Ontario announced its plans to work collaboratively with First Nations, Métis, Inuit, and urban Aboriginal partners on an Aboriginal Children and Youth Strategy to improve outcomes and opportunities for Aboriginal children and youth by transforming the way in which services are designed and delivered.

The Strategy engagement process was formally launched in summer 2013 with three Leadership Roundtables hosted by the Ministers of Children and Youth Services and Aboriginal Affairs. The Leadership Roundtables are as follows:

  • Inuit Leadership Roundtable
  • Métis and Urban Aboriginal Leadership Roundtable
  • First Nations Leadership Roundtable

Leadership representation at the Inuit Leadership Roundtable includes:

  • Ottawa Inuit Children's Centre (OICC)
  • Tungasuvvingat Inuit (TI)

Leadership representation at the Métis and urban Aboriginal Leadership Roundtable includes:

  • Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO)
  • Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centres (OFIFC)
  • Ontario Native Women's Association (ONWA)

Leadership representation at the First Nations Leadership Roundtable includes:

  • Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN)
  • Anishinabek Nation/ Union of Ontario Indians (AN/UOI)
  • Grand Council Treaty #3 (GCT3)
  • Association of Iroquois and Allied Indians (AIAI)
  • Independent First Nations (IFN)
  • Six Nations of Grand River
  • Chiefs of Ontario (COO)
  • Ontario First Nations Young Peoples Council (OFNYPC)

The ministry also hosted Leadership Roundtables in fall 2014 and winter 2015.

In addition to the Leadership Roundtables, a number of engagement mechanisms were utilized, including engagement with over 500 Aboriginal youth to gain their insight and perspectives for the Strategy.

The ministry continued working with a number of Aboriginal service providers seeking designation as Aboriginal CASs. In particular, two agencies, Kina Gbezhgomi Child and Family Services and Kunuwanimano Child and Family Services took final steps towards designation which occurred early in the 2015-16 fiscal year.