THUNDER BAY – Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) Deputy Grand Chief Goyce Kakegamic has sent congratulations on behalf of the Executive Council as the Kunuwanimano Child and Family Services will receive designation as a fully mandated child welfare agency by the Ontario Ministry of Children and Youth Services on May 1, 2015.
“We are pleased to congratulate the Kunuwanimano Board of Directors, staff and the Chiefs of the First Nations served by this agency who have worked for years to reach this very important milestone,” said Deputy Grand Chief Goyce Kakegamic, who holds the Social Services portfolio at NAN. “Kunuwanimano means ‘keeping our own’, and designation will ensure that our children and families are cared for in a culturally appropriate manner closer to home where they can continue to live and grow in supportive surroundings where customary care practices of caring for children will be respected and practiced.”
Kunuwanimano began operations in 1989 as a child and family services agency under Section 10 of the Child and Family Services Act. Since then, NAN has worked with the Chiefs of the Kunuwanimano catchment area, the Board of Directors and the Ontario Ministry of Children and Youth Services to achieve designation.
Designation will allow the agency to provide child protection services to its 11 First Nation communities and Aboriginal people living in its jurisdiction in a manner that respects cultural identity, and to continue service and program development as a multi-service child, family and community agency with all of the responsibilities of any Children’s Aid Society in Ontario.
“The delivery of child welfare in NAN territory is unique, and it is essential that NAN children and families are cared for by our people through our own agencies,” said Kakegamic. “The designation of Kunuwanimano is a significant achievement and will allow the agency to have more control over the delivery and development of services for the communities it serves. Having three NAN mandated child welfare agencies will begin to pave the way for a more effective First Nation-controlled delivery of child and family services across NAN territory.”
Located in Timmins, Kunuwanimano is the third of three mandated NAN child welfare agencies serving NAN First Nations. Payukotayno James and Hudson Bay Family Services, located in Moose Factory, serves seven First Nations along the James and Hudson’s Bay coasts. Tikinagan Children and Family Services, located in Sioux Lookout, serves 30 First Nation communities in the western portion of NAN territory.
A ceremony to commemorate the designation will be held later this month.