Family Violence Initiative

COMPENDIUM OF PROMISING PRACTICES TO REDUCE VIOLENCE AND INCREASE SAFETY OF ABORIGINAL WOMEN IN CANADA – COMPENDIUM ANNEX: DETAILED PRACTICE DESCRIPTIONS

INTERACTIONS WITHIN COMMUNITIES

Family Violence Interventions

Program name:

Begoodenoo Neeshdum: Family Group Conferencing

Organization:

Community Miyupimaatisiiun Centre

Location:

Chisasibi, Quebec

Target Group:

Everyone.

Contact Name:

Robert Auclair, Director Youth Protection

Phone:

819-855-3044

Email:

robertauclair@ssss.gouv.qc.ca

Website:

N/A

Program Overview
History:

Program staff completed the Family Group Conferencing training in February 2011. Some of the communities have started to use the program beginning in March 2011. Meetings and conferencing with families have always been held but the Family Group Conferencing Training Model, which originates in New Zealand, is more structured. The Cree are assessing and adapting the model to better meet their needs.

Program Description
Goals & Objectives:

The goal of the program is to: create a discussion forum for workers who recognize the positive power of the family structure and the need for family leadership in problem-solving; train workers in assisting families to develop a plan for the care, safety and support of children which Social Services and the Court endorse – rather than having a plan that authorities must impose on the family; train workers in assisting families to develop a plan for the care and safety of vulnerable family members (such as Elders and the sick) in partnership with community resources; and promote healing in family groups by providing a safe structure in which to do so.

Traditional/Indigenous ways:

The Cree Health Board is looking at more traditional ways to help. The Cree are currently conducting research across Canada to find ways to incorporate more traditional and Indigenous ways of healing as well as looking at incorporating Cree ways into the family group conferencing concept.

Components of program:

Family Group Conferencing (FGC) staff gather the family members, supporters, child protection, mental health and others closely involved in the families' lives to discuss family strengths, concerns and resources to develop a family safety plan. The facilitators come from the communities served by the program and are graduates of the training program provided by FGC. The aim is for the family to come up with their own acceptable safety plan instead of having a Social Services-developed plan that might not serve their specific needs. The primary worker shares with the family and the facilitator: any information they have about the family which is relevant to the plan they are going to make; concerns for the child; issues the family's plan needs to address; their statutory duties and responsibilities; and the relevant resources available. The facilitator and professionals withdraw, leaving the family to plan in private. The family has three tasks they must agree on: identification of a plan that meets the needs and addresses the concerns that have been raised; identification of contingency plans (for situations that might happen or not); and identification of how the plan will be implemented, monitored and reviewed.

Services/How they work:

Services are provided on site at the facility or in clients' homes.

Funding:

Funding provided by: the Cree Board of Health; and Social Services of James Bay

Relationships and Stakeholders
Involvement of Target Groups:

The families make all the decisions with whatever individuals are having a problem. Promotion is done by those who are trained and they try to promote family conferencing for families to use. Workers using family group conferencing make some recommendations of what is needed or what can make it work better.

Partners:

At this time, there are no partnerships.

Other relationships:

N/A

Details of Program Evaluation
Evaluation:

No evaluation has been completed.

Highlights of Evaluation Findings:

N/A

Program Outcomes
Measures of Success:

Success will be measured by the number of family group conferences held and by their outcomes.

Achievements:

Successfully training staff and front line workers in 9 communities.

Challenges:

The program's most difficult challenges were: trying to convince participants they could be trainers; logistically getting to a community because of the distance between communities and in some instances having to travel great distances by car; and getting workers to use family group conferencing and having families take responsibility, empowering them to make their own decisions.

Things to Know to Replicate
Replication Advice:

The program is considered replicable. The language used should be the first language of the family, with translation for professionals, i.e. psychologists, police, etc. There should be no cost to participants. There should be funds for travel because of the distance and expenses to getting to the more remote communities. Be prepared to have more than one family group conference for each case.

Resources:

Sufficient funding would have to be procured to ensure program success. Appropriate staffing would need to be provided, complete with support staff such as translators.

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