Research Start-up Summary and Abstract:
This project evolved out of a case brought before the New Brunswick (NB) Court of Queen’s Bench, Family Division, where the Department of Social Development (DSD) was severely criticized by the Judge for not being more sensitive and aware of the government’s historical, legal and moral obligation to service Aboriginal children and their families in ways that are unique to their culture. In this case, the family was Aboriginal and living in a non-Aboriginal community.
The over-representation of Aboriginal children in care speaks to the critical importance of ensuring that these non-Aboriginal caregivers are knowledgeable, not only about the developmental and emotional needs of the children, but about the importance of an integrated cultural history. Clearly, more than ‘cultural sensitivity’ is required. This research project aims to ensure that the care providers can impart a celebratory pride of the Aboriginal history that is unique to the child and his or her extended family and community. An inclusive approach towards families and communities will be foundational.
Collaborators and Team Members:
Project Lead: Katie Smith. MSW student
Community Partners: Patsy McKinney, Director Under One Sky and Elizabeth Blaney New Brunswick Aboriginal Peoples Council
Elder: Miigam’agan, Elder in Residence, STU
BSW Students: Nevin Brewer, Kelly Cunningham, Christy Dingee, Emily Mersereau
Academic Partner: Barb Wilkens, Faculty Liaison, St. Thomas University
Government Team Members: Peter Mathews-Program Manager for Foster and Group Homes, Region 3, Social Development, Judy Levi, Aboriginal Consultant, Social Development and Valerie Delong, Consultant for Foster and Group Homes, Social Development and Child Youth Advocate Office, Robert Lafrenière
Marilyn Dupre, PhD, Dean, School of Social Work, St. Thomas University, Fredericton, New Brunswick [email protected]
Anne Caverhill, Program Manager, Child Protection, Department of Social Development, Government of New Brunswick [email protected]