COMPENDIUM OF PROMISING PRACTICES TO REDUCE VIOLENCE AND INCREASE SAFETY OF ABORIGINAL WOMEN IN CANADA – COMPENDIUM ANNEX: DETAILED PRACTICE DESCRIPTIONS
Support for Parents
- Program name:
Sacred Child Program
- Target Group:
Children (Ages 0-6) and their caregivers.
- Contact Name:
The program has been running since 1996. It was established when a need for Aboriginal family violence services in the Ottawa area was identified. The Lodge was initially geared toward women, but as time passed children's programs were developed, community support and partnerships grew, and more services reaching children were created. These developments included reaching children in schools and supporting them when they enter the shelter. Special attention to children who have witnessed violence has also been included in the program. The program has adapted in recent years with the introduction of all-day kindergarten to help children and parents.
- Goals & Objectives:
To recognize, enhance and celebrate the value and importance of the family and the roles of children.
- Traditional/Indigenous ways:
Ceremonies are held in each season to welcome new babies. A resident grandmother is onsite with whom parents can book time to speak and gain Elder contact. Minwaashin also has a children's art therapist who teaches children to express themselves through traditional Aboriginal art. The program uses other traditional art forms, especially those that allow children to learn with their hands. Partners of the program also contribute to the cultural teachings, for example, the Ottawa Public Library arranges for a specific Aboriginal-themed story time and has arranged for an Aboriginal puppeteer to work with the children.
- Components of program:
The program offers workshops concerning: positive native parenting for caregivers, parental relief (child care) for a maximum of 3 hours, team building for children, building positive self-esteem through arts and crafts, developing greater listening and communication skills through storytelling, addressing the effects of family violence on children who witness violence. The program also teaches children about good/bad touching, calling 911, healthy relationships and what boundaries are. There are also nurses who visit to give education sessions to caregivers concerning prenatal and early childhood care.
- Services/How they work:
Services are provided on site at the facility.
Funding is provided by the Public Health Agency of Canada through Ka-Nen (Our Children Our Future).
Relationships and Stakeholders
- Involvement of Target Groups:
The program is a parent co-operative and parents are heavily involved in the development of the program. Caregivers are asked to provide a "must have" list and a "wish" list for the program, and then programs are developed from this feedback to meet their needs.
Children's Aid Society; Makonsag Aboriginal Head Start Inc.; Tewegan Transition House; Tungasuvvingat Inuit; Native Women's Association of Canada; City of Ottawa Public Health; Ottawa Public Library; Ottawa Inuit Children's Centre; Odawa Native Friendship Centre; Wabano Centre for Aboriginal Health.
- Other relationships:
Details of Program Evaluation
An evaluation has been completed.
- Highlights of Evaluation Findings:
The report was not made available publicly, and no specific results can be provided.
- Measures of Success:
Success is measured by how many cases have been closed, how often programs are utilized and whether clients continue to make positive life choices once they have completed the program.
Seeing adults who first came in as children come back as adults in a better state than their own parents. Minwaashin also has excellent community support.
Obtaining funding. There is a need for larger facilities.
Things to Know to Replicate
- Replication Advice:
The program is considered replicable. A program of this type requires adherence to traditional Aboriginal ways and modes of operating.
Adequate funding, properly trained staff and facility space for the programming would be necessary to ensure the program's success.
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