Nenan Dane_Zaa Deh Zona Children & Family Services

March 16, 2009 10:01 ET

Historic Children and Families Agreement Reached

Historic Children and Families Agreement Reached Between Nenan Dane_Zaa Deh Zona Family Services and the Ministry of Children and Family Development

Attention: Assignment Editor, Health/Medical Editor, News Editor, Government/Political Affairs Editor FORT ST JOHN, BC, PRESS RELEASE--(Marketwire - March 16, 2009) - An historic agreement has been reached between Nenan Dane_Zaa Deh Zona Children & Family Services (Nenan) and the Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD) for the creation of a new community based model of jurisdiction and governance, including services and quality assurance. This agreement will enable reclamation of our inherent right and responsibility to care for our children and families.

Nenan is an organization mandated by the Treaty 8 First Nations, Métis and Aboriginal peoples from the north east, including urban, rural and reserve communities. The Nenan name evidences unification for the best interests of children, families and communities as it is inclusive of the Dunne_Zaa (Beaver), Slavey, Cree and English dialects, translating to, "All of us people working together for our children and families." Nenan was formed for the purpose of establishing a new community empowered child welfare system grounded in community values, traditions, culture and strengths.

"It is my great honour on behalf of the Treaty 8 First Nations of the Treaty 8 Tribal Association to welcome this historic and progressive agreement with the Province that will enable us to reclaim our inherent rights and responsibilities for the care, nurturing and well being of our children and families," said Liz Logan, Tribal Chief. "Approximately 70% of all children living outside of their biological parents' homes in the north east are of Aboriginal ancestry and this high number of our children and youth in care is unacceptable. Therefore, I am pleased by the support and courage demonstrated by the Ministry in agreeing to work with us in a manner consistent and respectful of our Government-to-Government relationship. We look forward to the creation of our own child welfare jurisdiction and services that respect and empower our traditional laws, culture, values and beliefs, and governance institutions."

"This is a positive step toward developing a new model for Aboriginal child and family services in the First Nations, Aboriginal and Métis communities participating in this process in the north east," said Tom Christensen, Minister of Children and Family Development. "We support the Nenan society in their work aimed at strengthening culturally-relevant services - ultimately leading to fewer Aboriginal children in care."

Nenan is utilizing a participatory methodology engaging young people, parents, leadership, community members, Elders and service providers in an assessment of their own strengths and challenges in supporting their children and families. Communities are engaged in analysing the information and developing action plans and solutions to the issues that have emerged. Thus the process ensures that the communities direct the development of services and, through their involvement, their capacity to support their own is enhanced.

"I have been involved in this process since 2001, and it feels like our dedication and perseverance has finally paid off. This has included great support from the North Region, MCFD," said Julie Mercerau, Acting Chairperson for the Nenan Board of Directors. "Our focus this year has been a holistic community engagement process; learning as much as possible about the people and each community's local context. I believe what we have learned from the communities is creating a strong foundation for the formation of a new service system that will truly support and empower our children and families."

Nenan also wishes to take this opportunity to proudly announce the release of the Dane Wajich Report 'People Telling Their Story'. This report provides a comprehensive overview of Nenan's history and background, process to date, and work-plan for the coming year. To receive a copy of this report, please contact:

Brandi Scott, Executive Coordinator
Office: 250.787.2151
Toll-free: 1.866.637.2151
Or visit our Website at: IN: HEALTH, POLITICS, SOCIAL

Contact Information

  • Allen Cummings, Planner, Nenan Dane_Zaa Deh Zona Children & Family Services
    Primary Phone: 250-793-6171