Providing respite care for Indigenous children and youth

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Vancouver, British Columbia, Sept. 20, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — As we approach the second inaugural National Day for Truth and Reconciliation on September 30, 2022, the Vancouver Aboriginal Child and Family Services Society (VACFSS) calls on the First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities of Greater Vancouver to support families involved with the agency in providing respite care for Indigenous children and youth.

Respite caregivers temporarily care for a child whose birth family needs a break from their daily parenting responsibilities. VACFSS supports families with respite care as part of its restorative practice approach to addressing the intergenerational trauma of the legacy of residential schools.

“Respite care definitely reduces the risk of children being placed in foster care by providing parents with a much-needed break on their healing journey,” says Gavin O’Toole, VACFSS Resource Manager.

For thousands of years, Indigenous communities have successfully used traditional care systems to ensure the safety and well-being of their children. Indigenous peoples have endured the devastating effects of colonization, and Indigenous peoples continue to be marginalized by colonial systems, legislation and policies.

VACFSS is strongly committed to having children cared for by members of the Indigenous community to promote the child’s sense of identity and belonging. Respite caregivers work inclusively with the child’s birth family and community. Caregivers help connect the child to their Indigenous community and culture, strengthening children’s Indigenous identity by helping them learn about their history and related cultural practices and stay connected with extended family and community .

In line with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) Five Calls to Action for Child Welfare, VACFSS implemented restorative practices while fulfilling the obligations of the CFCSA. Examples include Respite Care, Inclusive Foster Care Policy, Concrete Needs Support Policy, and Out of Care Options Program.

To learn more about inclusive care, sign up for an information session by visiting the VACFSS website HERE or emailing [email protected]

About VACFSS: Established in 1992, VACFSS is a leader in providing culture-based, restorative family services to urban Aboriginal families in Vancouver. We strive to culturally and spiritually strengthen the families we serve, and our practice is guided by policies and research conducted in partnership with the communities we work with.


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