What Is Customary Care?
Customary Care is a traditional practice that has always existed among First Nations. The informal practice is alive today, whereby communities care for and protect the children without the intervention of child welfare authorities. Our Customary Care Program is based on our Anishinaabe cultural belief system and recognizes and respects the inherent rights of the Anishinaabek. Our historical practices are the foundation to customary care in the 21st Century.
The Customary Care Agreement
This current model of customary care will be implemented only if a child is deemed in need of protection, as identified through a Child Welfare Authority or the Courts and the respective First Nation community declares that the child(ren) be cared for under a Customary Care Agreement, through a Band Council Resolution.
Implementation Of The Customary Care Program
This current model of customary care will be implemented only if a child is deemed in need of protection, as identified through a Child Welfare Authority or the Courts and the respective First Nation community declares that the child(ren) be cared for under a Customary Care Agreement. The Customary Care program is a voluntary program for short and long term placement in the best interest of the Child(ren) and Family. This program is for Child(ren) who are deemed in need of protection by CAS and requiring an out of home placement.
The Purpose Of Customary Care
The desired outcomes of the Customary Care Agreement are to maintain parental rights and the families connection and relationship with the child. Court proceedings are not required under this agreement structure. Affected Child(ren) remain with their extended family and within their community and the relationship between the child(ren), parent and community is valued and respected.
Moving Forward With A Customary Care Arrangement
The Customary Care Agreement is a collaborative approach to providing child welfare services. Together the Parents, Band Representative and Kina Gbezhgomi decide on a suitable family to help raise the child. Childcare standards and foster care licensing standards apply. A referral letter from the Band Representative or Chief is produced to coordinate an agreement, identifying the child, parents and placement. Chief & Council must endorse the placement with a Band Council Resolution (BCR). A placement can occur with the customary care provider immediately, with the home study to be completed within 60 days.
Supports For The Customary Care Home
A Customary Care home will be paid a regular or specialized “foster care rate” in accordance to the child’s needs. The Customary Care home is entitled to training, reimbursements and other supports provided by Kina Gbezhgomi’s Alternative Care Team.