Eagle’s Nest Foster Care services extend beyond foster care placements. Individualized services such as family healing, or participation in cultural activities, can be purchased for children and youth who are not presently in placement with us. Further information on all of our services can be found below.
Treatment Fostering for Indigenous Children and Youth
In response to an identified need for community treatment in a family environment for adolescents with mental health problems, neurological issues and serious behaviour problems, Eagle’s Nest provides culturally safe homes for Indigenous children and youth who have been placed in care and who have complex needs. Many children coming into our care have experiences or challenges that affect how they develop. This may include FASD, and other traumas resulting from neglect, psychological, physical and sexual trauma. Treatment foster care is enhanced foster care that includes using specialized treatment plans developed by Eagle’s Nest.
The aim of treatment fostering is to create a sense of belonging, direct youth to success, and infuse them with a strong sense of cultural identity. The child/youth is supported by a stable team that includes a primary and a relief foster parent/home, social workers, an Indigenous ceremony maker, and a child and youth worker. The child/youth is has access to Indigenous knowledge and culture, to culturally safe primary health care (SOAHAC), and to specialized tutoring. A comprehensive, multidisciplinary assessment is provided and an individualized treatment plan is developed with the input of team members, the child/youth and their family (as applicable), and their community.
The referring agency is fully involved in the assessment details and case decisions. Our collaborative treatment model operates through regular conferencing with clear function of needs and deliverables. Eagle’s Nest is the only treatment foster care agency that provides truly culturally integrated services and supports so that Indigenous youth achieve a positive Indigenous identity that is well-connected and proud.
Treatment Fostering for Indigenous and non-Indigenous children and youth with special needs (PDD, autism)
As of April 1, 2017, Eagle’s Nest provides a treatment foster program for children and youth of all cultural and racial identities who live with pervasive developmental disorders, such as autism and PD-NOS. This is an evidence based program designed to meet the unique needs of each child and provide them with a safe, stable and experienced home. Our foster parents are trained and supported to meet the treatment needs and to address cognitive, social, sensory, psychiatric, emotional, and/or behavioural challenges through accommodation or treatment.
The treatment plan varies according to the child’s unique abilities. Sometimes we accommodate the child’s special needs; we do not attempt to change their needs, just adapt to it so that the child is safe or able to function despite the need. Sometimes, we actively change the way the child is thinking or acting so that their needs are satisfied. We label this treatment. It is important to state that we do not treat the autism per se; we treat the dynamic needs of the child that prevent them from being fully integrated into society or functioning as normally as they can.
Regularly Scheduled Cultural & Family Programming
We support the children in our care to develop and integrate a positive self-identity and a sense of community belonging. All of the children in our care can participate in ceremonies, teachings, sharing circles, use of the medicine wheel, sweats, socials, Pow Wows and church activities that support these. We provide access to Elders, healers, ceremony makers and Indigenous organizations across Ontario.
Foster families and Eagle’s Nest staff have created a community together. We meet for ceremonies on Turtle Island at least monthly. Activities and ceremonies follow a seasonal schedule, and we keep our foster families informed about what is happening.
We welcome all Indigenous children and youth to participate in these services that help them to strengthen their connection to their culture. Outside agencies can connect the children and youth in their care with these services by contacting us.
Summer Day Camp
Once per year, we offer a one-week cultural camp that is focused on life skills and cultural teachings, and which takes place in the Delaware Nation community. Indigenous ancestral culture and ways of thinking are embedded at the core of this service. This is very important because it provides Indigenous children and youth with a sense of belonging and personal pride that keeps them engaged in the learning process. Using a strength-based approach, we focus on building on the unique gifts of each young person. At camp, the children and youth learn:
- Community responsibility
- Various social and life skills
- Problem-solving techniques
- Empathy for others
- Heightened self-awareness
Each day, the children have the opportunity to practice their belief in an authentic and tangible way like their ancestors did. In addition to learning traditional ways, the children will also gain practical pro-social skills that are transferable to their everyday life situations. Some of the topics we will cover are life road, priorities, decision making, honesty, reliability, self-esteem, and the meaning of sharing. Camp activities include traditional arts and crafts, preparing traditional foods, learning traditional songs and drumming, playing games, playing sports, and participating in ceremonies.
Family Healing Program
This service can be accessed for any Indigenous family who is working toward reunification or multi-generational healing. The family can be working with a CAS, or their Band – they do not have to have a child placed with us. The program offers an intensive 5 day program that takes place in our facilities at Delaware Nation, or in the family’s community.
This service creates opportunities for healing, enhanced knowledge, skill development and growth for each family that is referred. Each case is unique. We review the case with the referring agency, and select the Elder, ceremony maker or healer that can best meet the needs of the family. We can also engage with spiritual leaders of other beliefs, and can provide interpretation to support parents, grandparents, or other family members who speak the language. The program can include sweats, pipe ceremonies and community gatherings. We can provide traditional supervised access visits without teachings or develop a specific curriculum. Topics covered may include culture based parenting, medicine wheel teachings, loss and grief, multigenerational trauma, understanding violence, nutrition, communication, conflict resolution, life skills, understanding addictions, and more.
The Family Healing Program empowers and supports parents to gain understanding about their own experiences of being parented, apply these new insights and teachings to their current parenting thus impacting change for future generations. The parents and family members will learn new skills, reduce the risks that resulted in the placement of their child in the first place, and whenever possible, work toward permanency/reunification.
Training and Ongoing Support for Foster parents/families
We provide our foster parents with short breaks, emergency relief, and ongoing training and support, in addition to a per diem.
Formal Customary Care
The Child and Family Services Act (CFSA) recognizes that Indigenous people are entitled, where possible, to provide their own child and family services and that all services to Indigenous children and families must be provided in a way that recognizes their cultural heritage and traditions and the concept of extended family. Part X of the CFSA recognizes a First Nation’s inherent right to plan for the care of its children via formal customary care and authorizes the CAS to grant a subsidy to someone who cares for a child under formal customary care (i.e., the placing CAS maintains the cost of per diem for the child in formal customary care).
Formal Customary Care homes are subject to the foster care licensing rules and must be approved through assessment processes sanctioned by the Ministry of Child and Youth Services. As a licensed foster agency, Eagle’s Nest provides SAFE home studied and approved foster homes to ensure a child or youth under formal customary care is placed in a home that is both approved by Ministry of Child and Youth Services standards, and culturally safe. The contract is signed by the Band, the biological parent(s), the CAS, and either Eagle’s Nest or both Eagle’s Nest and the foster parent(s).
Formal customary care homes provide the same service as a treatment foster home. These placements can be short term or long term. The child or youth is being cared for under the authority of their Nation and does not need to be brought before the Ontario Court. In this way, the agreement respects the family and community’s ongoing rights and responsibilities in caring for its children.