Welcome Message from Chief Executive Officer
The challenges of the previous year have provided opportunities for partnership and collaboration with First Nation leadership, agencies, and the government departments such as the provincial Department of Family Services and Labour and the federal Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada.
The First Nations of Northern Manitoba Child and Family Services Authority (“Northern Authority”) has worked with the Office of the Grand Chief, the Executive Council, and the Portfolio for Child and Family Services, Chief Primrose, of Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak (MKO), in efforts to strengthen the relationship between the Northern Authority and MKO, which appoints the directors to the board of the Northern Authority. The Northern Authority has worked to ensure that the agencies under its mandate are afforded the respect and support as entrusted to the Northern Authority, on their behalf. It is necessary and desirable that the relationship between the agencies and the Northern Authority mirror the relationship we develop and maintain with the leadership of MKO.
The new mandate of Nikan Awasisak Agency, the restoration of the mandate to Awasis Agency of Northern Manitoba and the impending restoration of Cree Nation Child and Family Caring Agency, demonstrate the Northern Authority’s commitment to an improved relationship within an environment of shared vision, partnership and collaboration. The management and staff of these agencies deserve to be commended for their resolve to persevere, given the many obstacles they have endured and continue to endure as we all move forward.
The Northern Manitoba Child and Family Services Summit was a collaborative effort between MKO, the Northern Authority and the agencies. This event was an opportunity to come together to review child and family services and address some serious issues within the current system with a view to affect system change for the betterment of our communities, families and children. It is imperative that these types of forums continue to be made available to us as we forge a shared vision in the spirit of partnership and collaboration.
The Northern Authority is now engaged in a Collaborative Working Group with the Department of Family Services and Labour and Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada. Instead of taking an adversarial approach to the issues that confronted the Northern Authority and the Agencies, we chose to engage them. Through this effort, funding flowed that was held in abeyance pending compliance with the Child and Family Services Information System and the remittance of Child Special Allowances to Manitoba. We will continue to advocate for system confidence through this forum.
Finally, it is in our collective interests we place the interests of the children, families and communities first as echoed in the board chair’s message. This is further affirmed in the Northern Authority’s Strategic Plan which will be further expanded upon in the following Manager’s reports.
Ron Monias, Chief Executive Officer