The Vancouver Aboriginal Child and Family Services Society is a leader in restorative child welfare. Our practices and policies are grounded in culture, guided by research and delivered collaboratively with Elders and teamwork between departments.
As one of the largest delegated Aboriginal Agencies in Canada, we have four programs (Child Protection, Guardianship, Resources and Family Preservation and Reunification) to service the urban Indigenous population in Vancouver. We work in partnership with Indigenous communities from across Canada and a child’s family and extended community to ensure care plans are strengths based and incorporate cultural and identity.
VACFSS' Indigenous Core Cultural Competencies
While VACFSS has been weaving Indigenous cultural knowledge and practice into our programs and services for many years, the Indigenous Core Cultural Competencies (ICCC) are an important guide that clearly characterize how each employee at VACFSS can ground their work in relation to Indigenous knowledge. They have been incorporated into our staff selection and evaluation processes for every position within the agency. For social workers, the ICCC’s are an important prompt to keep redirecting us to integrate culture into our practice with the children and families we serve. Below are the six ICCC’s.
Collaborative Practice and Decision Making
- Competitive pension and benefits
- Flexible schedule and accumulated time off
- In-house Counsellor/Elder support
- In-house massage and yoga
- Teachings in cultural practice
- Training and growth opportunities
- Opportunity to participate in ceremony
Defines how an employee relates to children, families, communities, each other, and the environment. Relationships are developed and nurtured through respectful communication and interaction with others; demonstrates an acknowledgment of the land/territories, and the Peoples who have stewarded the land for generations. VACFSS respects and acknowledges the cultural practices of the Coast Salish Peoples while honouring the diverse Indigenous cultures of the children and families with whom we support.
Based on the values of respect, integrity, belonging, humility, strength-based practices VACFSS leaders provide holistic service delivery that culturally and spiritually strengthens Aboriginal families in order to realize our vision and VACFSS’ strategic priorities. Leadership is the ability to motivate, inspire and lead people. In doing so, the employee has the ability to engage and/or articulate the service pathways for children, youth and families. It is also the ability to manage the delivery of this vision by coaching and building the team. Demonstrates the willingness and ability to utilize models of traditional leadership pathways.
Utilizes collaborative processes to achieve engagement with and advocacy for children, youth, families and community. Develops appropriate service/support plans while responding to changing circumstances. Decision making occurs within the context of Bill C-92, CFCSA, related policies, and the rights of Indigenous children, youth, families and community.
Emotional competency is the ability to maintain emotional self-regulation in delivery of service to children, youth, families, partners, communities and other employees in the context of colonialism, oppression, racism, trauma and adversity. Recognizes and intervenes in conflict between individuals, to be present, observant with composure and empathy. The ability to recognize one’s response and privilege to a perceived situation when working with children, youth, families and other employees. Understanding the principles of trauma informed practice and how they apply throughout the programs and departments.
The process of adapting well in the face of adversity, (systemic racism, structural inequality), trauma, tragedy, threats, or significant sources of stress such as family, co-workers, relationship problems, physical and mental health problems, or workplace and financial stressors (American Psychological Association). Recognizes the sources of resiliency, for example: self awareness and efficacy, family, friends, Elders, community, environment, self expression, cultural and spiritual teachings and practices.
Understands, respects and safeguards the diversity of Indigenous cultural and spiritual principles and the common threads that support and promote culture while ensuring cultural safety. Envisions a holistic system of nurturing, support, spiritual grounding and teaching in developing service pathways. Achieves cultural connection(s) and identity(ies) for children, youth and families. Nurtures the spirit of the child, consistent with customary law, family and community connections as outlined in VACFSS policies. Expands awareness through training and participation with a shared understanding of the teamwork required to deliver cultural support and programming.
VACFSS' approach to restorative practice and Elder support to staff
We are dedicated to supporting our employees to feel a sense of belonging, valued for their contributions and the perspectives that they bring. We encourage Indigenous applicants but welcome qualified applicants from all backgrounds. We practice differently at VACFSS, and some of our benefits for eligible employees include:
Please visit our current opportunities.
Staff Spotlight: Nicole Newton, Child Protection Social Worker
Nicole is a Child Protection social worker at VACFSS.
Tell us about your background.
I am from the Tahltan Nation in the Stikine Country of the northern interior of British Columbia but I grew up on Vancouver Island.
How many years have you been with VACFSS and what is your position?
I’ve been with VACFSS on and off for about 8 ...read more