The Gathering the CIRCLE (Children’s Indigenous Rights, Culture, Languages, and Education) program was developed in 2016 to address gaps in services for young Indigenous children in care. The program is grounded in the idea that every Indigenous child should have the opportunity to learn about and be connected to their culture. CIRCLE recognizes that connecting children and youth to their cultural roots can be difficult sometimes, and thus aims to begin cultural engagement at a young age. The program assists Indigenous children in care to enhance and/or develop their understanding of their Indigenous heritage, as well as their sense of identity as Indigenous children living in an urban environment.
The program is run by Knowledge Keepers in the community and supported by VACFSS staff, social workers, community members, and Elders. CIRCLE aims to incorporate cultural teachings and practices from Nations across Turtle Island, with a focus on Nations the children come from. Participating in CIRCLE provides children with the opportunity to develop their unique cultural identity, as well as build connections with other Indigenous children in care.