As part of the process of taking charge of the services, consultations were held in the four signatory communities (Lac Simon, Kitcisakik, Winneway and Pikogan). The objective of the consultations was to gather the vision and the needs of the population. Several observations emerged from these consultations, some of which were related to the lack of concerted intervention and decision-making in protection situations, as well as others related to the complaints bodies, such as the local complaints commissioner and the Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse. These organizations were described as "creations of a colonialist and paternalistic government that does not inspire confidence in Anicinape."
The position of information officer and facilitator was created, on one hand, in order to improve access to information for the people of the communities, in order to give them a better understanding of their rights and of the youth protection process. On the other hand, this position was intended to allow the development of an alternative to the complaint process, in order to offer a conflict resolution tool that is more in line with the Anicinape culture.
Information Officers and Facilitators (IOF) report directly to the Mino Obigiwasin Board of Directors. They act as neutral actors in the implementation of the complaints policy. Their role is to:
Inform the population about their rights within the child protection system and how it works;
Assist the members of the communities of Winneway, Kitcisakik, Lac Simon and Pikogan towards the resources they are seeking;
To facilitate conflict resolution between foster families, families and Mino Obigiwasin intervenors, including offering mediation or assistance;
Assist and guiding the population to the complaint organizations.
The IOFs also act as facilitators in voluntary, collaborative decision-making processes oriented toward child safety, family, and community participation (the Wawiya).
Information and assistance
Information officers or facilitators are contacted directly or through internal referrals. Members of the communities served by Mino Obigiwasin can seek the assistance of the agents to better understand their situation or to be oriented. Among other things, officers can:
To help a person understand the child protection process and what is involved at each step;
Assist a person in understanding documents (reports, intervention plan, request, voluntary or judicial measure, etc.);
Inform and guide people to community or external resources.
Inform the person about the relevance of having a lawyer and offer him/her the regional list of those who practice youth mandates.
Treatment of dissatisfaction
When an officer receives an application related to a dissatisfaction, he or she explores with the applicant the reasons for the dissatisfaction and the person's needs. The applicant is then offered various options :
Assistance and information
First, the information officer and facilitator encourages the applicant to communicate directly with the intervenor. If necessary, the officer offers to accompany the applicant to the meeting.
If unsuccessful, the officer informs the applicant of the existence of various complaint authorities and offers assistance in formulating the complaint, if necessary.
Mino Obigiwasin offers a mediation process for conflicts between an intervenor and a family or foster family. This process was established to provide the population with an alternative to the complaint process.
Its purpose is to repair trust and collaboration between people in communities and child and family services. Mediation offers a holistic approach to conflict resolution. It allows for a global analysis of the situation in order to have an accurate picture of the difficulties experienced and allows for meaningful and constructive solutions to be generated more easily. This approach, also favoured in the communities, ensures a culturally relevant process.
Following a request, a neutral information agent and facilitator who has not offered any other service to the persons involved in the conflict may facilitate a mediation between one or more members of a family followed in youth protection, a foster family and their intervenor.
Mediation is a voluntary process that can last several weeks, since several individual meetings can be held with each of the parties before the joint meeting, in order to properly analyze the situation and ensure that everyone is well prepared.
Wawiya facilitation aspect
The wawiya, which means "circle" in Anicinape, is the gathering of immediate and extended family members, friends, relatives and any other person significant to the child and family going through a difficult time. Professionals are invited to promote the services available, depending on the reason for the meeting. This practice respects the Anicinape rhythm and culture and promotes healing.
The wawiya is facilitated by a neutral person who ensures that the discussions and process proceed smoothly. During these meetings, concerns, strengths and solutions are discussed and then consolidated into a safety or engagement plan. In short, Wawiya is about teamwork between the child's safety net and the intervenor. This approach can be used in many situations, including:
At the request of parents or a 1st line intervenor, in order to prevent a report;
At all stages of the child protection process, in order to mobilize the family and services;
At the TCV stage, to quickly mobilize the family to prevent and retain a report;
To help the intervenor have a global view of the situation;
To generate solutions that are realistic, meaningful and culturally relevant to the family, as the family is involved in the decisions;
To prevent placement, displacement or even prepare for family reintegration.