What Makes Us Unique

When making decisions and plans with our children, youth and families, our practice with workers right across our Métis System is to always remember to ask ourselves "Is It Good For the Children?"

We are very proud that our Metis CFS agencies are known for working very hard to keep families together. Our agency workers are dedicated to reuniting families where possible and using innovative approaches to locating and supporting extended family and community members who might be able to provide a loving, trusted, safe and familiar home for a family or community member' s child or children.

Below you will find a few of the programs our agencies deliver

  • that are unique to our Manitoba Metis/Inuit CFS System
  • that are agents of change, improving outcomes for children, youth and families
  • that receive national attention and/or are being replicated in other jurisdictions

Metis Connect

Created at Metis Child, Family and Community Services Agency in October 2018, Metis Connect was established to help children to become connected/reconnected to family, extended family and community. The initiative is unique to our Manitoba Metis CFS System. Metis Connect workers teach workers specialized techniques for locating extended family and trusted community members so they can become part of a network for the child and engage with the agency in planning and decision making. As a practice being embraced across the agency, it helps to ensure children in care know their identity, and have a sense of belonging through their connection to family, community and culture. Hundreds of children are being better connected as a result.

An agency supervisor had this to say about their experience working with a family using the Metis Connect philosophies:

"It is hard to predict which action will be the catalyst for change. However, sometimes we are able to retrace our steps to identify the beginning of a shift. Such was the case when we held an introductory meeting between maternal and paternal grandparents who had never met despite sharing a 2 year old granddaughter. The Agency also invited the child's family network into the planning and decision making process facilitated by the Metis Connect Project. Through these collaborative gatherings, trust began to build between the child's family network members. In the end, this has led to the family network ultimately working together to plan for the child's future care while ensuring strong connections to all of those who love her."

The LIFE Program

(Live In Family Enhancement)

The LIFE (Live In Family Enhancement) Program has received national government and media attention. Families live with trained LIFE Mentor (Foster) Parents who act as role models, supports, advocates and guides. They coach them toward increasing parenting and life skills. While this program has been primarily created and developed by our Metis Agency, Michif Agency is actively involved in replicating these services throughout its jurisdiction.

We need more Métis families and individuals to become LIFE Mentor families

A University of Manitoba program that had evaluated the Metis Child, Family and Community Services Agency's LIFE Program provided it with a glowing review. In the study, they wrote, "The findings show a significant set of benefits to families such as stronger attachment between parents and children, improved parenting skills, strengthened social support for families, newly acquired household management skills, successful completion of employment training, and significantly improved trust in social workers and the agency. Many of these factors are correlated in research with increased rates of family reunification." These findings support our development of the LIFE program as a prevention as well as a safe and supported reunification of parents and their children.

As part of its recognition from media, other governments and academic studies, our LIFE Program has been acknowledged and recommended as a best practice model that should be replicated across Canada.

A graduate of the LIFE program, now living independently with her family, enjoys family time with her two young sons. She credits LIFE and her LIFE Mentor Mom with helping her to be a better parent and to make decisions that put her and her family on a better path.

Young mother being mentored in the LIFE (Live In Family Enhancement) program to better parent her baby.

One of our most successful LIFE (Live In Family Enhancement) Mentor Moms.

CART - Community Addictions Recovery Teams

Family addictions and substance use issues are one of the most significant factors affecting the safety of children today. We are working toward providing mental health and addictions services to families at risk of child apprehension.

We are proud that the Metis Child and Family Services (CFS) Authority partnered with the Manitoba Government in October 2019 on a new project that will provide these much needed services.

$1.9 million is being invested into the three-year pilot project known as Community Addictions Recovery Team (CART). This funding will allow us to help families receive the services they need to address their struggles with mental health and addictions.

A team, including a caseworker, family mentor, addictions worker and mental health worker, provide support for families with parental substance use and child abuse or neglect problems. Families are able to access services quickly, as well as referrals to various community resources. The program also includes connections to cultural programming.

The pilot program will provide services to approximately 60 families in Winnipeg and Dauphin and will then be evaluated to determine how the program will continue.

We are proud that the project implementation is in line with recommendations made by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which called for the provision of Indigenous-led, culturally safe services as well as increased supports for Indigenous-led agencies and families with children in the home.

We believe CART will become a leading practice in family preservation in Manitoba. Rather than sending parents off to treatment programs and sending children into foster care, this allows us to support families to remain together and heal together wherever possible.

Authority Board Chairperson Barbara Bruce says an opening prayer at the news conference announcing CART on October 17, 2019.

Media coverage of the CART Pilot Project on October 17, 2019 at the Metis Child, Family and Community Services Agency.

Metis Spirit/Michif Spirit

Metis Spirit and Michif Spirit Programs are a unique funding partnership between the agencies and the Manitoba Metis Federation (MMF). The Spirit Worker at each of the agencies engages with youth who have reached the Age of Majority (aged 18) and are no longer in care. The workers provide ongoing support, advocacy and connections to such things as community resources, anti-homelessness resources, education, employment and job readiness.

Age of Majority Celebrations

The Metis Child, Family and Community Services Agency was the first Manitoba CFS Agency to do an Age of Majority Celebration in January 2007. Michif Child and Family Services Agency began the practice in May 2018. Hundreds of young people have been celebrated over the years as they reach the age of 18 and/or are leaving our care. The celebration recognizes that these young people are at a period of transition in their lives. They are invited to bring family, friends and loved ones to the dinner event. Those close to the youth speak about his or her progress and development. An Elder wraps a sash around each one and they are presented with a gift to celebrate this important milestone in their life. It is important to note that as much as possible, we try to extend their care as young people need support into adulthood. Regardless, the ceremony symbolizes that they will be continued to be embraced by the Métis community. We will stay around them very much like the symbol of wrapping them in the Métis sash that is gifted to them during the ceremony.

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