Kahkiyaw is a major step forward in the evolution of children’s services in Alberta. Bent Arrow Traditional Healing Society (Bent Arrow), Boyle Street Community Services (Boyle Street), and the Edmonton & Area Child & Family Services Authority (CFSA) have partnered to create and implement Kahkiyaw, a comprehensive Collaborative Service Delivery (CSD) model described as a “shared responsibility” for service delivery. Although a similar trailblazing model for non-Aboriginal children, youth, and families has been operational since 2009, Kahkiyaw is the first for urban Aboriginal children, youth, and families in Alberta.
Our Shared Responsibility
Stakeholders in children’s services have been working together for years to ensure that urban Aboriginal children, youth, and families receive culturally appropriate and quality services. The relationships that formed led to many success stories for Aboriginal children, youth, and families involved with CFSA or “in care” in Edmonton.
Kahkiyaw takes these relationships to the next level in a unique tripartite partnership that seeks to reduce the number of Aboriginal children and youth in care in Alberta. All decision-making is shared by the three parties.
A Comprehensive Model
Prior to Kahkiyaw, good work was being done in a piecemeal manner. Kahkiyaw brings these approaches together to be more efficient and effective in service delivery. It enhances methods already being used in children’s services that are evidence based, community supported, culturally driven, and family centered. Kahkiyaw also includes new approaches that fill gaps and are changing the nature of service delivery. CSD, for instance, allows for creativity and flexibility in how funding is used. As a phase-in model, Kahkiyaw is also monitored closely to adjust it if needed.
Our Approach with Families
Under Kahkiyaw, children, youth, and families requiring support and empowerment are not passive recipients of services. Instead, they are active members of a Family Wellness Team consisting of their community – kin, Elders, role models, neighbours, schools, professionals, and community agencies. The team uses a continuum of innovative western and traditional cultural approaches in efforts to achieve the individual, family, and community balance needed for family reunification and/or safe, healthy, permanent care. These approaches are called Family Wellness Services.
Working with Central Neighbourhood Centre for Children, Youth and Families (NCCYF), Kahkiyaw staff administer Family Wellness Services such as: cultural connection, lodge keeping, family wellness circles, family wellness plans, family success plans, strength-based family assessments, referrals to community resources, advocacy, mediation, cultural services, kin and significant other searches, and life skills.