Tri-Partite Funding Partnership Supports Family Group Conferencing at Ma Mawi Wi Chi Itata Centre Inc.
October 10, 2017
Funding Will Help Children Stay with Their Families: Minister Fielding
A new investment by the governments of Canada and Manitoba, along with The Winnipeg Foundation, will help vulnerable children stay with their families, Families Minister Scott Fielding announced today.
The Province of Manitoba matched an original investment by The Winnipeg Foundation and each will provide $1 million over a three-year period to help Ma Mawi Wi Chi Itata Centre Inc. (Ma Mawi) expand its Family Group Conferencing services. The Government of Canada will provide $500,000 over three years for a total $2.5-million commitment.
“This partnership illustrates the importance of government working together with service providers and foundations like The Winnipeg Foundation–Moffat Family Fund to build a better, stronger support system for Indigenous families and give children the lifelong supports they need to succeed,” said Fielding. “The family conferencing model has proven results and underscores our government’s priority to keep children with their families, when it is safe to do so, as we recognize families play an important role in the care and protection of children.”
“The health and well-being of children is a priority we all share,” said Indigenous Services Minister Jane Philpott. “Ma Mawi Wi Chi Itata Centre’s Family Group Conferencing is a fantastic example of Indigenous-led community programming that can drive positive change for child and family services. I am grateful for their leadership in improving outcomes for children, families and communities.”
Ma Mawi’s family group conferencing brings together people affected by an issue; everyone present has equal rights to participate and is able to contribute to a solution. The group talks through a problem to develop an understanding of its impacts. The goal is to develop consensus, which Ma Mawi noted is fundamental to collective ownership of and responsibility for the issue.
“The Ma Mawi Wi Chi Itata Centre is humbled by the shared leadership of The Winnipeg Foundation–Moffat Family Fund, Province of Manitoba and Government of Canada to support families to become the decision-makers in their healing journey to reunify their family structure,” said Diane Redsky, executive director, Ma Mawi Wi Chi Itata Centre. “Family Group Conferencing is an Indigenous model practiced by Maori in New Zealand in partnership with the mainstream child and family service system since 1989 and gifted to Ma Mawi as the caretakers in Canada.”
Redsky noted families have the capacity and expertise to address family concerns and develop their own care plans, which not only reunifies children with their families faster but also reduces trauma on the entire family, begins to address root causes as to why children were in need of protection and reduces costs to the overall child welfare system.
The Winnipeg Foundation’s support for the Family Group Conferencing program is made possible through the Moffat Family Fund, a donor-advised fund it holds. Established in 1921, The Winnipeg Foundation is Canada’s first community foundation. Last year, it granted more than $31 million to approximately 900 charitable organizations.
“The Moffat Family Fund’s vision is a Canadian society where individuals have equal opportunity to develop their potential and its support for this program will change lives for vulnerable families in our city,” said Richard Frost, CEO, The Winnipeg Foundation.
Ma Mawi was created in 1984 by community members who sought an Indigenous solution to supporting and rebuilding families. In addition to its Family Group Conferencing services, Ma Mawi offers more than 50 programs at 12 sites, which is supported by more than 200 Indigenous staff and volunteers.
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The Province of Manitoba is distributing this release on behalf of the governments of Canada and Manitoba, The Winnipeg Foundation and Ma Mawi Wi Chi Itata Centre Inc.