Keep the children close to home

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A story about keeping foster children close to home and allowing families to heal together by building safe and loving foster homes.

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Keep the children close to home

  1. 1. Build a safe and loving home for a childKeeping our children close to home
  2. 2. “Those privileged to touch the lives of children should constantly be aware that their impact on the single child will affect a multitude of others a thousand years from now.” Author unknown These words may be found above the entrance of Payukotayno James and Hudson Bay Family Services
  3. 3. Housing Crisis No Space for Foster ChildrenIn native communities throughout Cochrane District in Ontario’s north, housing shortages, sub-standard housingand crowding have hit a crisis level.The overcrowding means that when children come to be placed in foster care, many of them cannot stay in theircommunities — willing foster families simply cannot accommodate them in overcrowded homes.Instead, children are being sent nearly 1,000 miles from home, to foster homes in southern Ontario. Thetrauma and devastation this separation is causing is shocking, and hard to contemplate.But this situation can be improved, and with your help, there is a solution.Payukotayno Housing Authority, in partnership with local agencies, businesses and individuals, has been createdto provide solutions to the housing crisis for foster care. With moderate funds and resources, along with the localwill that exists to care for children close to home, children currently in foster care miles away from their familieswill be able to move back into foster homes in their communities.
  4. 4. Foster Children Far from HomeChildren in foster care in native communities separated from his parents and siblings, otherfar outnumber their non-native counterparts. family members, friends, school or daycareOf the 106 children currently in care in the and his community.Moosonee area, 56 of them have beendisplaced to southern communities, including But this is the reality — rendered not by choice,Timmins, Sudbury and North Bay, and as far but by necessity — an all-too-common practicesouth as Huntsville, Toronto and St. Catharines. in communities stretching from Moosonee on the southern tip of James Bay, to PeawanukImagine the terror of a child, who must, for his on the shore of Hudson Bay. Because adequate, As much as possible, native children are placedown safety, be removed from his home into safe housing for foster care is in such short in native foster homes. However, this can’tfoster care, only then to be taken hundreds of supply, children must be removed from the always be the case. Often, children whose firstmiles away to a completely foreign place, town, village or reserve where their parents language is Cree are often placed in homes live, and are taken up to nearly 1,000 miles where no one speaks their language . . . they away. While the care they receive is safe and are rendered isolated in every respect — by loving, they are denied so much that has distance, by a language barrier, and by a become common-place and provides comfort. cultural and spiritual divide.
  5. 5. Look through the eyes of this child in foster care for a moment.
  6. 6. “One of the children in my case load has been away for two years, and while she and her mother are both ready to live together again, her mother’s home doesn’t meet care standards. The child asks me, when I visit, what it’s like at home, if her friends still ask about her, and if the town is still the same.” Rache Hughes, Child Care Worker, Moosonee
  7. 7. Families in Isolation Cannot HealMoving children into foster care miles from home In order for parents and their child in foster Foster children living away become homesick,is impractical, complex, costly and traumatizing. care to visit, an application for funding must and their behaviour is impacted significantly. be submitted and approved. A return flight They experience separation anxiety, sleepSeparated by huge distances, families face an between a community such as Fort Albany disturbances, attention-seeking behaviour anduphill battle in terms of rehabilitation and and Toronto is $2700 per person, limiting aggression. Parents suffer from guilt andhealing. Coordinating care between the child’s visits to only once or twice a year per family. depression, islolated from their children, andhome community and the foster community It often takes a combination of air, rail and car seeing little progress in family treatment. Thein the south requires a complex web of travel to bring a parent and child together. ensuing emotional and spiritual anguish, fororganization and communication, which is Coupled with the long journey, families then parent and child, is devastating.cumbersome at best. Family therapy is virtually have only a day or two at a time to visit theirimpossible under such conditions. children. Support staff are also impacted by travel and time away from home. “Very young children often can’t remember their parents between visits. When their parents come to see them, they hardly know them.” Sarah Walsh-Burse, Child Care Worker
  8. 8. “Those that have had the rare pleasure of touching the lives of our people in a positive and caring way are unique in themselves. Not many have it within them to commit to the most trying, the most difficult, the most challenging, the most in need. Seldom have these special people received recognition for their work, and more often they find themselves under public scrutiny.” Earl Cheechoo, President, Board of Directors, Payukotayno James and Hudson Bay Child and Family Services, 2010
  9. 9. Housing Crisis Staff ShortagesIt is a sad irony that when children do need to be moved into foster care, Up to 15 people can be living in a home this small.and willing families are ready to help, many cannot, because their homesare overcrowded or unsuitable.There are current foster families in Moosonee and surrounding areas whoare poised and ready to take more children into their care. Others are readyto become carers for the first time. Living in homes that are overcrowdedor otherwise unsafe, however, prevents them from being able to do so.The housing crisis also has a negative impact on attaining child and familyservice staff. Qualified and enthusiastic candidates who have applied forpositions as child care and child protection workers, therapists, socialworkers and other support positions, have had to turn down job offersbecause they could not find housing. “In recent months, four highly-qualified staff had no option but to rescind their job offers, because they couldn’t find housing in Moosonee.” Bernice Morrison, Human Resources Manager, Payukotayno
  10. 10. Partnership for Foster Care Housing Payukotayno James and Hudson Bay Child and availability of local foster care, Payukotayno Family Services (Payukotayno) is a native child developed the Payukotayno Housing Authority. welfare service, meeting the requirements of Engaging enterprising individuals, families, the Child and Family Services Act and taking businesses and government agencies, into account the traditional aspects of the Cree Payukotayno Housing Authority’s mission is to People. It is a fully designated Children’s Aid provide safe, adequate housing that meets the Society, committed to ensuring the safety and standards for foster care. wellbeing of the child, through the least intrusive approaches. Cultural and spiritual practices are Payukotayno Housing Authority’s first priority isThere is now great momentum to ensure that observed and respected, and children and to raise the necessary funds to provide rentaladequate housing is available, so that children families are served in their first language. housing in Moosonee, and then in nativein foster care can be repatriated, and never communities on the James and Hudson Bayhave to be sent far from home again. A strong Payukotayno serves with respect, dignity and coast where foster homes are needed most.partnership has come together in the care, and has been a trusted agency for 26 years. Payukotayno Housing Authority will also assist inPayukotayno district. With the housing crisis severely hindering the provision of housing for foster care support staff.
  11. 11. “Stories have been shared about astounding accomplishments of children and families who sought assistance, and, moving beyond the despair, have come to make significant, positive changes in their lives. These stories prove that what we are doing is working.” Earl Cheechoo, Payukotayno James and Hudson Bay Child and Family ServicesKey Assets is an independent fostering agencythat provides quality care in a family setting tochildren and young people. It is an internationalagency, which provides a highly effective andacclaimed fostering model, with an office nowin Moosonee. Key Assets ensures a child-focusedapproach while also supporting the success ofthe foster carer through training, support andaccess to effective resources.Collectively, these three agencies will ensurethe wellbeing of native children and families,the best of foster care, and suitable, safehousing for foster families.
  12. 12. “The Cree People are part of the land — it’s what we’re connected to, and whatever happens to the land, affects us. If we need some type of healing, we’ll go out on the land and come back a better person. When you take that away from a child, it has a detrimental affect. It’s as though part of their roots have been cut away — their identity has been ripped away from them.“ Andrew Solomon, Grand Chief, Fort Albany Reserve,
  13. 13. Maintaining Culture, Diginity and a Way of LifeCountless studies and anecdotes of life in nativecommunities point to children and youth achievinggreater success and quality of life when they canmaintain their ties to their culture, heritage andlanguage. For children in foster care, many ofwhom have suffered trauma and anxiety,remaining connected to their culture andcommon practices, in the community theyknow, becomes even more important.With foster children, parents and their families “Taking a child or parent out of their community, their comfort zone,within the same area, parents can more readily is akin to culture shock. Families can’t rehabilitate under thesevisit with children, care workers can coordinate circumstances; in fact, it causes more distress and trauma. Bringing families together will allow great healing to take place. This is what’scare more expediently, communication will best for families and foster children — we must act on this, now,be more immediate and effective, and families to ensure the best possible degree of foster care and therapeuticcan rehabilitate together, with consistent healing for our people.”care and support. Pauline Murphy, Acting Executive Director, Key Assets
  14. 14. With Your Leadership Homes With HeartPhase One of the project is to build or secure six homes in Moosonee, allowing six foster homes toopen, six families to start fostering and up to 18 children to return into foster care close to home.The cost of building a new single The fundraising goal for the initial sixdwelling that would accommodate homes is $1.5 million.foster parents and up to fourchildren is approximately $250,000. You can have a significant impact on thePayukotayno Housing Authority is life of a child and his or her family byalso investigating existing homes investing in the Payukotayno Housingthat could be readily upgraded Authority project. Donations are tax-deduc-and converted into foster homes, table. Donors may wish to discuss availableat a similar or lesser cost. Housing naming opportunities. Be a leader in solvingwill become the property of the the housing crisis for foster care.Payukotayno Housing Authority and Break down the walls of isolation. Build awill be provided as affordable rental safe and loving home for a child. Keep ourhousing to foster families. children close to home.
  15. 15. Payukotayno Housing Authority Board of Directors “If you want to know what the future is going to look like, don’t make the effortEarl Cheechoo, President – Moose Cree First Nation to study the future. Instead, get up, turnDonna Glenesk, Vice-President – The Corporation of the Town of around, and look at your children.”Moosonee Native ElderChristine Maybee, Treasurer – The Corporation of the Town ofMoosoneeVictor Weapenicappo – Secretary – Mocreebec Council of the CreeNationGail Tomatuk – Local Services BoardSkylene Metatawabin – Fort Albany First NationJenesse Martin – Kashechewan First NationLuke Gull – Weenusk First NationGerald Mattinas – Attawapiskat First NationVictor H. Linklater – Taykwa Tagamou NationFor further information and to discuss donor opportunitiesplease contact:Laurie MarkEmail: laurie.mark@payukotayno.caPhone number: (705) 336-2229 Ext. 233
  16. 16. fostering Keeping our children close to home50 Bay Road, General Delivery, P.O. Box 189 Moosonee, Ontario P0L 1Y0Charitable Registration Number 10782 7461 RC 001

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