Position profile: Indigenous Case Specialist

Learn more about the position in the job posting.

  • Job Title: Indigenous Case Specialist
  • Work Unit: NW Region
  • Ministry: Alberta Children's Services
  • Competition Number: 1052383


This position has been created due to the over representation of Indigenous children involved with and in the care of Alberta Children Services. It is recognized that the Indigenous people of Canada have a complex and traumatic history due to colonization, impacts of residential schools, and historical child welfare practice. Impacts to Indigenous culture, identity, community structure and family and major areas identified as leading to present day child intervention concerns. Many are lodged directly in legislation and policy, but many more are recognized at fundamental practices of social work. Ongoing recommendations and evolution of practices continue to be developed and require specific attention and support to ensure meaningful involvement of Bands (and Indigenous leaders), reconnect children with their families and communities, and support cultural interventions relevant to the people receiving them.

This position is one of three Indigenous Case Specialists that provide support to S delivery sites and 2 sub offices. The NW Region is approximately 800Km by 500Km which contains multiple Bands, Metis Settlements and Indigenous communities.

Key Focus of Indigenous Case Specialist:

  • To ensure case practice for Indigenous children involves meaningful involvement of the Band/designate/community leaders, family, and community in line with the CYFE Act, supporting policies, and practice intent of the GOA.
    • Developing collaborative working relationship with Indigenous communities primarily in Northwest Alberta.
    • Assist Children's Service Staff with Indigenous engagement, policy interpretation, collaboration and consultation on cases
  • Facilitate and create reconnection of Indigenous children with family, extended family, community and culture.
    • Maximize the inclusion of family and community in supporting Indigenous children and families throughout Children Services involvement.
    • Locate extended family and create conditions of collaboration, involvement and lifelong connections
  • Support Children Services staff to engage with Indigenous families and children in a respectful and culturally appropriate ways that build on the collaborative and supportive model of practice articulated in the Child Intervention Practice Model principles, Signs of Safety practice approach and Child Youth and Family Enhancement Act policies.
    • Teaching and mentoring staff and leadership on understanding cultural differences, cultural bias, and ceremony.
    • Highlight the Child Intervention Practice Framework Principles of Indigenous experience in case planning - in the Indigenous people's ways of treating and creating safety.

May provide consultation, teachings and mentoring to staff, contracted service provider on Indigenous protocol, healing, and ceremony.

Responsibilities and Activities

Facilitating and coordinating meaningful involvement under the CYFE Act and policies through Band, Metis Consults and other communities for Indigenous Children

  • Support the case planning for Indigenous children to maintain connections to family, community and culture.
  • Supports staff from a customer services perspective to engage in a collaborative, respectful process with designates and Indigenous partners to ensure documented meaningful involvement.
  • Support the development of culturally appropriate programing for children receiving services from Children's Services, including those living at home, placed with kinship families and foster families, adoptive families, or residential resources.
  • Communicate culturally sensitive information and provide education to stakeholders of Ministry mandates and directives while balancing the cultural needs of the client and stakeholder.
  • Participate as required in Signs of Safety mapping & family planning to develop Child Intervention plans with families.

Support least disruptive measures for children, youth and families to help children stay at home, return to home, remain connected with home, remain connected with culture, and develop lifelong connections (4 domains of permanency).

  • Search for and locate family (i.e. through family finder, family mapping, 3-5-7, and genogram approaches)
  • Assist with the recruitment, training and retention of Indigenous Kinship and Foster homes.
  • Provide directly or arrange for translation services when necessary.
  • Support culturally appropriate matching for placements of Indigenous children.
  • Provide cultural teaching as it relates to current legislated practice, historical impacts and cultural traditions and significances to the Indigenous client to staff, kinship, foster parents, adoptive parents, and contracted service providers.

Provide cultural guidance to staff, leaders, agency and providers to ensure Enhanced Cultural Experiences for all Indigenous Children & Families connected to Children Services

  • Provide feedback and recommendations to the Region on resource development, contracted services, and culturally relevant priorities in Child Intervention and Early Intervention.
  • Support casework activities that engage the client with community and cultural connections (Elders, Camps, pow­wows, etc.) and provide the information on cultural activities in the area to intervention staff.
  • Assist in the coordination of attendance of Indigenous children in care to cultural events within their communities in conjunction with family, kinship, foster care and casework teams.
  • Support and assist in recruiting Elders engaged in the Elder referral program, to enhance the clients understanding and relationship with cultural ceremonies and teachings.
  • Assisting the intervention staff in accessing the elder referral program, review referrals to support appropriate matching of referrals and requests to the Elder.

Position may assist with direct Child Intervention service delivery due to staffing or other crisis. Position may also be required to perform other duties as assigned including on-call.


In Alberta Indigenous Children make up 15.8% of the population (2011 Stats Canada) but are 60-80% (depending on area) of the children in the care of the Government.

  • The Indigenous Specialist can have a significant impact on the NW indigenous caseload and thus the lives of Indigenous children by preventing the trauma of removal, facilitating the healing of returning to family and community, and altering the course of permanency for children. These outcomes are core goals of the Government and have extreme repercussions for an entire people if ignored.
  • The Specialist greatest tool is Engagement with Indigenous entities, sometimes under volatile and strained relations - incumbents must rely on creativity, flexibility and transparency to create engagement and achieve results. Specialists also must maintain internal engagement with staff and policy to navigate long-term positive outcomes for youth, with limited decision making authority.
  • Provide advice and recommendations on client programs and related initiatives to Regional leadership that have impacts on early intervention and direct interventions ability to address the unique service needs of Indigenous children and families.
  • Engages and recruits Elders to the Elder program, and supports ongoing facilitation of Elders to provide direct cultural experiences for children and ensure every Indigenous child in care has access to an Elder and is supported by a cultural plan.
  • Reaches out to other provincial and national Indigenous groups to represent the NW Region and Ministry in building new relationships and developing meaningful plans for children.
  • Must reach out long distances and across multiple Bands and Indigenous communities with varying customs and culture.

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities


  • Degree/diploma in the field of Social Work/Social Sciences plus related experience.
  • Combination of post-secondary courses and experience would be considered (pursuant to Minimum Recruitment Standards).


  • Working with Indigenous communities/agencies for at least 2 years.
  • Minimum of one year experience delivering Child Intervention services in some capacity (Intake through permanency in either DFNA or provincial agency). In a developmental assignment experience would need to be gained through direct service delivery.
  • Have a demonstrated agility to build and maintain relationships in the indigenous community and families.
  • Experience in gifting, and cultural protocols & exposure to ceremony.
  • Experience charting and investigating family networks.

Knowledge of:

  • Indigenous communities, cultures, politics and language.
  • Community resources and agencies that impact Indigenous people.
  • Child Youth and Family Enhancement Act, its practices and initiatives (i.e., signs of safety) and its applications.
  • Signs of Safety tools, practice and philosophy.
  • Human Development, family functioning and dynamics.
  • Historical trauma and impacts of Child Welfare Agencies on Indigenous Populations
  • Knowledge of the Truth and Reconciliation project outcomes and impacts for Children Services.
  • Knowledge of the generational impact of the Residential School System.
  • The process for registering Indigenous children for treaty status or Metis and the entitlements associated with that status.
  • Knowledge of Indigenous healing practices
  • Indigenous language specific to geographical area, i.e., Cree, Dene, Inuit) would be a definite asset but is not essential.
  • Knowledge of Indigenous community agencies and the workings of the area Interagency

Travel is a requirement of this position.

Must possess and maintain a valid Class 5 Driver's license.


  • Ability to lead and influence others without authority or power -position works to engage colleagues in an Indigenous perspective -and refer matters of client impact for resolution.
  • Ability to develop strong working relationships with other government representatives (Chiefs, Grand Chiefs, Child Welfare Directors, First Nations Liaison Unit, Designates).
  • Ability to mediate and negotiate difficult/complex cases to produce positive outcomes (based on Indigenous Agencies historical relationship with Child Intervention).
  • Ability to chair multidiscipline teams and influence teams as a member.
  • Ability to lead Signs of Safety assessments, strategic developments and use solution focus questioning.
  • Strong organizational and communication skills.
  • Computer skills/data analysis and establish base line data on related activities.
  • Ability to provide contextual information on barriers, healing, and systemic problems and provide possible solutions to achieve preferred outcomes.
  • Ability to tolerate a hostile atmosphere and negotiate win-win outcomes even when decisions may not line with personal wishes.
  • Ability to act with political awareness by understanding the complexities of government as well as the position of Indigenous people.
  • Ability to learn specific Indigenous words important to culture and role, i.e., thank you

Note:  Pursuant to the Region's policy, these positions are required to be delegated


  • First Nations, Chiefs, Councils, Band Designates, Social Workers, Regional Directors and First Nations program staff and First Nation Child Welfare Boards.
  • Metis Nation Local Presidents, Metis Settlements, Zone Executives and the Provincial body.
  • Other First Nations/Indigenous organizations involved with children.
  • NW Region front line staff, supervisors, contract specialists, managers and regional managers.
  • Children's Advocate.
  • Community Agencies and interagency partners
  • Community agencies, elders and other stakeholders.
  • Federal government department officials such as Indian and Northern Affairs, Medical Services Branch, etc.

Supervision Exercised

  • None

The Government of Alberta is committed to a diverse and inclusive public service that reflects the population we serve to best meet the needs of Albertans. Consider joining a team where diversity, inclusion and innovation are valued and supported. For more information on diversity and inclusion, please visit the Diversity and Inclusion Policy.