Indigenous caregivers keep children in culturally appropriate environments, regardless of where they reside.
Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada: Calls to Action
While the overall number of Indigenous children and youth coming into care is safely reducing, there is still a high-number of children who are separated from their families and communities while they’re in care. Children’s Services is committed to keeping Indigenous families together whenever possible.
When a child has to come into care, it’s important that children be placed with people known to them – extended family, community members or people familiar with the child’s own cultural traditions or ceremonial practices.
Whether you live in an urban, rural or Indigenous community setting, you may be able to provide a safe, loving and stable home for a child or sibling group. Children need and have the right to develop pride in their personal identity, to experience their familial and community belonging, and to know their place in their Nation.
Children need to learn how to walk in both worlds – Indigenous and non-Indigenous – and need families and Elders who can teach them how to do this.
Who are the Indigenous children coming into care?
A child coming into care can be an infant, child or youth under the age of 18, of any gender or sexual orientation. Almost all children will have experienced some form of trauma from being removed from their home or multiple placements. Some children need longer-term placements and others need short-term placements. Almost all will need support to maintain connections with their families and communities.
Children entering care may:
- have experienced abuse, neglect, exposure to domestic violence or excessive drug or alcohol use
- be part of a sibling group that’s to be kept together
- need assistance with keeping connections to their own family, community, cultural background and language
- struggle with issues surrounding loss and grief
- have issues around gender identity or sexual orientation
- require help preparing for adulthood
Types of Indigenous caregiving
Indigenous families can provide care to children either through kinship care (which is more like traditional practices) or through foster care, adoption or private guardianship.
The different types of caregiving roles are:
- kinship caregiving (more like traditional practices)
- foster caregiving
- private guardianship
How to become a caregiver
Support for caregivers
Caregivers are supported through government caregiver programs and workers, agencies, other caregivers, and the Alberta Foster Kinship Association. These include, but are not limited to:
- ongoing contact and visits from support workers and child’s caseworkers
- resources for respite and child care
- peer support and support groups
- recognition events
Learn more about compensation rates, training and other support for caregivers.
Find caregiver services in your area:
Toll free: 1-888-643-1889