Indigenous Children's Wellness Program
Goal of the Program
The goal of the Indigenous Children's Wellness Program is to mitigate the impact of witnessing violence and provide urban Aboriginal children with tools to support positive development and life choices as they grow. Provide Aboriginal parents/caregivers, community partners and organizations with the tools to begin designing an effective community response to ending violence against women and children.
The Indigenous Children’s Wellness Program provides cultural resources, education, knowledge and personal support to Aboriginal children ages 7–12 who are victims of violence as well as the parent/caregiver of the children to support a return to optimal levels of understanding, reasoning and functioning as healthy individuals and families.
Children are often perceived as innocent bystanders and the “silent observers” of family violence however in reality they are active participants and the true victims. Children suffer the impact of violence physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually that set off feeling of anger, despair, sadness and spiritual emptiness. Children exposed to violence are at increased risk of a broad range of traumatic outcomes that can often manifest themselves behaviorally.
To begin violence is a learned behavior that without supports will continue with subsequent generations. The focus of the program explores the impact of witnessing violence on urban Aboriginal child victims who are powerless and forced into living with the consequences. The range of effects as a result of exposure to violence on children includes social and academic challenges, fears and worries about their own, their siblings and non offending parent safety, somatic complaints, intrusive thoughts, compromising coping skills and attachment issues. In addition, children living with and struggling with violence issues within their family homes are further victimized when they are forced to flee their homes resulting in added issues of poverty, slum housing, inadequate basic life skills, low education, drug abuse and suicide. As a final point, witnessing violence increases the changes that boys will grow up to violently with dating and/or marital partners that could lead to involvement with the criminal justice system. For girls, it increases the changes that they will accept violence in their dating and/or martial relationships.
Programming will address the child’s worldview from an Aboriginal cultural and developmental perspective. This program takes a holistic approach to proving those children with cultural resources, education, knowledge and personal support to return to optimal levels of understanding, reasoning and functioning. In addition to this series of parenting and community based programming related to the impact of violence will be hosted for children, mothers/caregivers, Aboriginal communities, school groups and service providers.
The program worker is responsible for establishing and maintaining culturally appropriate program activities and services, which will provide Aboriginal children and their parents/caregivers with knowledge and skills to understand family violence and how it affects themselves, Aboriginal children, and others. In addition, the program worker will engage in advocacy efforts to facilitate access to cultural competency training for child welfare agency staff as required.