SECFS – Community Profiles
Berens River First Nation is a remote community on the east side of Lake Winnipeg approximately 380 kms north of Winnipeg by winter road and an hour by air. The winter road access is dependent upon weather, and is usually open annually for 1-3 months. There are approximately 1,800 members residing on-reserve and 1,100 residing off the community. Berens River First Nation is the largest community served by SECFS.
The Berens River Mino-ayaawin Abinoojii Home (meaning “maintaining a child’s well-being and physical health”) was built as a partnership between the Berens River Chief and Council and the SECFS, to be managed by Shawenin Abinoojii Inc. The day-to-day oversight is provided by the Berens River SECFS Community Based Team.
Community Health and Education Support Services (CHESS) is an after-school program that offers activities for children and youth as a means to promote healthier lifestyles and choices. During the summer there are organized activities open for the community. The program now operates out of the Berens River Arena, and is one of the successful prevention programs partnered between the First Nation and SECFS.
Black River First Nation is a road accessible community located 388 km northeast of Winnipeg. While families struggle with socioeconomic conditions due to the costs of travel and goods, and the lack of a comprehensive infrastructure, the community is cohesive and quite vibrant with constant community events happening.
Bloodvein First Nation is located 45 minutes by air north of Winnipeg, and now with the new Eastside Road is accessible year round. The community has a membership of 2,000, of which 1,000 reside on the community.
The SECFS partnered with the Bloodvein Chief and Council to build the current SECFS office, which provided the opportunity to using the old office facility to operate as an emergency placement home to prevent children from needing to be removed from the community. Southeast CFS looks forward to partnering with the Bloodvein First Nation to see the building of two specialized placement homes to be able to keep children in the community when they are in need of out of home care.
Brokenhead Ojibway Nation:
Brokenhead Ojibway Nation is a road accessible community located 85 km north Winnipeg. The community is home to the South Beach Casino and Resort, and one of Manitoba’s most familiar First Nation as a main highway goes right through the community.
Hollow Water First Nation:
Hollow Water First Nation is a road-accessible community located 225 km northeast of Winnipeg with a population of about 700 members residing on-reserve. Hollow Water is renowned for its Community Holistic Circle Healing (CHCH) alternative justice and healing approach to addressing sexual abuse. The community holds its annual Black Island Days as a community and family event.
Little Grand Rapids First Nation:
Little Grand Rapids First Nation is a remote community with 1,100 members residing on the First Nation which is situated on the east side of Lake Winnipeg, located approximately one hour by air north of Winnipeg. A winter road is open for 1-3 months each year; otherwise, travel is by air. There are periods weeks long during the lake’s freeze up and thaw that there is very limited travel to the community, with the costly option of helicopter transportation during these periods.
A partnership between the Little Grand Rapids First Nation, SECFS, and Shawenim Abinoojii Inc. established the Bikiiwaan Project (means “Coming Home”) as a means to formalize the process to repatriate the high number of children in care to their home community. The project provides for a Coordinator who oversees the staffing of the four specialized therapeutic homes, acts as a liaison between Shawenim Abinoojii Inc. and SECFS, and meets with the city unit staff to identify children who need to “come home”.
Pauingassi First Nation:
Pauingassi is an isolated First Nation located approximately one hour by air north of Winnipeg. There are 587 members, with the majority residing on the reserve. Pauingassi is viewed as one of the most disadvantaged communities in Manitoba due to the limited accessibility and their reliance to transport goods in on the winter road, which has been open for little over a month in the past few years. Despite the challenges, SECFS has successfully partnered with the First Nation leadership to build four specialized treatment homes that is providing local placements for the children of Pauingassi to remain in or return to their home community.
Poplar River First Nation:
Poplar River First Nation is a remote community located about an hour and 20 minutes by air north of Winnipeg. The population is 1,600 members with 1,200 residing on-reserve and 400 residing off-reserve.
In 2011, a partnership between the Poplar River First Nation leadership, SECFS, and Shawenim Abinoojii Inc. saw the building of specialized Therapeutic Care Homes on the community.
The lack of housing and overcrowding required an innovative approach to addressing the ongoing removal of children in care from the community. These specialized treatment homes provide a safe, secure and a local culturally-appropriate option for children in care with SECFS.
There are many band members from the eight communities who reside in Winnipeg or elsewhere throughout the province of Manitoba. Southeast Child and Family Services provides services to these children and families.
Shawenim Abinoojii Inc.:
Shawenim Abinoojii Inc., formerly the Four Bedroom Unit Inc., offers exclusive specialized therapeutic home placement options (on- and off-reserve) and support worker services to Southeast Child and Family Services. Shawenim Abinoojii Inc. is a non-profit service in transition to become a provincially recognized third party service provider.
Circling Thunderbird Centre:
The Circling Thunderbird Centre is located on the peninsula across from the Little Grand Rapids First Nation. The Circling Thunderbird Centre (CTC) was originally a partnership between the SECFS, Little Grand Rapids First Nation Chief and Council, and the Pauingassi First Nation Chief and Council to restore the building into a children’s shelter for the children from both communities. The end result is a two section building that has separate but related functions.
Shawenim Abinoojii Inc. operates the CTC as an emergency and temporary care placement centre for the LGR and Pauingassi First Nation children. The building also offers a family resource centre where client families and children could access professional and paraprofessional treatment services. Also, the CTC would provide an accommodation facility for SECFS, Shawenim Abinoojii, and other professionals who required accommodations while working with the LGR and Pauingassi children-in-care and their families.
Painted Tipis Residence for Young First Nations Women, located in the rural municipality of St. Annes, Manitoba, provides a safe, warm and nurturing environment for the “hard to place” and “at risk” SECFS female youth in care. The home provides opportunity for the youth to reframe their past experiences and assist them gain a sense of optimism and hope for a good life. The environment encourages them to reflect on their feelings and behaviours so that they can learn new ways to have their needs met in a constructive and satisfying way.