First Nations Parenting and Child Reunification: Identifying Strengths, Barriers, and Community Needs - Elaine Toombs (2016)

First Nations children are overrepresented in the child welfare system in Canada (Blackstock, 2003). First Nations communities are seeking to improve current service delivery models and create alternative evidence-based strategies. A First Nations child welfare organization has identified priority areas related to reunification and parenting, identify successes and barriers to reunification, and examine service needs. These priorities were addressed with a community-based, participatory model, and guided by a community Research Advisory. Results were analyzed using a blend of grounded theory and thematic analysis techniques. Participants identified the need to place children with extended family or within home communities to facilitate best child outcomes. Improving parental and community capacity was recognized to promote positive reunifications. Successes identified within communities included available supports, such as those that increased empowerment and community capacity. Identified barriers within communities were the lack of culturally appropriate parenting services, hesitancy to obtain available support due to fears of child welfare intervention, and mental health difficulties of community members. Results of this study will be disseminated to communities and used to develop a culturally appropriate parenting program.

MA ThesesTyler Drawson