The over-representation of First Nations children and youth in child welfare care has been a long-standing problem in Saskatchewan and across our country.
In 2005, Indigenous and non-Indigenous leaders came together to develop principles to guide the re-visioning of child welfare services for Aboriginal children in Canada and the United States.
The Touchstone of Hope principles are meant to be interpreted within distinct cultures and contexts of Aboriginal communities according to a four stage reconciliation process:
Working respectfully together to design, implement and monitor the new child welfare system.
Doing what we can to redress the harm and making changes to ensure it does not happen again.
Telling the story of child welfare as it has affected Indigenous children, youth and families.
Learning from the past, seeing one another with new understanding, and recognizing the need to move forward on a new path.
Reconciliation cannot be classified as a single event. Rather, reconciliation is a movement carried forth through events, moments between individuals, and most importantly, through relationship building.
The Touchstones of Hope are intended to be infused throughout the child welfare system from re-search to practice, and the movement encourages building and sustaining relationships with others devoted to ensuring that Aboriginal children are healthy and living in dignity and respect.
To that end, the Saskatchewan Advocate for Children and Youth has adopted the Touchstones as part of our Guiding Principles when promoting child welfare system change and working with Aboriginal children, youth and families.
Learn more about the Touchstones of Hope:
Fact Sheet (PDF):
Touchstones of Hope for Indigenous Children, Youth and Families