Information sheets, forms and other documents: view/download here
Our motto is “Chen Chen Stway tina7la Ayas Men men” which means ‘Working together for peace for our children.’
We are guided by Squamish Values and Teachings:
Chiyaxw – Chenchenstway: it is our law to uphold one another. There are teachings which speak of the ways in which the people interact as Squamish people – parents, friends and communities who support one another. Chenchenstway means working together.
Guide, Protect and Provide: Our people are guided by awareness that the ways of our ancestors created balance within the home, family and community. The foundation of this way of life was having the ability to guide, protect and provide.Guide – the children in the ways of the Squamish people
Protect – it is the responsibility of our families and community to protect our children
Provide – meeting the needs of family and community
The purpose of the Ayas Men Men Child & Family Services department is to protect and strengthen the family and to provide peace to the children of Squamish Nation. This is achieved by ensuring that children have safety, protection, security, love, guidance, spirituality, harmony, healing and respect in their lives. Child & Family Services equips children and their families with life skills, education, and training in the Squamish language, cultural, social and family tradition.
There are six work teams in the Child & Family Services department, with a total of 57 staff serving our members.
The teams are as follows:
- Case Management/Family Therapy
- Child & Youth Support including SN Youth Center
- Prevention & Community Awareness
- Family Programs
- Nexwniwnitway Family Circle Program (family group conference)
- Administrative Services
“To achieve peace for all Squamish children, the Squamish Nation, through Ayas Men Men Child & Family Services, supports their care, well being and safety, while recognizing the strength and care giving abilities of all Squamish Families.”
Strong healthy individuals and community working together honoring our positive identity as First Nation families. Effectively managing our resources for future generations through prevention and early intervention programs and services.
Case Management Division:
Ayas Men Men provides the Squamish Nation Membership with delegated child & family services (Family Support Services, Guardianship Services & Resource care homes) pursuant to the British Columbia Child, Family and Community Service Act. Our agency is in compliance with provincial standards and our operations, financial management and practice standards have been successfully audited.
Referrals for protection situations are made to the Ministry of Children and Families Department (MCFD). Our Ayas Men Men social workers attend with our members to provide support and understanding about the process. Social workers are available each day to answer questions and respond to concerns about services for Squamish members.
Family Care Homes for AMM children in care are recruited, studied, opened and supported by the resource workers.
We currently have:
- 75 children in care
- 196 Family Services Cases
- 54 Family Care Homes
- 7 children returned to their parents
The goal of the Case Management team is to provide cultural and community-centered services that respect the best interests and rights of the children, in an environment that provides them with safety and security, and that enables them to ultimately achieve their full potential as healthy, competent, well-adjusted people with pride in their identity as members of their Nation. These goals are achieved within a strong and supportive family and community.
Child & Youth Support Division:
The work of the Youth Team supports the children and families of the Nation through group and individual activities. The emphasis is on cultural training, behavioral management and building self-esteem. The general practice and philosophy is to actively reach out to community youth to support the physical, emotional, nutritional and spiritual well-being of the youth, to encourage life skills development and provide cultural teachings.
The Youth Services program participated in coordinating canoe journeys through our traditional territories so that youth and their families can participate in supportive, healing, spiritual and challenging experiences. They gain cultural knowledge and the journey is recognized as part of “returning home”.
- 141 children & youth receiving one to one support
- 147 attended youth camp (Ayateway, Kwayestut, Camp Jubilee)
- 180 participated in food gathering
- 120 attended family camp
- 100 youth attended suicide prevention workshop
- 23 canoe certification & skipper training
- 30 youth went on Returning Home Canoe Journey
- 23 youth attended Hunters & Gatherers
- 300 people attended the community celebrations
- Our calendar of events is communicated through our Nation flyer.
- Some of the groups & ceremonies included:
- Boys & girls life skills group, wellness, healthy relationships
- Youth fitness, boxing
- Drumming & singing, cedar and wool weaving,
- regalia making
- Elders honoring ceremony
- Ayateway camp, Camp Kwayestut canoe journey, canoe certification and Skipper training
- Elaho Camp, Hunters & Gatherers, outback survival, food gathering
- Achievers, suicide prevention,
- Elhtach family camp
Prevention & Community Awareness Division:
This team develops special projects to deliver information on child & family services to the community. The main objective of this division is to make sure there is enough support in the community for families to survive crises without having to put children into care, and for the entire family to eventually lead healthy, productive lives. This involves leading an outreach team, developing educational programs as well as personally educating the community on awareness and warning signs, as well as advising members of support systems available and where to turn in times of crisis. Following are examples of benefits to the community:
- 67 Family Support/preservation cases = two weekly groups (ta-ah and grandfather/father) and two strengthening families groups per year.
- 150 Elders received food gathered by our programs
- 10 women attend Women’s group, 10 women attended retreat
- Eight men attend men’s group, six attended Sundance, and six attended Bushcraft Training
Family Programs Division:
The Family Centers provide proactive prevention and education strategies to all Squamish families. The three centers, two in North Vancouver (So-sah-latch & Mother Bear) and one in Squamish Valley (Ayas l’am) have regularly scheduled programs with a team of specialists (speech and language, infant development, supported child development, health nurse, ECE) and staff to assist parents with family issues, providing one-on-one support, workshops and other activities. The team coordinates and sends flyers out for a year-round schedule of programs designed to help parents and children learn about life skills, family dynamics and to receive training in the Squamish language, cultural, social and family tradition.
We also have pre- and post-natal support, family support workers and specialists that provide group education or outreach/home visitor support to our families.
- 46 families attended the family program;
- 72 children received support from the Infant Development specialist;
- 54 children received support from the Speech & Language pathologist;
- 21 attend the Mother Bear drop in program;
- 10 families received service from our outreach home visitor and Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters (HIPPY);
- 51 families attended early pregnancy/mid pregnancy/labour classes;28 babies were born;34 attended pre-natal classes63 attended post-natal classes.
All were celebrated at our annual Honoring our Babies Ceremony held in November.
Nexwniwnitway Family Circle Program:
Alternative Resolution for Child protection:
A voluntary alternative to family court
Nexwniwnitway (nough-nay-owe-nate-why) means to seek counsel, as in the sense of mutual intent to discuss, resolve, act, and follow up.
The goal is to re-introduce, re-learn and reinstate Squamish ways as part of service provider practice and service delivery to Squamish children and families.
The objective is to provide Nation families who come before the Ministry or Family Court with child protection issues, with a voluntary alternative for planning for the future care of their child/children. We accept referrals for family circles from Nation service providers on any issues relating to Squamish children and families.
Participants include: parents, extended family members, service providers, program specialists, Squamish Elders, cultural teachers, Circle facilitator and co-facilitators.
- 50 Nexwniwntiway Family circles were held
- Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada
- Ministry of Children & Family Development
- Child & Youth Mental Health (MCFD)
- Vancouver Coastal Health
- North Shore Neighborhood House
- Sea to Sky Community Services
- North Vancouver School District
- Law Foundation
We have internal protocols for interdepartmental services with Squamish Nation Education & Health Services, and external protocols with the Integrated First Nations Policing Unit, the Vancouver Aboriginal Child and Family Services Society, Squamish Nation Peace Keepers, and the BC Representative for Children and Youth.
- Reclaiming Squamish values and principles.
- Conduct community consultation and elder advice sessions to discuss what child safety could look like from a cultural perspective, historically and currently,
- Consulting with community quality care committee about process and care decisions that respect and considers the concerns expressed by children and youth.
- Determine how to blend western practice methods with Squamish cultural practice to create a Squamish social work practice model.
- Develop cultural competency training to improve the existing quality of services through active cultural, prevention and therapeutic approaches..
- Ongoing professional development and training for staff to ensure delivery of quality service to Squamish Nation members
- Ongoing cultural development and personal wellness support for staff.Regular and open communication with Squamish Nation membership.
- Seek community feedback about programs and services.
- Approximately one third of all children in care are Aboriginal
- Approximately 113 Indian bands in BC receive funding from the Federal Government to establish their own Child in Care Service Programs
- Children in care are greatly influenced by their community, family and immediate environment. They present a clearer and stronger sense of personal stability and identity when they maintain connection to their Squamish community, extended family support and culture.
- Children & Youth’s self esteem, identity and stability are more challenged when living off -reserve with caregivers who do not recognize or actively support the child’s cultural identity.
- The quality of relationship of AMM social workers with their child in care is critical to support the child’s emotional well-being. A positive, caring, longstanding relationship between a child and his or her social worker is essential to assisting the child to be resilient while navigating the experience of growing up.
- Cultural support needs to be provided on an ongoing basis to children, family & family caregivers