NORTH BAY -- The Doug Ford Government has designated the Niijaansinaanik Child and Family Services as Ontario’s 13th Indigenous children’s aid society.

This official designation will enable Niijaansinaanik Child and Family Services (NCFS) to provide culturally-based services and supports to more Indigenous children and families in the Districts of Nipissing and Parry Sound, and as well as families in Greater Sudbury.

“Indigenous children have rights to be cared for and advocated for in a way that protects and nurtures their identities and culture,” said Niijaansinaanik Child and Family Services Executive Director Joanne Koehler.

Niijaansinaanik Child and Family Services will provide family care to six First Nations communities and to Indigenous children and families currently served by non-Indigenous societies in the Districts of Nipissing, Parry Sound, and the City of Greater Sudbury.

The designation is the result of years of collaboration between the province, Magnetawan First Nation, Wasauksing First Nation, Shawanaga First Nation, Henvey Inlet First Nation, Dokis First Nation and Wahnapitae First Nation.

“Our chiefs, president, board of directors representing the First Nations, elders, and staff strongly believe Indigenous children and families should be cared for and served by an Indigenous agency with the capacity to delivery culturally congruent services,” said Koehler.

The agency provides cultural and community-centered practices for healing the family unit according to Indigenous and Anishinaabe values, as well as Mino-Bimadaaziwin (The Good Life).

The agency also provides cultural, alternative, customary, and family care solutions in addition to prevention and protection services.

Since 2019, NCFS has been providing 24/7 child and family services.

“This designation is a significant accomplishment and I commend Niijaansinaanik Child and Family Services for your commitment to meeting the unique needs of Indigenous children, youth and families,” said Ontario’s Minister of Children, Community and Social Services Todd Smith.

Ten of Ontario’s 13 Indigenous children’s aid societies are located in the north while three are in southern Ontario.

The Niijaansinaanik Child and Family Services is one of 51 children’s aid societies across the province.