Child & Family

Family Services (FS) workers provide voluntary support for families who become involved in the child welfare system, with the Ministry for Children and Family Development, or for families who request and are seeking support for a variety of issues. A Family Service Worker can assist in:

  • The development and implementation of child safety plans
  • Assisting and advocating for families in communications with MCFD
  • Attending mediations and family court to provide support and information
  • Making referrals to community and professional services

Family Service Workers cannot prevent MCFD from responding to a report, conducting investigations, or removing children from the home or from the care of their parents. 

NBCHCFSS contracts with our member nations to provide Community Advocate Services in each of the nations we serve. A Community Advocate also works out of our Prince George office to provide advocacy and support to community members living in the urban setting. Community Advocates work directly with families who are involved with MCFD to provide support and advocacy throughout the initial investigation process. In community, the Community Advocates are the designated Band Representatives and collaborate with the respective nations to support in decision making and advocacy that best meets the needs of children and families; they also attend Family Court on behalf of the Nation. If ongoing support is required after the initial MCFD investigative phase, families will transition to working with the Family Support Workers. 

If situations where children have been removed from their parents, parents have not been able to mitigate child protection concerns as outlined by MCFD, and alternate planning with family or community is not possible, MCFD may apply for a Continuing Custody Order to bring the children into permanent care. When a Continuing Custody Order is granted on a child from Nak’azdli Whut’en, Tl’azt’en Nation, or Binche Whut’en, NBHCFSS takes over Guardianship responsibilities for the child from MCFD. The Continuing Custody Order is issued by the court and remains in effect until the child turns 19 or leaves care through adoption, transfer of custody, or a rescindment of the order. It is important to note that at this time, NBHCFSS does not have the delegated authority to remove children from their parents and children are brought into are through a removal by an MCFD social worker. NBHCFSS recognizes the sacred responsibility of caring for children and ensures that the children and youth from the communities we serve maintain connections to their families, communities, and culture. 

When a child is in the Continuing Custody of the Director and transfers from MCFD to NBHCFS, many shifts in planning, supports, and service delivery start to take place. Guardianship workers at NBH work closely with children, family members, extended family and the child’s Nation to provide comprehensive supports that are focused on children’s cultural identity and belonging within their family and Nation. 

NBHCFSS is now able to provide post-majority services to youth who have reached the age of majority in care or on a Youth Agreement to ensure ongoing support into adulthood. This transition planning can include outreach support; a continuation of a living arrangement - either funding to continue independent living or to remain in an approved resource/foster home; or an Agreement with Young Adults (AYA) – agreements with young adults attending an education or lifeskills program up until the age of 27. Our Post Majority Worker begins connecting with youth at the age of 16 to start transition planning early on. Many exciting changes and announcements have been made Provincially and Federally with respect to post majority supports and services. NBHCFS is working diligently to provide service to all eligible young adults from our member Nations as this program area continues to expand and grow.