ANCFSAO is thrilled to announce that MCCSS has issued a policy directive under section 42 of the CYFSA approving the use of HEART and SPIRIT as an alternative to SAFE and PRIDE. This policy directive came into effect on July 7, 2020 after the program was piloted with both Indigenous and non-Indigenous agencies.
The program involves the Helping Establish Able Resource-Homes Together (HEART) engagement component, the Strong Parent Indigenous Relationships Information Training (SPIRIT) piece, and the Indigenous Family Development Assessment (IFDA) tool. The program is grounded in Indigenous family and clan life, philosophies, values, and practices focused on child and youth caring traditions. It is designed to support potential caregivers of Indigenous children and youth in learning about these traditions as well as the impacts of historical events that have disrupted them.
HEART and SPIRIT supports Indigenous family systems by:
- Catering to the unique learning styles of Indigenous peoples;
- Ensuring the training curriculum and delivery is flexible enough to be applied in specific cultural contexts, given the diversity within the Indigenous population;
- Fostering a partnership approach with potential caregivers based on respect and understanding;
- Providing a support system that encourages greater understanding of historical multigenerational trauma on Aboriginal family systems.
Ontario ICWB (Indigenous Child Well Being) agencies and Children’s Aid Societies may now use this program as an alternative to SAFE and PRIDE.
The purpose of HEART and SPIRIT is to provide social workers and helpers in both Indigenous and non-Indigenous child and family services agencies with a more culturally appropriate and effective approach to engaging caregivers to care for Indigenous children and youth in need.