PEI

Aboriginal foster parents aided by kit

A P.E.I. aboriginal student has put together a resource kit to help social workers and foster parents better understand the culture of aboriginal children in their care.
Emily Ferguson (right) and Denyse Butler look through the new aboriginal foster care kit. (Pat Martel/CBC)

A P.E.I. aboriginal student has put together a resource kit to help social workers and foster parents better understand the culture of aboriginal children in their care.

Emily Ferguson received funding from the Mi'kmaq Confederacy of P.E.I. for the kit, and created it while on a student job placement with the Department of Child and Family Services. The new kit will provide workers with the tools to educate, promote and preserve a child's Aboriginal identity.

"So for example, if a social worker would like to get information on what a smudge is, or where to go for a powwow, they can look in the resource package," said Ferguson.

"In my research a number of different social workers and foster parents were concerned with how to act at a powwow or what to do and what not to do. So in my booklet I just gave more helpful hints so people aren't so scared of what the aboriginal culture is."

Social workers across P.E.I. will soon have access to the kit.

"We want to be able to expose that child to the language of their family, of their culture, of their community," said provincial child protection supervisor Denyse Butler.

"The booklet will provide information about who the social worker could call to get any information that would be helpful around what to expose the child to in the home that would assist that child in learning their language."

A committee of native elders, foster parents, community members and social workers oversaw the project.

now