William Yoachim, Kw’umut Lelum exective director, left, Michael Wyse, Snuneymuxw chief and Paul Wyse Seward, Snuneymuxw band councillor, present a blanket to Katrine Conroy, minister of Children and Family Development, during the grand opening of Kw’umut Lelum’s grand opening of its new Prideaux Street offices on Jan. 16. (CHRIS BUSH/News Bulletin)

First Nations take over off-reserve family services in mid-Island region

Kw’umut Lelum hosts grand opening of new Nanaimo office

A new centre supporting aboriginal families living in urban areas is now serving nine mid-Island First Nations.

Kw’umut Lelum Child and Family Services hosted a grand opening for its new offices at 233 Prideaux St. in Nanaimo on Wednesday with a ceremony that included speeches, prayers and song.

The organization has served member nation families living on reserve, but in November they extended services to families living in Nanaimo. The building is home to a team of social, family support workers as well as child and youth care workers and administration staff.

The goal is to support First Nation families with coordinated, culturally-informed child safety and support services for aboriginal families and communities that are guided by Coast Salish values, which include engaging the whole community to support families and keep children out of foster care and with their families and culture.

Transferring responsibility and care for urban First Nations families to Kw’umut Lelum, a Delegated Aboriginal Agency, is seen as a step forward in the reconciliation process.

“One of the things the government has made a commitment to is reconciliation and a lot of the times we get told by a lot of the different First Nations leadership is it’s time to quit talking about reconciliation and actually engage in reconcili-action,” said Katrine Conroy, Minister of Children and Family Development.

This year the Nanaimo hub will handle up to 60 files transferred from MCFD.

“The ministry’s saying, ‘Go. We really support you and you should be watching over your own’ and that’s why it’s significant to us … it’s a great fit and it’s a fit that’s needed for our children, youth and families,” said Bill Yoachim, Kw’umut Lelum executive director.

Member nations the Nanaimo hub serves include First Nations from Mill Bay to Qualicum — Halalt, Lyackson, Lake Cowichan, Malahat, Penelakut, Qualicum, Snaw-Naw-As, Snuneymuxw and Stz’uminus — but children and families supported by Kw’umut Lelum in Nanaimo come from areas beyond the central and south Island including the Lower Mainland and Fraser valley said Snuneymuxw Chief Michael Wyse.

“Our children are our future. Some of the people that lived away from our communities, lived off-reserve in urban areas, run into trouble too, so we want to make sure that they’re looked after in a right way, that the culture and way of life is shared with them in a good way,” Wyse said. “I’m really happy that this is being brought forward and being available for our communities. We’re really happy about that.”



photos@nanaimobulletin.com
Like us on
Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

‘Elizabeth Little Waterfront Park’ proposed in Qualicum Beach

It was first announced in 2018 that St. Andrews Lodge would be turned into a public space

RDN budget talks to include public consultation results

Director not impress with level of engagement

Three celebrations this summer in Parksville for city’s big 75th birthday bash

Beach party and street festival to be added to city’s roster of activities

Transit BC to replace Regional District of Nanaimo’s handyDart bus fleet

New vehicles will be gas-powered, with better loading and unloading capabilities

New BC Cannabis store opens up shop in Parksville

Outlet at Wembley Mall open seven days per week

‘Presumptive case’ of coronavirus in Canada confirmed by Ontario doctors

Man in his 50s felt ill on his return to Canada from Wuhan, China

VIDEO: Drone footage shows extent of damage in Highway 4 rockslide

Tofino, Ucluelet still cut off from rest of the island, as crews work to repair roadway

People knowingly take fentanyl so make policy changes to reduce harm: B.C. study

Dr. Jane Buxton, an epidemiologist at the centre, says drug users need more resources,

‘My heart is going to bleed’: Bodies brought back to Canada following Iran plane crash

Remains of Sahar Haghjoo, 37, and her eight-year-old daughter, Elsa Jadidi, were identified last weekend

BCLC opens novelty bet on Harry and Meghan moving to the west coast

Meanwhile, real estate agency points to four possible homes for the family

Canada slips in global corruption ranking in aftermath of SNC-Lavalin scandal

The country obtained a score of 77, which places it at the top in the Americas

Wuhan bans cars, Hong Kong closes schools as coronavirus spreads

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said her government will raise its response level to emergency, highest one

Most Read