NALS and Dilico press release ...
June 6, 2008
THUNDER BAY, ON: Nishnawbe-Aski Legal Services Corporation (NALSC) together with Dilico Anishinabek Family Care (Dilico) announced a unique partnership that brings alternative dispute resolution services to Nishnawbe Aski Nation (Treaty 9) communities at an official protocol signing held today at the NALSC office in Thunder Bay.
“We have worked diligently for several years to make this day possible, and today we are pleased to announce the expansion of the Talking Together Program to Treaty 9 members,” said Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) Deputy Grand Chief Terry Waboose. “This unique program builds on Aboriginal tradition and will empower our people to avoid the courts and deal with local issues at the community level.”
The Talking Together Program is based on traditional circles used since time immemorial by Aboriginal People to restore justice, harmony and balance to their communities. Using a facilitator, the program brings together children, their parents, family and community members in a Talking Together Circle where they meet on equal grounds to develop, by consensus, an effective plan to resolve child protection concerns.
“This Program will take us out of the adversarial legal realm and into a gentler place where more effective service plans can be developed quicker,” said Dr. Donald Auger, Executive Director of Dilico. “Everyone in the Circle is involved in developing the plan, not just the parents and service providers, but extended family members and neighbours as well.”
This unique and innovative program, which will be available to NAN community members under Dilico’s jurisdiction, offers an alternative way to deal with issues conventionally dealt with in the Family Court system. It offers a less intrusive, culturally sensitive approach to child protection matters arising from the provincial Child & Family Services Act.
“Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) programs like the Talking Together Program, with its less intrusive method of dealing with family problems and protection issues can alleviate the need for the often costly and adversarial family court system” said Suzanne Withenshaw, Acting/Executive Director of Nishnawbe-Aski Legal Services Corporation.
Referrals can be made by agencies, outside organizations, or the parents at any time during a child protection matter, including pre-apprehension or while a service plan is being developed, reviewed or modified.
“It is important for our agencies to maintain an open, cooperative relationship in order to facilitate the Talking Together process,” said Auger. “Working together to deliver this program is a positive step in addressing the needs of our children, families and communities.”
Nishnawbe-Aski Legal Services Corporation is a unique organization that delivers a wide range of services to members of Nishnawbe Aski Nation (Treaty 9) including legal, public education and law reform services.
Dilico Anishinabek Family Care provides a range of responsive individual, family and community programs for the complete life journey of all Anishinabek people. The agency cares for the physical health, the mental health, and the health of the communities where Anishinabek people live by promoting wellness, preventing illness and trauma, and providing diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation.
For further information, contact:
Dilico Anishinabek Family Care
Ellaree Metz, Acting Special Projects Manager
Nishnawbe-Aski Legal Services Corporation
Phone: 807-622-1413 Ex. 7073