“Now that I’m involved in programs like these, I feel more confident, I feel like I have a chance.”
-Cesille, mother of three
Ubuntu works together with children, youth and families in North East Edmonton, who have open Child and Family Services (CFS) files. Together we address the root causes of a family’s struggles and then identify flexible, culturally competent, community-based supports and services to help the family be healthy and stay together. We are always guided by Ubuntu’s core philosophy: the importance of the voice of persons served in decision making and goal setting.
Ubuntu’s four pillars
- Children: every child/youth will have a say in their future
- Family: every effort will be made to work with family members to keep them together
- Culture: we will understand and respect the cultural context of those we serve
- Community: every child/youth will live in, or be connected with, the community from which they come
How we do our work
The children, youth and families we serve are referred to Ubuntu from Child and Family Services. Once referred, they work with their Ubuntu team consisting of their natural supports, Ubuntu support workers, CFS caseworker and other care providers. Thoughtful transitioning out of Ubuntu services is integral to ensuring the long-term success of the persons served, however, the Ubuntu team encourages children/youth and families to stay in touch after files are closed.
“The information I got through Ubuntu helped me a lot. I feel empowered by having the knowledge of what to do, and when to do it.”
-Shannon, mother of two
In Ubuntu’s first two years, we’ve seen
- a reduction in the number of children in care, and
- an increase in the number of children staying with their families, ensuring they are in culturally appropriate homes
- a positive change in the experience children and families have with ‘the system’
Who we are
Ubuntu is a collaborative program of five community agencies: Boyle Street Community Services (lead partners), Bent Arrow Traditional Healing Society, Edmonton Mennonite Centre for Newcomers, Norwood Child and Family Resource Centre and Terra Centre for Teen parents, known collectively as the C5. Ubuntu also works closely with the Northeast Child and Family Services Neighbourhood Centre, and the Multi-Cultural Health Brokers.
Our Collaborative Service Delivery model (CSD) uses relational shared practice approaches and decision-making. Children and families are always at the forefront of our work.
For more information about Ubuntu, please contact: Laurel McCalla at LMcCalla@boylestreet.org or call 780-424-4106 Ext 340
Ubuntu Children + Families is located at 14023 Victoria Trail.
“The difference between my previous experience with CFS and now is the relationship…I always felt my entire life like I was doing everything wrong, making bad choices. My support worker made me feel like I was making the right choices. She gave me self-worth and independence.”
Our Ubuntu Partners
“The approach was different. They asked me not to judge right away and they helped me relax and let down my guard in my own time. I got a lot of information about Ubuntu. I understood all the options and services, like the fact they could help my daughter connect with her Indigenous roots. And from the outset, we agreed the goal was to get my son home. My Ubuntu worker helped find a school that worked for him, one he actually liked and attended.” -Michelle, mother
“From the first meeting with Ubuntu, I felt like I had someone to talk to about the situation. I was so glad my daughter was getting help. It was a scary time. Our Family Support Worker was so kind and positive, and that helped me immensely so then I could help my daughter too.” -Dorinda, Grandmother
“A lot of people are intimidated by CFS. They think the goal is to pull kids out of their home. Ubuntu helped me learn that’s not what it’s like. Ubuntu helped me understand their job is about caring for my kids and their health – the same as my job. So instead of worrying about them judging me, I learned we can work together to do something good about my situation at home.” -Michelle, mother
“No one in my life has ever connected to me. No teacher ever asked if they could help. In their eyes I’m native. I look dangerous. All I wanted was help but they were too scared to come to me. But my Ubuntu worker spoke to me as a person, like an equal being. He wanted to get to know me as I was. He actually acknowledged me as a person instead of as a child in care.” -Tyree, 18