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Touchwood Indian Child And Family Services Agency Agreements Signed

Regina -- Federal Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, the Honourable Pauline Browes, Saskatchewan Social Services Minister, the Honourable Pat Atkinson, and Board Members of the Touchwood Indian Child and Family Services (TCFS) Agency signed agreements to authorize and fund the Touchwood Indian Child and Family Services Agency today.

The five-year agreement between the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development (DIAND) and the Agency provides for the cost of operating the Agency as well as costs associated with children brought into care. In this, the fast year of the agreement, DIAND will provide $836,762.00 as operating support and additional funds necessary for child maintenance. The total funding is expected to exceed $1 million.

"The federal government is committed to supporting First Nations' desire to care for their children and suport troubled families in a manner that respects tradition culture and lifestyle," said Minister Browes. "For the first time in Saskatchewan, First Nations will have the authority and resource to care for their members within their own communities in harmony with their society. I am proud to have been able to approve the funding required to bring that to reality".

The agreement between the Saskatchewan government and the Touchwood Child and Family Services Agency gives the agency the authority under the Child and Family Services Act, to deliver services to on-reserve members of the Touchwood bands. This is the result of two years of negotiations regarding program standards between the province and Saskatchewan First Nations groups. "This is a momentus day for this province. The Saskatchewan government firmly believes in transferring the authority for services delivery in these areas from our province to First Nations people. During the negotiations with my department, First Nations people expressed a strong desire to manage

Touchwood Indian Child And Family Services Agency Agreements Signed

services needed for their children and youth. I am very pleased to have been part of this process," Atkinson said.

The TCFS Agency will deliver preventative and protective services to the members of the Day Star, Fishing Lake, Gordon, Kawacatoose, and Muskowekwan First Nations.

"This agreement finally gives us the authority we have been seeking for years, to look after our children in our own communities," said Elaine Severight, chair of the board of Touchwood Child and Family Services. "We will now be able to offer services for children and families that are culturally appropriate and relevant to our people and that are in the best interests of our children."

Preventative services include services such is homemaker respite services, child care services, counselling services, therapy, support groups, anger management, workshops, wellness workshops, and spiritual and cultural awareness workshops. Protective services will be extended to children at risk for parental neglect or abuse. The agency will also develop a continuum of placement resources for children brought into care.

All services provided will be delivered at standards equivalent to provincial standards.