Initiative 4 - Service Model for African Canadian Families

Service Model for African Canadian Families

Transforming child welfare through equitable, diverse, and inclusive practices.

The Children’s Aid Society of Ottawa (CASO) acknowledges that our standard model of service was created on the basis of White, European, Christian culture, and that this model has contributed to the overrepresentation of Black families involved in child welfare.

Research shows that in comparison to their White counterparts, African Canadian children in Ontario face a greater likelihood of being referred to a children’s aid society, experiencing removal from their homes, and spending their formative years in foster care without finding another permanent home.

To address the disproportionality of Black children and youth involved with CASO, we developed the Service Model for African Canadian Families. This model aims to confront anti-Black racism and support improved outcomes and more equitable services for Black families.

CASO values the importance of culture, tradition and community. We work to center identity within our practices and recognize that intentional attention to culture is critical in addressing the overrepresentation of Black families within our system. Consequently, when providing services to African Canadian families, our model focuses on four critical actions:

  1. Recording identity-based information
  2. Offering and facilitating Cultural Circles
  3. Engaging in internal conversations and meaningful reflections to address biases and understand the systemic oppression faced by Black families
  4. Offering network and community involvement

Through these actions, CASO strives to achieve equitable outcomes and deliver quality services tailored to the unique needs of the Black children, youth and families we serve. Additionally, CASO consults regularly with Black community partners to prevent and eliminate instances of both individual and  systemic acts of racism and discrimination in our service to the Black community.