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Implementation Evaluation of the Enhanced Prevention Focused Approach in Saskatchewan and Nova Scotia for the First Nations Child and Family Services Program

This Implementation Evaluation of the Enhanced Prevention Focused Approach in Saskatchewan and Nova Scotia is part of a multi-year Strategic Evaluation of the Implementation of the Enhanced Prevention Focused Approach (EPFA) for the First Nations Child and Family Services (FNCFS) Program, which began with an implementation evaluation in Alberta in 2009-10. The purpose of the strategic evaluation is to look at jurisdictions individually two-three years after the approach has been implemented to examine issues of relevance, performance, efficiency and effectiveness. In 2010-11, a Mid-Term National Review was conducted to consider the relevance of the EPFA from a national perspective, provide insight on discussions held to establish tripartite frameworks, as well as to consolidate promising practices in prevention programming nationally and internationally to raise awareness of innovative and effective practices that may support First Nation agencies in serving their communities. To the extent possible, this evaluation elaborates on findings from the Mid-Term National Review.

The FNCFS Program funds FNCFS agencies to provide culturally appropriate child and family services in their communities, so that the services provided to First Nations children and their families on reserve are reasonably comparable to those available to other provincial residents in similar circumstances and geographic location within Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC) program authorities. FNCFS agencies receive their mandate and authorities from provincial/territorial governments and function in a manner consistent with provincial or territorial child and family services legislation. In areas where FNCFS agencies do not exist on reserve, AANDC funds those services provided by provincial organizations or departments.

Starting in 2007, AANDC began reforming the FNCFS program from a protection to a prevention focused approach on a jurisdiction by jurisdiction basis, beginning in Alberta.2 Prevention services may include, but are not limited to, respite care, after-school programs, parent/teen counselling, mediation, in-home supports, mentoring and family education. AANDC, provincial and First Nations representatives must enter into a Tripartite Accountability Framework in order to move to an enhanced prevention model. The framework can vary from region to region but is based on reasonably comparable funding amounts provided to agencies by provincial governments in communities in similar geographic areas and circumstances.

In Saskatchewan, there are 17 FNCFS agencies that provide mandated child and family services to 67 of the 70 First Nations communities in the province, while the remaining three communities are served by the province. In Nova Scotia, the Mi’kmaw Family and Children’s Services (MFCS) provides services to all 13 Mi’kmaw communities in that province.

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