With warm greetings, the executive and management of the Southern First Nations Network of Care (Southern Network) welcome you.
The Board of Directors would like to welcome the New Chief Executive Officer to the Southern First Nations Network of Care. Theresa Stevens comes to the Network with a wealth of Child and Family Services experience. Since January 2017, she has served as the Executive Director of the Association of Native Child and Family Services Agencies in Ontario. Prior to that, she was the Executive Director for Anishinaabe Abinoojii Family Services in Kenora ON for thirteen years.
Theresa Stevens has three sacred names: most recently, she was given the name of the Protector of Little Eagles, Animkii Ogeeshegook, of which she is very proud. She is from the Kingfisher (Bird) Clan and a registered member of Lake Helen First Nation.
Theresa achieved a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and an Honours Bachelor of Arts in Social Work from Lakehead University and has completed two years of graduate school.
Theresa worked at a provincial level for several years with the Association of Native Child and Family Services Agencies of Ontario in training and curriculum. She was the project Coordinator for the aboriginal revisions to the New Worker Curriculum and the Violence Against Women Curriculum. In her capacity there, she sat on various Ministry committees that assisted in the development and implementation of the 1998-2000 changes to the Child and Family Services Act.
Theresa has been the Board President of the Association for Native Child and Family Services Agencies of Ontario in the past for several terms. She was recently given a new name to help her in her work at the Native Association which literally means one who ties/links things together, On-koop-je-gay-equa. Theresa participates in a number of provincial tables, working groups and committees. Most notably, she participated in the Youth Leaving Care Working Group which led to the Blueprint for Change Report and Recommendations of which she is very proud because it will lead to significant improvements in the lives of youth transitioning out of care. Subsequently, Theresa was a Youth Champion for the Feathers of Hope Forum in 2015 and in 2016.
Prior to her involvement with the Native Association, she was a Resource Manager at Weechi-it-te-win Family Services and supervised a team of protection workers who served 2-3 First Nations. She got her start in child care as a Family Counsellor at Weechi-it-te-win Child and Family Services in Fort Frances.
Theresa believes in First Nation governance in child care and that First Nations are in the best position to take care of their own children because they are our children and we know what is best for our own! She believes in a high quality of service provision, “for our own by our own”. Theresa has mentored other agencies towards their vision of having control of their own protection services and designation because of her strong beliefs in building our own capacity to take care of our own. Through Anishinaabe Abinoojii, she has assisted all of the prevention and pre-mandated agencies in Ontario in some capacity.
Her other involvements include: Pediatric Death Review Committee for the Coroner of Ontario; Canadian Incidence Study for the University of Toronto; and a Board member of the First Nations Caring Society. Theresa was an Expert Witness for Ontario at the Human Rights Tribunal Hearings and is a strong advocate for equity in the indigenous child welfare sector.
Outside of her commitment to child welfare, Theresa enjoys her life with her four adult children and four grandchildren on the pow-wow trail and involvement/service in recovery groups, and community boards.
Customary Care Specialist