History of Our Organization

Since 2003, the Southern First Nations Network of Care in collaboration with our 10 member Agencies has been delivering culturally appropriate child and family services to First Nations members (and others who choose the Southern Network) throughout Manitoba.


  • This legislation is unprecedented in Canada and means culturally appropriate services can now be provided for children and families in Manitoba, which was a key recommendation of the Aboriginal Justice Inquiry (AJI).
    - The Honourable Christine Melnick, Minister of Family Services and Housing (2003)


  • "The Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs acknowledges the good will shown by our partners in restoring the right for First Nations in caring for and protecting our children. The injustices created by the ‘60s scoop’ are now finally being addressed through the success of the Aboriginal Justice Inquiry - Child Welfare Initiative."
    - Grand Chief Dennis White Bird, Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs (2003)

These are the words that created and moved the Southern First Nation Network of Care (Southern Network) into being and forward at the turn of the century.

It is a historic agreement that all agreed would address the serious problems in the child and family services system in Manitoba and move recommendations forward for a major restructuring of the system.  

It is a child and family service system that recognizes and supports the rights of children to develop within safe and healthy families and communities, and recognizes that First Nations and Metis peoples have unique authority, rights and responsibilities to honour and care for their children.

The road to get there began with a jointly coordinated child and family services system that recognizes the distinct rights and authorities of First Nations and Metis peoples and the general population to control and deliver their own child and family services province-wide; that is community-based; and reflects and incorporates the cultures of First Nations, Metis and the general population respectively.

The Aboriginal Justice Inquiry – Child Welfare Initiative (AJI-CWI) was launched in 2000 by the Manitoba government in partnership with First Nations and Metis leaders, in response to the Aboriginal Justice Inquiry Report (1991).  The Report documented many serious problems in the child and family services system in Manitoba and recommended a major restructuring.

In 2003, by proclamation of The Child and Family Services Authorities Act, four new Child and Family Services Authorities, including the First Nations of Southern Manitoba Child and Family Services Authority (Southern First Nations Network of Care) were established.  Through the AJI-CWI, the child and family services system has been restructured with the intent to better respond to and meet the needs of Indigenous peoples in Manitoba. 

A unique feature of the restructured child and family services system in Manitoba is the Authority Determination Process (ADP).  The ADP involves a series of questions and is used by agency workers to identify which of the Child and Family Services Authorities will manage the delivery of services to children and families.  Through the ADP, the culturally appropriate Child and Family Services Authority is determined based on a family’s cultural identification. 

The ADP is based on the following values:

  • All families are entitled to choose their Authority of Service regardless of where they reside in Manitoba
  • Service arrangements should be culturally appropriate, stable and timely
  • Children, families and communities belong together
  • Decisions will be in the best interests of children

The Southern Network is responsible for administering and providing for the delivery of child and family services to members of 36 First Nations in Southern Manitoba (and others who choose the Southern Network) through our 10 member Agencies.


Aboriginal Justice Inquiry - Child Welfare Initiative

The delivery of our new system is driven by and guided by long established values and the need to develop new ones. In all there are 12 guiding principles:

  • To protect children and ensure their well-being;
  • To build family capacity, based on the belief that children are best protected in their families;
  • To build community capacity, based on the belief that healthy communities will support families and maintain safe and healthy environments for children;
  • To provide services that support families at risk and that seek to work with families in protecting children;
  • To take a holistic approach toward child protection;
  • To establish a service delivery system that is primarily non-adversarial in its approach;
  • To provide services that are responsive to unique community needs;
  • To develop and deliver services from a community-based perspective;
  • To provide culturally appropriate services;
  • To establish services throughout the province that strive to provide for parity of access to services regardless of residence, to the greatest extent possible;
  • To develop a child and family service system that is built on a best practices approach; and
  • To work with children, families and communities, and develop and deliver appropriate services, using a model(s) that focuses on the strengths of families and communities.

In the spirit of this promise, we move forward.

We are taking care of our own.

If you would like to learn more about our organization, the services we provide or our member agencies, please feel free to start a conversation.

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