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The Elder in Residence provides a wide range of cultural support to all program areas of Surrounded by Cedar.

The Elder in Residence is available to provide support, guidance, advice and encouragement to all agency staff, children and youth in care, caregivers and birth family members. The Elder in Residence will also be responsible for collaborating with agency staff in regards to various agency ceremonies and/or events and will assist with including appropriate community contacts.

The role of the Elder in Residence is to facilitate a positive, respectful and culturally appropriate environment at Surrounded by Cedar Child and Family Services, which is instrumental in fulfilling the vision and mandate of the agency while breaking down stigmas and systemic barriers. Staff are supported by the Elder in Residence to perform their duties in a way that incorporates services rooted in strong cultural values.

Guardianship Social Workers are responsible as legal guardians to urban Aboriginal children who are in continuing care of the Director. The goal of the Guardianship social worker is to find permanency for a child in care as well as to ensure that a child who remains in the care of the agency is afforded the best possible care and opportunity to learn and grow into a healthy young adult.

Read more: Guardianship

The Resource Social Worker provides a range of voluntary services to children and families, as well as recruits new Aboriginal homes, home studies and provides support to caregivers of urban Aboriginal children in permanent care. Almost half of the children-in-care in this province are Aboriginal. Children who are connected to their families, communities and culture do better as adults.

Read more: Residential Resources (C3)

The SCCFS Counselling Program offers group counselling services for children, youth and families impacted by complex trauma. SCCFS counselling groups address mental health and wellness using Indigenous modalities of helping and healing, and include regular participation from local traditional knowledge keepers and community Elders.

Read more: Child & Youth Counselling

Over recent decades, it has become evident that Aboriginal children and families have not been served in a culturally appropriate manner. Aboriginal values, traditions, language and culture have continued to decline. Most importantly, is the decline of the traditional role that family and community play in a child’s life and the effects that this may have for their future.

Read more: Support Services

In its belief that all children have the right to grow up connected to their culture, SCCFS offers programming throughout the year that nurtures cultural identity development and provides a culturally safe space for this learning to take place. Programming each year includes:

  • Earth Walkers Spring & Summer Break Cultural Camps
  • Pro-D Day Cultural Programming (following SD #61 calendar)
  • Winter Feast
  • Nest to Wings Ceremony (for Indigenous youth leaving care)
  • Youth and Elder Dinners (monthly during the school year)
  • Other family friendly events
Read more: Cultural Programming

The Life Long Connections worker assists in identifying and locating a child’s family or other close community member to help facilitate ongoing connection and possible placement where appropriate. In addition, the worker searches for placements with extended family when a child has been placed in foster care where it is in the best interest of the child. The worker will also help to facilitate and coordinate out of region and out of province kinship placements if required.

Read more: Life Long Connections

About the Annual Back to School Picnic

The annual Aboriginal Back to School Picnic (BTSP) initiative began in Victoria in 2003 as a small community celebration for a few children.

One urban Aboriginal community-based organization, Surrounded By Cedar Child and Family Services (SCCFS) sought financial and volunteer support from four sister agencies, the Victoria Native Friendship Centre (VNFC), the BC Association of Aboriginal Friendship Centres (BCAAFC), Hulitan Social Services and M’akola Housing Society and First Nations Education at School District 61 (Victoria) to develop and implement the first BTSP.

This initiative resulted in over 100 attendees and 45 backpacks of school supplies offered to urban Aboriginal children. No questions asked.

The program has grown and changed with guidance and support of SCCFS management and Board of Directors.

Read more: Aboriginal Back to School Picnic

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