Home » Stakeholder Spotlight: The Métis Child and Family Services Society Edmonton (MCFS)

Stakeholder Spotlight: The Métis Child and Family Services Society Edmonton (MCFS)

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The Métis Child and Family Services Society Edmonton (MCFS) is a family resource centre in Edmonton that delivers, at no charge, culturally focused social service programs primarily to the Indigenous community of Edmonton and surrounding areas.

Our programs are open to any individual or family that enters our doors. Everyone is welcome. You do not have to be Métis or Aboriginal. We have clients of other nationalities. All that we charge them is their smiles”, shared Donald Langford, Executive Director.

MCFS was created with a mandate to promote the health and well-being of the Aboriginal community in Edmonton by building capacity through the provision of culturally sensitive and appropriate programs and services that maintain the family unit. Their mandate also looks to prevent and reduce the number of Aboriginal children coming into the care of Alberta Child and Youth Services.

“Our society was established in April 1985 by members of Metis Local 1885 due to concerns with the high numbers of Métis and First Nations children coming into the care of Alberta children’s services and the way families were dealt with. We felt that we have the right and responsibility to participate and determine how services are designed and delivered in our community. Unfortunately, we are still fighting for this right”, shared Langford.

Despite challenges, MCFS has continued working in the community for 40 years, and its services have expanded beyond reaching out to Métis and First Nations communities. “Our services are known and trusted in the community. That is why most of our referrals come from word of mouth from community members that have benefited from our services. Today we have families from Islamic backgrounds and other diverse backgrounds. That matters to us”.

Ensuring that their programs and services are responsive and accountable to the community has made all the difference. “We provide programs to older adults in our community as it is important and relevant because many are looking after grandchildren. We act as the bridge between the resources government offers, as many are not receiving these supports because they do not have confidence in the government. When we get together, we provide a worker to discuss their concerns in a private, professional, confidential, and considerate manner.”, says Langford.

“Unfortunately, elder abuse is very real. We provide seniors a safe space where they can discuss family dynamics, such as when adult children or other members of the family may be taking advantage of them and they do not know how to handle it. We have a trained team of 20 professionals, 12 of which are registered social workers who help them navigate these issues with dignity.”

MCFS offers an alternative approach to intervention and prevention that is holistic and family centered. Sometimes the client is a child, a young adult, or the responsible adult / caregiver, who needs support and guidance. From helping with groceries, offering transportation to medical appointments, in-school supports, or finding housing resources when they are experiencing difficulty, MCSF works to ensure that those who are helping sustain their families receive support. They deliver this approach through eight programs:

  1. Family violence program
  2. FRN-Aboriginal Child and Family Support Program
  3. Justice program/ Snug
  4. Health For Two
  5. Choices Youth Program:  youth mentoring services and family liaison services
  6. Community Follow-up Program (PSECA): protection of sexually exploited children act
  7. Foster Care Program
  8. Seniors Support Program

MCFS believes that children grow into healthy adults with the secure and caring guidance of family and culture. They also recognize the damage that can occur when these systems of family and community support break down. This is why their approach includes not only ensuring that children receive support and guidance to overcome obstacles but also that the whole family receives support when needed.

“We recognize the connection between family security and culture. We support and create spaces for functions and recreation with fiddling and jigging contests, participating in community events, or hosting those community events that honor our culture. These events are for all age groups, anyone can participate in the fun. We had an 84-year-old jigger show his steps!” Langford adds, “we know sometimes families cannot afford recreation, so we tried to make these events free and accessible”.

If you are interested in booking the the Jiggers, please contact Florence Gaucher, Manager, at 780-452-6100 ext. 227.

For more information about MCFS programs read their pamphlet here