The Nunavik organization working to provide culturally adapted youth protective services in Nunavik is moving closer to self-determination and becoming independent of the Nunavik Regional Board of Health and Social Services (NRBHSS).
The beginnings of Nunavimmi Ilagiit Papatauvinga date back to 2017 after NRBHSS hired Nunavik Integrated Youth and Family Services Advisor Maina Beaulne. The Sukait Working Group was formed from leaders of all interested organizations, representing most of Nunavik’s 14 communities. Over the next two years consultations, discussions, and interviews were conducted on the needs in youth services and how those services could be adapted to be culturally safe. Nunavimmi Ilagiit Papatauvinga was created in 2019 from those discussions and has been building momentum since, resulting in the approval for the creation of its own board, which will happen this fall.
Youth services in Nunavik are often under fire because of the lack of Nunavik foster families and front-line workers. Too many Inuit children are involved with the province’s Department of Youth Protection and are sent south for care, away from community and their relatives. This has resulted in a distrust of the department.
Nunavimmi Ilagiit Papatauvinga is working to help change this by recruiting Inuit front-line workers building its own continuum of services. Presently evaluating all the legal possibilities, the first milestone will be to create its own board of directors next fall. The goal is to have Inuit start trusting youth and family services, especially youth protection, by working to have healthy Nunavimmiut with children and families as the centre. Inuit will be the guides and decision-makers, with services grounded in Inuit knowledge and practises.
Sarah Airo, Assistant Director Inuit Values and Approaches with Nunavimmi Ilagiit Papatauvinga, is adamant that families need backing both locally and regionally. “Our Children and their families need support from home, community and from the region. We must work together collectively to ensure that our communities are healthy!”
Now that Nunavimmi Ilagiit Papatauvinga has approval from the NRBHSS to create its own board, it will work towards financial independence and expanding what it can offer Nunavik Inuit and begin recruiting local staff.