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Centring community services around early childhood care and development: Promising practices in Indigenous communities in Canada

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Child Health and Education, 1 (4), 183-206
Ball, Jessica
Publication Date: 
1 Sep 2009

Excerpts from the article:

[This article provides case studies of communities that are] creating programs that are relevant and appropriately utilized by community members and that are helping to revitalize Indigenous knowledge and languages. All of the communities have committed to some degree of integrated service delivery consistent with their understanding of needing to support the 'whole child' in the context of family-centred and community centred practice.

Most communities in Canada today maintain an individual-centred and non-integrated approach to family and children's services. In this fragmented model, people receiving services are conceived as individual cases with an array of separate needs, subject to servicing by an array of separate professional service providers. The fragmentation of training and services into increasingly differentiated domains of specialization corresponds to dominant cultural constructions of the child in psychology and education as a collection of 'domains' of development, each with distinct proclivities, potential, and needs for different kinds of support.

In First Nations communities, practitioners specializing in different domains of child and family health and development are usually located outside of the community, not just administratively, culturally, and socially but, in the case of rural and remote communities, geographically as well.