Excerpts from the report:
The main purpose of the project described in this report is to ensure that in the ongoing federal and provincial restructuring of Aboriginal Early Development Childhood (AECD) programs and services, the voices of front-line AECD workers in BC have the opportunity to be heard. AECD workers are uniquely qualified to advise on what works and what does not work in AECD programs in their communities. They have much to contribute yet they are seldom invited to participate in any government consultation or advisory process about AECD.
The project described here was designed to set the stage for this necessary dialogue with government to begin and for their vision and voices to be heard. The objective of the project was not to focus on the substandard living conditions and lesser life prospects of many Aboriginal people and children. These conditions are already well publicized though little change appears to result. Rather the intent of the project is to focus on AECD as prevention and on what needs to change in current AECD programs and in living conditions to improve the life chances of Aboriginal children and to give new hope to many Aboriginal families and communities.
This report is in two parts:
Part 1 of this report, the Voices of Front-line AECD Workers in BC, consists of: 1) A composite of the rich information and the recommendations for change provided in four regional workshops by AECD frontline workers who came from reserves, smaller towns and rural areas in BC; this information was supplemented by comments by five regional AECD workers on the draft report. 2) Information provided by AECD workers in the Vancouver area in a focus group and in interviews 3) Recommendations and comments on the draft report by BC ACCS staff members based in part on their experience of participation in other "integration and consultation" processes on AECD.
Part 2 of this report, Communities Working together for a Common Goal: Integration and Coordination of AECD Programs, is a slightly updated version of a background paper prepared in March 2005 for the regional workshop. The paper provides the policy context for Part 1. It includes an overview and some analysis of AECD government policies and the current drive to integration and coordination of AECD programs as well as some brief demographic information and other statistics. This information points to the overwhelming need for new, more effective AECD programs also to the need for programs to address the inequalities within and between Aboriginal communities in BC that are noted in some recent studies. The two reports complement each other but can be read separately.