Tikinagan Child and Family Services is an indigenous child well-being agency serving 30 First Nation communities in northwestern Ontario, stretching from Ogoki in the east to the Manitoba border in the west, and from Savant Lake in the south to Fort Severn in the north.
Mandated by the Chiefs and operating under the Mamow Obiki-ahwahsoowin service model, meaning “Everyone working together to raise our children” in the Ojibway/Oji-Cree language, Tikinagan believes the answers to family well-being lie within the community.
Associate Executive Director Rachel Tinney explains, “It's a much more culturally sensitive way to work with children and families. We're out there to help and support children, and prevent them from coming into care as often as possible.”
Another important aspect of this service model is ensuring that the needs of everyone involved are met, including children, parents, and family members. Overall, the intention is to build a stronger, healthier community, while respecting the authority of the First Nation.
With the goal of continuing to provide the best possible care and services, Tikinagan is on the search for new staff.
Currently, they are looking for finance clerks and information resources positions. Tinney explains that information resources positions are especially needed right now: “They’re the ones who enter a lot of the work into our system, because up North the bandwidth isn’t always that great, so we have to have that work sent to one of our hubs and then enter it from there.”
In other words, information resources positions are vital for keeping track of client documents and information, and therefore ensuring the safety and care of the children in all communities.
Just as Tikinagan holds the responsibility to take care of their communities, they ensure that their staff are highly compensated and cared for as well.
“We have very competitive wages,” says Tinney. She continues, “new staff receive a minimum of three weeks holidays and an additional week of cultural and wellness days.”
She emphasizes that anyone who is interested in the field of work should consider applying.
“We definitely encourage people, even if they don't feel that they have formal education yet, to come and try it out,” she says. She adds, “Are you able to be trained? Do you have a love for children and families and love for helping out?”
She notes that, “When you're working with children and families, a lot of it is just using common sense.”
Anyone who is passionate about providing children with care and making a difference in these communities is a good candidate, regardless of their education or lack thereof. Tinney explains that Tikinagan has an excellent on-the-job training program and gives employees the option of completing their degrees while working full-time.
“From the first year that they've started, we can support workers to do online University courses or whatever [education] they're looking at while working full time and slowly working towards a degree,” explains Tinney, who completed her degree while working with Tikinagan.
Overall, Tinney explains that “the core [of Tikinagan] is caring for children and families and providing a team approach, networking with all of our other communities to make a real impact, and working with the other resources in order to help support the families.”
She encourages interested applicants to visit the website to learn more about their Mamow Obiki-ahwahsoowin service model.
Job postings are also available on the website at www.tikinagan.org
Additional information, including Staff testimonials, can be found on their YouTube page