Nation welcomes back six Huu-ay-aht Children

September 30 marked a day Huu-ay-aht celebrates the coming home of six Huu-ay-aht children. After hard work and dedication of everyone involved, the children are now in the care of their Huu-ay-aht family.

Huu-ay-aht staff and executive council members, representatives of the ministry, and families, gathered on Zoom to welcome the children back into the care of their family and acknowledge everyone’s work along the way to make it happen.

This event was an opportunity to mark the success achieved through the Social Services Project. It highlights the importance of the work the Child and Family Wellness Team is doing to bring Huu-ay-aht children home.

“It was a wonderful day – seeing the results of our social services project at work,” said Executive Council member Edward R. Johnson. “The team from the Child and Family Wellness Office is doing a wonderful job in achieving our goals, where our Huu-ay-aht children will grow up safe, healthy, and connected to our home and culture/values guided by our traditions and our nananiiqsu.”

In 2017, the Huu-ay-aht First Nations Social Service Project was brought to life. Within this project, lay 30 recommendations that Huu-ay-aht will implement to keep families safe, healthy, and connected to their nation, while also bringing children home.

This project has been active for three years and in that time, Huu-ay-aht has implemented 28 of those recommendations (almost 29 – Oomiiqsu Mother Centre in the process). In that time, 28 Huu-ay-aht children have been brought home.

Grandparents, Wayne and Ida Seitcher welcome home Meredith, Gordan, Rose and Marley. Mother Christyl Smith welcomes home daughters Aurora and Alexya.

“Congratulations to these two families who persevered and worked hard at getting the children back into their care” said Chris Pearson, Huu-ay-aht Protection Support Worker. “They are the reason we do the work that we do, I am humbled and honoured to have been a part of their journey, and I wish them all the very best for the future.”

Christine Pearson and Kerry-Ann Collinge worked closely with the families and ministry workers and thanked everyone for their hard work and attending the welcoming home ceremony.

Kerry-Ann said “What we are witnessing here today is healing for these children, families, and community”.

To contact Child and Family Wellness please phone 778-419-1013 or email Director of Child and Family Wellness, Shannon Zimmerman at Shannon.z@huuayaht.org. You can also find more information about the department at www.huuayaht.org.

For after-hour protection support, please contact 250-731-6999. Call this number only if you have received a call from Child Protection Services (i.e. MCFD/Usma or other delegated agencies). Anything not related to this matter will be followed up during office hours.

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