EDMONTON, AB – Native Press with other news sources – April 2, 2024 –  Alberta Children Services Minister Searle Turton announced $6.6 million in two-year family resource network funding.  Bent Arrow, an Indigenous healing organization, expects the financial increase will assist Indigenous families obtain care.
Bent Arrow Healing Society representative Jenna Drover said “There are often obstacles that can prevent people from accessing our services”. “These barriers can range from transportation issues to the challenges faced by single mothers who may not be able to attend during regular service hours.”
Community workers and bus passes may reduce barriers. Socializing in their own environment helps.
Executive director Cheryl Whiskeyjack appreciated the financial announcement and its potential for Bent Arrow. These programs train other social agencies to serve Indigenous communities.
“Assisting different sectors in enhancing their ability to cater to the needs of the Indigenous community in a culturally appropriate manner is a common task for us…””This funding recognizes the need for resources and enables us to be more deliberate,” stated.
Last year’s budget was staggering $63 million. The Bent Arrow Healing Society announced the funding Tuesday at a press conference.
These 70 networks—half rural—are strategically located to cover the province.
“Our utmost dedication lies in ensuring the unity of Alberta families.” “Strong communities rely on strong families,” said Child and Family Services minister Turton.
Increased funding provides culturally relevant support for indigenous children in First Nations communities and internationally.
The province’s newest annual children’s services report found an alarming number of caregivers, children, and teens seeking help. Between 2022 and 2023, 32,200 caregivers and 48,600 kids and teens got crucial assistance. About 30% of family resource network users are Indigenous.
Bent Arrow Healing Society runs the Kikoswin family resource network, promoting family and community. The group encourages parents to read to their babies through ‘books for babies’ literacy. The family day programs target young children and youth.
People asked Turton if he discussed community needs with Treaty 6’s grand chief and other chiefs.
He said he visited with numerous villages and will visit a Treaty 8 group in an hour. Whether he met the great chief is unknown.
“Regarding prevention and studying outcomes in mental health resiliency, this is one of our strategies,” Turton said of these networks’ prevention of children entering care.
Agency networks called FNRs provide early intervention and preventative care to children ages 0-18. These programs teach parenting at home and in classes.

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