Métis Nation British Columbia (MNBC) achieved a significant milestone with an announcement from the Government of British Columbia that the Métis Family Connections program has won the Child Care Award of Excellence for Partnerships under the Government category.
The award, announced during a ceremony held on May 18, saw MNBC Minister of Education, Debra Fisher, join Minister of State for Child Care, Katrina Chen, and Minister of Children and Family Development, Mitzi Dean.
The award honours the outstanding achievements of individuals, organizations and local governments who provide or support the delivery of exceptional early care and learning (ECL) services. Nominees must demonstrate their excellence in supporting children’s development and their commitment to improving and enhancing relationships with children, families and their community. MNBC’s receiving the award recognizes the valuable contributions to children and families the Métis Family Connections program is making.
“Creating quality programming like Métis Family Connections gives our Métis families the tools needed to create a successful culturally-integrated upbringing,” said MNBC Minister of Education Debra Fisher. “I applaud the entire Métis Family Connections team for this tremendous accomplishment and the work they are doing for our Métis families.
Métis Family Connections is supported by BC’s Ministry of Children and Family Development, Indigenous Early Years Division. The program is focused on helping families build a network of support that provides children with opportunities for early learning and childhood development. It also offers an important connection to cultural resources and the opportunity for families to explore their Métis identity. Métis Family Connections Navigators assist families in accessing programs and services that are available in their region and connect them to community and culture. The Navigators provide outreach, support, and referrals to families and meet families where they are, thereby bringing awareness of services to them while reducing access to barriers by being a consistent touchpoint of supports and services and building relationships.
“I feel a deep connection despite not having grown up with Métis culture, and I want my children to have the benefit of knowing it from a young age. This is where Métis Family Connections has helped so much. The provision of cultural resources has been so beneficial in helping not only my children, but me as well, to know our heritage. Gifts of musical spoons, cultural stories written in both English and Michif, bison puppets, sashes, colouring pages, and recipes have been amazing. Because of this program, my children are more connected to who they are as Métis people, and they are proud to tell others that they are Métis,” said a family enrolled in the Métis Family Connections program.
Over the past two years, the Métis Family Connections Navigators have been engaging with Métis families across BC on a regular basis through the Métis Family Connections program. Staying connected with Métis families as their families grow and change is critical to understanding their needs. The Métis Family Connections program exemplifies strong partnerships, working together towards common goals, collaboration in supporting Métis children, families and their community, and building respectful relationships. They work towards reconciliation by creating cultural safety through culturally competent practice and inclusion of Indigenous language and culture
In September, the Métis Family Connections program reached a significant milestone celebrating its 500th enrolment. As of May 1, there are now 654 children enrolled in the program. We encourage families that have Métis children birth to eight years to enrol their children in the Métis Family Connections program and stay connected to MNBC.