Kwumut Lelum/Tricia Thomas photo

Kw’umut Lelum expanding its services off-reserve

Child and family support services will be available through new Prideaux Street office

Kw’umut Lelum, proud of the work it’s doing on the Island to support children and families, is now excited to share that work more widely.

Kw’umut Lelum Child and Family Services announced today it will begin providing child safety and family support services off-reserve in Nanaimo and Parksville to families with cultural connections to nine of the region’s First Nations.

“In our world, there’s really no boundaries, except there’s these arbitrary colonial boundaries,” said Bill Yoachim, Kw’umut Lelum executive director.

He said the question about expanding services off-reserve came up at meetings with chiefs, and he thought it was a good question.

“We’re predominantly federally funded – the feds are responsible for on-reserve services,” Yoachim said. “So we got into conversation with the [Ministry of Children and Family Development] provincial office. There was a few challenges … but over time, we got there and pushed and got everyone on board.”

A new Kw’umut Lelum office will be opened on Prideaux Street and MCFD files will begin transferring over as soon as next week, Yoachim said.

He said a full range of Kw’umut Lelum’s services will be made available off-reserve, from child protection, guardianship and foster parenting to cultural programming.

Yoachim said Kw’umut Lelum’s work on the “whole spectrum of child welfare” has resulted in children being able to return to their homes and their communities.

“We’re really proud of the fact that we have less numbers of children coming into care…” he said. “We’re going completely against the trend that’s happening and that people are seeing nationally and I’m really proud of our staff.”

Kw’umut Lelum’s member nations include Snuneymuxw, Snaw-Naw-As, Stz’uminus, Qualicum, Penelakut, Lake Cowichan, Halalt, Lyackson and Malahat.

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