Ontario Indigenous Children and Youth Strategy

Ontario is working together with First Nations, Inuit, Métis and urban Indigenous partners to implement the Ontario Indigenous Children and Youth Strategy (OICYS). This strategy is intended to improve services to meet the needs of Indigenous children and youth, and will enable Indigenous communities and service providers in Ontario to have greater authority over child and family services. Since the framework’s completion, the ministry has continued to work with Indigenous partners to the implement the OICYS, working to shift the child and family services system to one that is community-led and prevention-based; this includes the design, development and delivery of Indigenous child, youth and family community-based well-being programs, including those listed below.

Akwe:go and Wasa-Nabin programs

Children and youth can join these community programs to get support, tools and activities that foster their ability to make healthy lifestyle choices and are tailored to meet their needs.

The Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centres (OFIFC) delivers the:

  • Akwe:go Urban Indigenous Children’s Program for children ages 7-12
  • Wasa-Nabin Urban Indigenous Youth Program for youth 13-18

Access the Akwe:go and Wasa-Nabin Programs through 30 delivery sites. Find a friendship centre near you to register and learn more.

Programming may include:

  • life skills, safety awareness and anti-violence training
  • support circles and "one-to-one" or peer counselling
  • culturally appropriate services for children and youth and their families
  • teaching and learning activities that foster and increase self-esteem and promote healthy behaviours and relationships
  • educational and physical activities that promote physical health and development and build resiliency, empowerment and self-esteem
  • after school activities for indigenous children and youth, as well as parent support

Akwe:go is a Mohawk word meaning "everybody" or "all of us". Wasa-Nabin means "to look forward, to look beyond" in Ojibway.

Akwe:go - Wasa-Nabin Student Nutrition Program

Children and youth who attend Akwe:go and Wasa-Nabin programs or the Alternative Secondary School Program can also access the Student Nutrition Programs (SNP) to get healthy meals and snacks to improve their ability to concentrate and succeed in school and daily life.

Family Well-Being program

Family Well-being programs deliver holistic, culturally-safe, prevention and community-based programming and safe spaces for Indigenous children, youth and families based on local needs and priorities.

The Family Well-Being program is co-developed and co-delivered with First Nations, Inuit, Métis and urban Indigenous partners. The co-developed long-term objectives of the program include:

  • ending violence against Indigenous women and girls
  • reducing the need to bring Indigenous children and youth into the child welfare and youth justice systems; and
  • improving the overall health and wellbeing of Indigenous communities

The Family Well-Being program is offered across Ontario at 250 service delivery sites. For more information, please contact:

First Nations Student Nutrition Program

Students can get nutritious meals and snacks at school to support learning and healthy development in a way that best meets the needs of communities. The program is available in 120 sites in 64 First Nations.

For more information about the First Nations Student Nutrition Program, you can contact a representative from the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services by emailing firstnationssnp@ontario.ca.

Indigenous Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder/Child Nutrition Program

If your child or youth has Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD), you can get resources and support.

FASD is a diagnostic term used to describe health effects on the brain and body of people prenatally exposed to alcohol.

Indigenous service providers designed and deliver this program which offers:

  • personal support and intervention services
  • education on healthy eating
  • traditional cultural activities to promote FASD prevention

You can find this program in 180 communities in Ontario offered by 21 Indigenous service providers, including:

Indigenous Healing and Wellness Strategy programs

Find healing, health and wellness programs on and off-reserve, including:

  • the Indigenous Healthy Babies Healthy Children (IHBHC) program to help Indigenous children and families start a healthy life in ways that honour and respect Indigenous culture and beliefs
  • the Maternal and Child Centre (Tsi Non:we Ionnakeratstha Ona:grahsta’) for pre-natal and post-natal care to Indigenous women and families in the Six Nations and south west area of Ontario
  • Mental Health Program for culturally-appropriate day programming to support at-risk children and youth and their families
  • Healing lodges for a range of residential and/or day programming using traditional Indigenous healing and contemporary therapeutic interventions to Indigenous people and families

The goal of the strategy is to reduce family violence and violence against Indigenous women and children through Indigenous designed and delivered culturally-appropriate programs and services.

Learn more about Indigenous Healing and Wellness Strategy and access a comprehensive list of programs available to support the healing, health and wellness of Indigenous peoples.

Integrated Rehabilitation for Northern and Rural First Nations Program

If you live in a northern remote First Nations community and your child or youth has multiple and/or complex special needs, you can get service coordination, and services for children with special needs such as rehabilitation services.

Children’s rehabilitation services include speech-language therapy, occupational therapy and physiotherapy services.

Contact one of these Indigenous partners and service providers to register and learn more: