This section is currently under developed. Please check back often for updates. If you are looking for information specific to one of our services (ie: Contact Us or Foster Care Applications), please explore the website under the appropriate section.

If there is a Frequently Asked Question you would like to see included on this page, please email our Communications Department (

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Customary Care?

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For hundreds of years our people took care of one another; they lived their lives according to ancient traditions, customs and values that were passed along from one generation to the next. Families helped and supported one another and worked together to protect our most revered members: our children and our Elders. When families had difficulties or when children required care beyond what their natural parents could provide, extended family or community members stood in as alternative caregivers. They ways in which the extended family and community cared for our children were and still are embedded in traditional community customs. Foreign and authoritarian laws and methods that all but made our people, our traditions, and our culture extinct eventually displaced these customs.

The federal 1965 Welfare Agreement had a devastating effect on our traditional family and community systems and structures as non-Anishinabe child protection authorities removed our children from their families at an alarming rate and placed them in non-Aboriginal foster homes. The placement of Anishinabe children with predominantly non-Anishinabe families often far away from their families of origin, communities and traditional ways of life, fractured our families and communities; demonstrated a blatant disregard for inherent tribal authority; and left our families ill-equipped to deal with the massive social implications which evolved in the absence of generations of children.

In the absence of community-based support programs to help our families become stronger and healthier, and prevention programs to reinforce and promote cultural pride and family integrity, many of our communities saw several generations of their children become socialized to non-Anishinabe cultures. Language was lost; heritage and traditional customs were forgotten; and Anishinabe family and tribal systems eroded. One consequence of the separation of Anishinabe children from their culture, clans, and community is the "Split Feather Syndrome", an emotional state characterized by a profound sense of not knowing whom one is or where one fits in. The emotional trauma of identity confusion and a concurrent sense of not belonging underlie the majority of difficulties our people have in every aspect of their lives. Unfortunately the trauma created by the residential school experience of forced integration into a foreign culture and belief system is still felt today as parents grapple with lost identity.

During a round of reforms in the 1980's, the Child and Family Services Act, was amendment to include provision under Part X "Indian and Native Child and Family Services" which began the recognition of Customary Care practice, unique to Anishinabe children and families.

Currently, the majority of children in our care are in Customary Care placements. This means they are either with family members, extended family members, in their own community, or with family outside their community.

What do I do if a child discloses?

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If a child comes to you and tells you that they've been mistreated:

  • Stay calm and don't overreact
  • Let child disclose at her/his own rate
  • Don't prod or ask leading questions
  • Reassure the child that you will help
  • Call the Intake Screener at Tikinagan Child and Family Services at 1(800)465-3624, 24-hours a day

What do I do if I have concerns about a child?

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Calls can be made to Tikinagan at any time. During the daytime hours, your call will be directed to our Intake Department. The telephone screener will take information from you and determine how best to respond to your concerns. After office hours, our After Hours Staff will respond in a similar fashion after receiving the message from the answering service.

Please see our Contact Us page for more information.

Can I make a referral to Tikinagan anonymously?

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Yes, all calls to the agency are taken seriously regardless of whether you provide your name or not. Providing your name, however, allows for the social worker investigating the matter to be able to clarify information with you and helps to verify the concerns.

Can I call Tikinagan myself to make a referral on my own family?

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Yes. We know there are times when the pressure of parenting can be overwhelming. Contact Tikinagan and consult with an Intake Screener with regards to difficulties that you are having in parenting your children. If you are a child needing help, or the sibling or friend of a child you are worried about, you may also call at any time. All calls are confidential and we're here to help children and their families.

Tikinagan does not get involved in every situation that we receive information regarding and often suggests other services that would be more appropriate to assist you.