Alternative Care Program








The Alternative Care Program (ACP) is one component of the Community Care Program initiative administered by WFS in conjunction with the ten First Nations of the Rainy Lake Regional Tribal Area (RLRTA).  In addition to facilitating placements for First Nation children requiring out-of-home care, the ACP seeks to establish an Anishinabe system of out-of-home care services for children and their families that is, by nature, consistent with Anishinabe customs, values, standards and practices. 

Accordingly, the ACP seeks Caregivers who are dedicated to:

  • preserving Anishinabe culture and heritage;
  • strengthening and maintaining Anishinabe families and through them, their communities;
  • enhancing the physical, intellectual, emotional and spiritual well being of all children

The primary goal of alternative care is reunification of the CIC with his or her family.  When reunification is not possible, alternative care shall seek to facilitate placements with extended family in the child’s community, wherever possible.  Long-term placement may, depending on the needs of the child, consist of adoption when this is unanimously supported by the child, the child’s biological parents, and the child’s community.

Caregiver Flyer

Definition of Alternative Care

Alternative care refers to a substitute or supplemental family life experience for children requiring out-of-home placement.  Alternative care placements vary in duration depending on the needs of the child and his or her family.

Referral Process

The referral process can happen in two ways:

  1. Community Level – Each First Nation Community has an Alternative Care Coordinator that can assist in placing children who require an out of home placement
  2. Tribal Level – Alternative Care Coordinator can assist and support the community level Alternative Care Coordinator in placing children who require an out of home placement within the First Nation Community or off.

Application Process

In becoming a Caregiver home there is an application process that is to be completed:

First Stage:

The Applicant fills out the following forms:

  1. Application Form
  2. Vulnerable Sector Checks – OPP or Treaty #3 Police (there is a cost which is reimbursed)
  3. Medical Report to be brought to their family physician to fill out – there is a fee for having this form filled out.  The clinic or doctors office usually bills Weechi-it-te-win directly.  If the applicant pays for it, they will be reimbursed by Weechi-it-te-win Family Services.
  4. Personal Reference Checks are required, three (3) if single and five (5) if a couple.  A BCR from the Band will count as 2 references.

Second Stage:

The ACC worker at the community level will arrange for a day and time, with the Applicant, to complete the following:

  1. Home Study I
  2. Home Study II

Third Stage:

When both Home Studies are completed and all required documentation has been received,  the AC worker will approve the home.  The AC worker will send a letter to the Applicant advising them their home has been approved.  The AC worker will then provide the Caregiver with a copy of the Caregiver Handbook, which includes the Guidelines for Subsidies and Compensation for Alternative Caregivers as well as a copy of the following pamphlets:

  • the Service Complaint Procedure Process;
  • What To Do if a Child Discloses Abuse;

Communities We Serve / Alternative Care Coordinator

  • Big Grassy First Nation -  Charmaine Hunter
  • Big Island First Nation – Rhonda Big George
  • Couchiching First Nation – Mike Fraser
  • Lac La Croix – Phyllis Pierson
  • Naicatchewenin First Nation – Norma Smith
  • Nigigoonsiminikaaning First Nation – Nora Johnson
  • Rainy River First Nations – Agnes Grover
  • Ojibways of Onegaming First Nation- Toni White
  • Seine River First Nation – Norma Spencer
  • Mitaanjigamiing First Nation – Ravenn Kasper

Alternative Caregiver Training

The WFS Alternative Care Coordinator works in conjunction with the First Nation Community Care ACC workers to deliver training to all Caregivers.  Training can be provided at either the First Nation or at the WFS training room.


WFS Alternative Care Coordinator

Boozhoo!  My name is Donna Mainville, I am a member of Couchiching First Nation. 

I came to Weechi-it-te-win Family Services in April 2015. My professional background as it relates to child welfare includes the positions of Family Service Worker, Family Counsellor and Supervisor at the Community Care Program level. I received my Honours Bachelor of Social Work from Carlton University through a community based program, which incorporated teachings and the wisdom of our local elders.

On a personal level, I am keenly aware of the needs, dedication, commitment and rewards of being a Customary Caregiver for Anishinaabe children. I encourage others to also consider and inquire about becoming a caregiver with Weechi-it-te-win Family Services. If you would like further information on the Alternative Care Program, I can be reached at (807) 274-3201 ext 4020 or email at


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