Once children come into customary care, the primary goal of Naaniigaan Abinoojii is reunification of the Child 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. Alternative care placements are congruent with the Anishinaabe child and family life experience and can vary in duration depending on the needs of the child and his or her family. 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.

The Alternative Care Program is one component under the umbrella of Naaniigaan Abinoojii that is administered by the First Nations Community Care Programs in conjunction with Weechi-it-te-win Family Services. The Alternative Care Workers seek to facilitate placements for First Nation children that require out-of-home-care in homes that uphold our Anishinaabe customs, values, standards and practices.

Accordingly, the Alternative Care Program seeks to recruit Caregivers that are dedicated to:

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

Becoming a Caregiver for Children in Need

Referral Process

The referral process can happen in two ways:

  1. Community Level - Each First Nation Community has an Alternative Care Coordinator that initiates the application process of becoming a caregiver and ultimately placing children who require an out of home placement;
  2. Tribal Level - The WFS Alternative Care Coordinator primarily assist and support the community level Alternative Care Coordinator in implementing the application process. The ACC will forward your application to one of the ten communities for follow-up.

Application Process

First Stage

The Applicant fills out the following forms:

  1. Application Form
  2. Vulnerable Sector Checks - OPP or Treaty #3 Police (there may be 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. .
  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 two visits in the home.

Third Stage

When the Home Studies are completed and all required documentation has been received, the AC worker and community care team will make a decision to approve the home. The AC worker will send a letter to the Applicant advising them of their decision.

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.

Communities We Serve / Alternative Care Coordinator

If you have a preference for the community to work with or would like to contact the communities directly, you can refer to the following list;

Big Grassy F.N. Alison Tom alison.tom@weechi.ca
Big Island F.N. Laura Major


Couchiching F.N. Jennifer Jourdain jennifer.jourdain@weechi.ca
Lac La Croix FN Carol Geyshick


Naicatchewenin F.N. Janice Smith


Nigigoonsiminikaaning F.N. Josh Wickstrom


Rainy River F.N. Agnes Grover agnes.grover@weechi.ca
Ojibways of Onegaming F.N. Lisa Kelly lisa.kelly@weechi.ca
Seine River F.N. Veronica Whitecrow


Mitaanjigamiing F.N. Ravenn Kasper


A message from the 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 include 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 the teachings and wisdom of our local elders.

On a personal level, I am profoundly 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 donna.mainville@weechi.ca


B1455 Idylwild Drive Fort Frances, Ontario, Canada, P9A 3M3     AP.O. Box 812, Fort Frances, Ontario, Canada, P9A 3N1

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