About Child and Family Services
The Governance Framework
Our Strategic Plan and Our Board

Our Purpose:

We protect children and youth.

We help families create safe, healthy and hopeful Cree homes.

And, we break destructive cycles.

In July 2020, the leadership of  Opaskwayak Child and Family Services met for a  Strategic Planning Session. Here are the results.

“I want our community to see that we are here to promote family unity and in a crisis, we are there to help them, not to tear them apart.”

Our Forecast for the Future

By Summer, 2023

Opaskwayak Cree Nation is a community of people working together on the safety, protection and success of our children and families. Through a shared understanding of our culture, our language, our history, and our treaty rights, we are building a safety net for our youth, elders and community.

Child and Family Services is trusted to help children and families to overcome struggles and make positive strides, based on social work principles. We provide a safe environment where people feel protected. Families look to us to help guide them through their struggles into a good life, not as a threat to tear the family apart. We exercise our authority thoughtfully, effectively and consistently.

We are functioning within our own culturally-relevent CFS legislation that the community has had input into developing.

We are advancing Opaskwayak’s de-colonization, regaining justice and reducing the level of anger in our community by engaging family in caring for family, and providing, or directing people to, resources to sustain families.

We work from a child abuse framework that reduces trauma involving physical, sexual and emotional abuse, giving our children a chance to thrive and become the best they can be.

We involve other Opaskwayak branches and external agencies to work together in moving away from oppressed systems, to increase our resiliency and create the best outcomes for our clients.

Our youth are coming to know: who they are; how to not be afraid to speak out; how to stay well; and the value of giving back to the community.

We have moved forward in achieving compliances. We offer more prevention and early intervention, family enhancement services and family programming, then protection services.

More families are staying together, well. There are fewer apprehensions of children and more children living well in their forever home.

Opaskwayak CFS is a great place to work. It feels good to be part of a successful organization that has welcomed change and moved forward.

We are all certified in the field of our choice. We are fully staffed with qualified people including elders, therapists etc. We are living by the seven teachings in all our work. We work well with each other.

We have clear direction on where we are going and how we will get there. We all know our roles and responsibilities. We are motivated because we have the freedom to be open-minded and act proactively within our area of expertise, in the best interests of our clients.

We are smart and we know what we are doing. We keep learning and we share skills and knowledge with staff. We ask questions.

Information flows regularly along case lines and across disciplines. We express ourselves without fear. Everyone is appropriately involved in decisions affecting children and families. We trust each other because we balance transparency with appropriate confidentiality. We get the work done quickly and well.

We care and we are making a positive difference by offering empathy, being compassionate and reliable.

We are healthy people working in suitable offices or facilities, with access to the resources we need. We apply our personal morals and beliefs to our work. We have a shared understanding of integrity. We recognize that we are seen as role models at work and in the community. We do not abuse alcohol or drugs. We practice self-care of mind, body and spirit and we bring positive energy to work.

As the Opaskwayak CFS Leadership Team, we set the vision and the tone and ensure they are clear and well-understood. We foster our teamwork to be like our culture of helping one another. We bring our positivity and knowledge to our processes at work. We strengthen our connection with elders.

We identify the programs that are needed and define the footprint of our services. We identify the resources that are required, seek resources, establish the budget and track against it.

We are leading the opportunity of Bill C-92 and we dedicate the resources and support required to advance our Opaskwayak CFS Legislation.

About the Child and Family Services Board

Child and Family Services Branch Board

  • Edwin Jebb Portfolio Holder
  • Alice Bignell
  • Patti Constant
  • Charlie J. Lathlin
  • Samantha Merasty
Appointed by: Chief and Council
Term of Office: 2 years, in alignment with Opaskwayak election cycle.


united cree leadership is:
º Open and Forthcoming º Rooted in Cree Ways and Traditions º Based on Wahkotowin & Pasikonikewin (Kinship/Relationships and Mentoring) º Collaborative º Inclusive º Progressive º Sovereign º Fair º In Service of and Accountable to the Community, for Seven Generations