As we enter the summer months, Phase 3 of the government’s Restoring Services plan is now in full swing. At the General Authority (GA), we are now looking ahead to the potential post-COVID-19 period. In that spirit, at our Directors’ Leadership Table (DLT) meetings we have started to re-focus attention on our strategic direction moving forward. With the support of the DLT, over the last few months General Authority staff teams have been working on a variety of initiatives, which will enhance the capacity of the GA and our agencies. Some examples of what we’re working on include:
• Introducing a robust virtual training capacity for conducting live webinars and developing training videos and modules for staff and foster parents online; increasing and expanding the amount of training we can do virtually.
• A staff team is developing a proposal to re-invigorate the GA’s youth engagement strategy. This proposal will include recommendations for ways that the GA Board and Executive Management can hear from those youth who are, or who have received service from a GA agency. A key priority of this work will be to create an opportunity for every young adult on an agreement to provide feedback about the services they received prior to that agreement being concluded (e.g. – use of a confidential survey).
• Creating a new Intranet portal accessible only to staff of a General Authority agency. This site will include staff training videos, authority specific policies and standards, information and “what’s new” updates from each agency, statistical trends and practice tips.
• With funding provided by the Child and Youth Services division, the General and Métis authorities are partnering to jointly develop a new online training program for caregivers—the “Reconciliation Through Mindful Decolonization and Cultural Safety” curriculum. The lead researchers are Dr. Michael Yellow Bird, dean of the University of Manitoba’s faculty of social work, and Dawn MacDonald, an expert in mindfulness practice. It is hoped that the online training product can be launched by next spring.
Look forward to more updates in the coming months as these and other initiatives take shape.
In other news:
• The practice of issuing birth alerts ceased July 1, 2020. The new service delivery model is based on voluntary engagement with high-risk expectant parents and referrals to community/health supports with consent.
• The General Authority and our agencies are excited to be supporting the province’s announcement that it will fund private and non-profit employers to hire students as part of the pandemic recovery program, including the Summer Student Recovery Jobs Program wage subsidy.
• I’d like to welcome Christy Holnbeck, our associate CEO, back to the GA. For the past several months, she has been seconded to help launch a critically important $2.5-million home nutrition and learning pilot program which will help feed approximately 6,000 children in need. Families will regularly receive a box of nutritious breakfast food, along with easy-to-follow recipes and educational activities at five sites across the province.
• Our Annual General Meeting is set for Sept. 30, 2020. A Save the Date will be sent out and information is also available on our website. More details will be forthcoming.
We will provide more updates in the coming months. Wishing everyone a healthy and fun summer.
CEO, General CFS Authority