Early Childhood Development

Training and Support Services for the development of Tootinaowaziibeeng Anishinabe Health Jordan’s Principle Program for Children with Special Needs

The team will empower the community to implement special needs programming with their Jordan’s Principle funding with 0-12 year olds.  The Team will provide the community with initial assessments, care plans, an activity/strategy manual for each child, staff and parent training, and will provide follow-up consultation support.  This includes:

  • working with parent and child development worker to set preliminary goals for each child;
  • Parent and staff training on strategies;
  • Staff training – introduction to the process, what is a Care Plan, general intervention strategies, things to expect.

Over the course of additional site visits we continue to:

  • Supply and educate on the children’s Care Plans.
  • Add new strategies to the children’s manuals.
  • Staff training – how to implement the Care Plans, teaching/behavioral strategies
  • Parent training – further information about their child and the program
  • Additional in-take assessments with follow up activity/strategy manuals and Care Plans
  • Provide and train on visual support packages
  • Assist in developing the intervention program by conducting intervention activities together with the Program Staff and parents
  • Follow up with parents and Program Staff on all children’s Care Plans and activity/strategy manuals.
  • The Year-end reviews where they’ve been and future directions

Jordan’s Principle – Child First Advocacy for Families and Communities  (April 2014- currently)

Development of video showing integrated programming for children with special needs, circles with families and meetings funding agencies as family advocates.

Development of a training Manual for Aboriginal Healthy Babies Healthy Children (May 2013)

Under contract with Anishinabek Nation, we developed and graphically designed an in-depth user guide for the Aboriginal Healing and Wellness Strategy AHBHC program.

Evaluation of the Healthy Bodies, Healthy Minds (HBHM) Initiative (March 2011)

Working with Manitoba First Nation Schools and Aboriginal Diabetes Initiative workers, this contract is an evaluation of the First Nations and Inuit Health – Manitoba Region Healthy Bodies, Healthy Minds (HBHM) initiative.  This initiative aims to foster a healthy environment by promoting and supporting healthy eating, physical activity, and healthy lifestyles.

Serpent River First Nation Children and Youth Services Evaluation (March 2011)

The purpose of this project is to conduct a review of SRFN Children and Youth Services that meets the requirements of the Health Services Transfer Agreement and prepares a report that supports their management cycle for health programs and services. The evaluation addresses the effectiveness of programs and services and examines what impact they have had on the community.

Public Works and Government Services Canada – Qualitative Research with Parents/ Caregivers of Aboriginal Head Start On-reserve Children (January – April 2005).

This qualitative research was designed to provide evidence to determine: the barriers to AHSOR attendance and participation that currently exist for parents and caregivers; expectations of parents and caregivers; methods of encouraging involvement; and awareness and attitudes of parents and caregivers to the role of parents and caregivers in AHSOR.


Project Title: National Dialogue on Early Childhood Development for First Nations and Aboriginal Children (In Association with the Aboriginal Research Institute)

Date (Month/Year): October 2003 -March 2004

Budget: $275,000

Level of Effort: (240 days)

Client Name: Carolyn Harrison, Director, First Nation and Inuit Health Branch, Health Canada, Ottawa, Ontario

Subject Matter:

The Aboriginal Research Institute was selected as the national consultant for Health Canada to facilitate a national dialogue on the delivery of Federal Early Childhood Development Programs and Services for Aboriginal Children. The Aboriginal Research Institute sub-contracted Williams Consulting and DPRA to undertake the work. In this study Health Canada, Human Resources Development Canada, and Indian and Northern Affairs, in collaboration with the Assembly of First Nations, Métis National Council, and Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami examined ways to improve the way federal programs and services for Aboriginal children are accessed, administered and delivered. A National Dialogue was held to obtain the views of key stakeholders on possibilities and best options on how the Federal Aboriginal Early Childhood Development programs can work better together. The final report has been submitted, approved and disseminated by Health Canada. Some common themes raised were around the silo effect resulting from jurisdictional issues and concerns that First Nation and Inuit Children with special needs were not being met.


The national dialogue was conducted in two parts: 1) National Aboriginal Organizations (NAOs) collected feedback from their constituents; and 2) The Aboriginal Research Institute (ARI) team conducted dialogue activities with other key stakeholders involved in ECD.

The ARI team national dialogue activities included 14 dialogue workshops with more than 350 people attending across the country, telephone interviews with Key Contacts (17), and questionnaires completed in hard copy and on the website (29). This national study was undertaken in English and French.

The geographical locations for the dialogue workshops facilitated by ARI (composed primarily of Aboriginal service delivery people as well as federal and provincial program administrators) included:

  • Winnipeg, Manitoba (34 attended National ECD Dialogue);
  • Halifax, Nova Scotia – (28 attended National ECD Dialogue)
  • Montreal, Quebec – (9 attended National ECD Dialogue) translation required
  • Regina, Saskatchewan – (20 attended National ECD Dialogue)
  • Goose Bay, Labrador – (14 attended National ECD Dialogue)
  • Saskatoon, Saskatchewan – (27 attended National ECD Dialogue)
  • Toronto, Ontario – (32 attended National ECD Dialogue)
  • Yellowknife, Northwest Territories – (19 attended National ECD Dialogue)
  • Iqaluit, Nunavut – (15 attended National ECD Dialogue)
  • Whitehorse, Yukon – (20 attended National ECD Dialogue)
  • Quebec City, Quebec- (19 attended National ECD Dialogue)
  • Vancouver, British Columbia – (35 attended National ECD Dialogue)
  • Edmonton, Alberta – (50 attended National ECD Dialogue)
  • Ottawa, Ontario – (30 attended National ECD Dialogue)

Participants were selected by Health Canada. Participants were passionate about the subject matter, raising other important program issues to the attention of the government. For each session, a Williams Consulting team member facilitated with a local Aboriginal co-facilitator. Williams Consulting, in conjunction with ARI also employed local Aboriginal people to serve as recorders for the process.


It is important to note that this approach to data collection was conducted within a tight time frame: the project was initiated October 10, 2003; the data were collected between November 18 and December 15, 2003; and the draft final report was produced early in January 2004 – a span of just three months. During this period, input was received from 400 persons (Williams Consulting dialogue activities) by various means. Williams Consulting team members, on behalf of ARI, facilitated 14 focus group sessions across the country within a three-week period. In addition, team members had only a three-week lead-time to prepare for and coordinate the sessions.

Representatives of the government attended each session in an observation role. However, the presence of government officials does change the dynamics of the sessions, and sometimes, participants would use the opportunity to bring forward other agenda items. Therefore, the facilitators had to be respectful and flexible in accommodating the needs of participants while still obtaining the necessary policy information. This led to the need to add another layer of reporting to the “dialogue” process, in that participants requested immediate copies of transcripts of their sessions, rather than waiting for the production of the report. The client, Health Canada, and Williams Consulting, on behalf of ARI met this request within a short time frame.

Summary of Core Competencies:

The development of the study tools for this Dialogue was undertaken in collaboration with the four federal departments and with the National Aboriginal Organizations (NAOs) including First Nations and Métis. It is an example of how we must also work closely with the client to develop a contact list for the various First Nation and Métis parties.

In addition, this contract is an example of our ability to:

  • professionally facilitate meetings in a non-partisan manner;
  • facilitate productive discussions on multi-jurisdictional and complex matters enabling all participants to express their thoughts and points of view;
  • communicate clearly with the Parties to enable successful attendance and participation;
  • develop data collection tools within a short time frame,
  • synthesize key issues and priorities, provide analysis and synthesize the material into useful evidence based reports.

Managing and contributing to the development of an Aboriginal Healthy Babies Healthy Children Assessment Tool with Kim Scott for the Aboriginal Healing and Wellness Strategy

First Nation and Inuit Health Branch (November 1999 – March 2000)

Research Associate with Miiheegan Associates and assisted with the field research and writing of an evaluation options paper for the Ontario Aboriginal Head Start On-Reserve Program. Andrea Williams was senior analyst and responsible for data collection and analysis and report writing.


Wasa-Nabin Assessment Tool for At Risk Aboriginal Youth and the development of a supporting electronic application.

Date (Month/Year): April 2009 – October  2009

Client Name: Julia Valencia, Manager, Children and Youth Initiatives, Ontario Federation of Indian Friendship Centres

Research Subject Matter:

The goal of the Wasa-Nabin Program is to provide urban Aboriginal at risk youth ages 13-18 with the support, tools, and healthy activities, which will build upon and foster their inherent ability to make healthy choices.

Six program objectives include:

  • Provision of social supports to address poverty-related self-esteem issues, victimized issues and peer pressure to engage in unhealthy behaviours;
  • Outreach to youth in care to increase support and culturally appropriate services to non-native adoptive and foster parents;
  • Promotion of health and physical development to address interrelated health impacts of poverty, diabetes and obesity;
  • From the development of educational support through homework support, school suspension support and have available direct access to computers and literacy programs;
  • Provision of support to youth involved in the criminal justice system through “Streetwolf – The seven principles of Self Leadership”; and
  • Addressing violence experienced by youth through collaboration with Kizhaay Anishinaabe Niin (I Am A Kind Man) and through the involvement of Elders.

It is anticipated the Program clients will increase their skills, knowledge, attitudes and values and influence positive personal choices through awareness of the consequences of negative behaviours.  The expected outcome will be an improvement in behavioural, educational and employment preparation for at risk urban Aboriginal youth aged 13-18.  Each program is expected to have approximately 20 clients who will receive individual services and participant based component to engage a broader number of youth in healthy activities.

The basic program intervention design, to be followed by each participating Friendship Centre, includes the following components:

  • An in-house referral and intake process, including appropriate referrals for high risk clients;
  • Facilitating an:
    • Risk assessment to determine program eligibility and priority for intervention
    • Individual needs assessment including need for professional services and professional service supports
    • Plan for each client;
    • Ongoing evaluation
  • A full “menu” of early intervention activities; designed to assist the youth and to support the program objectives;
  • Design of reporting requirements to justice officials, to implement diversion aspect of project; and
  • A plan to access and integrate with existing community resources and agencies, if appropriate, including school boards, police services, courts, Children’s Aid Societies and other agencies.


The scope of the work was:

1.     To assess relevant existing databases to determine promising practices that can be incorporated into the Wasa Nabin database.

2.     To conduct key informant interviews with Wasa Nabin program manager and staff to determine information needs.

3.     To conduct data analysis of information provided that will inform the database development.

4.     To produce the Wasa Nabin database.


Williams Consulting, under the project management of Kienan Williams, designed a five step cycle of care and a supporting electronic application to implement the Wasa-Nabin program.  Williams Consulting designed the Wasa‑Nabin database on a PHP platform (widely used general purpose scripting language) to be piloted for the remainder of 2009-10 fiscal year.  It has integrated all the promising practices from the existing databases as well as findings from this report.  The Wasa-Nabin database has a report function that produces quarterly and year end reports, including success stories, and aggregate number of clients as well as wait lists.



  1. Respondent Demographics
  2. Alcohol and Substance Abuse
  3. Dietary Behaviour
  4. Health and Hygiene
  5. Mental Health
  6. Physical Activity
  7. Educational Experience
  8. Sexual Behaviour
  9. Violence and Unintentional Injury
  10. Involvement with Justice System


a)     Priority for Service

b)    Wasa Nabin Program capacity to support potential client (combination of staff and external professional/para professional support services)  OR

c)     Professional Services (referred out)

Step 3:  Undertake a detailed NEEDS ANALYSIS on the following areas:

  1. Respondent Demographics
  2. Alcohol and Substance Abuse
  3. Dietary Behaviour
  4. Health and Hygiene
  5. Mental Health
  6. Physical Activity
  7. Educational Experience
  8. Sexual Behaviour
  9. Violence and Unintentional Injury
  10. Involvement with Justice System

Step 4:  NEEDS ANALYSIS will score priority identify areas for Wasa Nabin to provide support:

  • Provision of Social Supports
  • Youth in Care
  • Health and Physical Development
  • Education Support
  • Justice Interventions
  • Violence Prevention

Step 5:  Workers will develop a detailed plan of care and assess every 6-8 weeks.

Plan of Care will include the following components by service categories (program areas):

  1. Outcome
  2. Impact Measure
  3. Activities
  4. Timescale
  5. Lead/Responsibility
  6. Resource(s)

The Wasa-Nabin Annual Service Plan collects client information regarding the youth clients with tracking that is completed using case worker notes, databases, and pre and post questionnaires. Information collected and tracked through Case Worker notes includes: attendance, active participation, changes in youth behavior/attitudes, weight and fitness levels, school suspensions and other behaviours. Information collected and tracked through databases includes: client behaviour, results of increased awareness and knowledge of healthy and traditional foods, weights and fitness levels, school suspensions and other behaviours. Information collected and tracked through pre and post questionnaires includes the results of learning and client feedback that report resiliency.  Other information provided in this report includes: interviews with friends, family and caregivers, test scores and grades, and participation in “Street Wolf”.


Environmental scan on current delivery mechanisms and funding resolution methods in Federal Programs and Services for Children with Special Needs or complex medical needs.  June 2006, Dawn Walker and Valerie Flynn