Helping First Nations children-in-care develop a healthy identity
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Grounded theory was used to collect and analyze data from a literature review and the lived experience with First Nations participants, a non-First Nations caseworker, and an Indigenous scholar in order to answer questions related to permanency for Aboriginal children-in-care. Assumptions underlying this study were the difference in child-rearing philosophies between First Nations and Western society – specifically as to what practice each culture considers to be in the best interests of the child. Also, negotiating “best interest of the child” lengthens the time it takes for children-in-care to find permanent homes, which may prevent them from achieving the self-confidence that comes from healthy identity formation. Research resulted in identifying effective practices, along with questions for further study. Some effective practices include ensuring the focus of care is on the child, reinforcing the importance of parenting; developing cross-culturally enhanced social work practices; cultural planning; open and custom open adoption; facilitating cross-cultural connections; and the importance of language in cross-cultural understanding.
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