The Chief of the Kwanlin Dun First Nation, pictured here in 2017, said April 4 that it’s time for the First Nation to offer its own housing to KDFN youth. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)

KDFN plans to run own home for youth

‘I think we can work with them to prepare them for life outside the system’

Doris Bill would like to see Aunty’s Place open yesterday.

The Chief of the Kwanlin Dün First Nation said April 4 that it’s time for the First Nation to offer its own housing to KDFN youth.

Bill, who grew up in care, said it’s something she’s been talking about since she became chief three years ago. It’s a point, in KDFN’s four-year strategic plan that “at-risk children and youth (be) protected and supported, and remain in our community.”

She knows what the experience is like. Growing up, she found it tough to get along with 30 or 40 different personalities in a house where everything was controlled by someone else. On top of that, she said group homes have a poor reputation, one that’s undeserved, in terms of public perception.

“The last thing I want to call it is a group home,” Bill said of Aunty’s Place, which, at this point, is just a concept.

“There’s many stigmas attached to a group home, for instance all this NIMBYism that was going on in Porter Creek around the group home,” she said, referencing the house on Wann Road where the Yukon government will house up to 10 adult youth who are transitioning out of care.

Bill said she was discouraged by the assumptions people made about the youth who will live there.

Beyond those assumptions, Bill said she wants to establish a place that’s less institutional.

“It just doesn’t feel like a home,” she said of her experience in care. For her, she said that even though there were plenty of people around all the time, it was a lonely place.

There are no concrete timelines in place for establishing Aunty’s Place. There also haven’t been any partners identified, though Bill said KDFN has been talking to the Yukon government about it for quite some time. There’s also no location at the moment, though Bill said she’d like to see it in the MacIntyre neighbourhood.

She wants the youth living at Aunty’s Place to be able to connect with their community. She said that’s something that can be difficult to do currently. The days where kids in care have the opportunity to come together are too few and far between, she said.

Recently, KDFN expanded youth programming and hired a youth outreach worker and youth program coordinator to run programs including those that ran at Jackson Lake in February and March. Some of these include fitness sessions and moosehide tanning wellness camps.

“That’s really key for us because when you’re placed in the public system, you lose that connection. It’s very difficult. As a First Nations community, we do what we can to reach out.”

One of the challenges KDFN faces is the high number of kids who are in care. She said the first nation has one YG social worker. Within KDFN, there are two child and family liaison positions, one of which is currently vacant.

“Capacity is a huge issue for us,” she said. “We are trying to, as best we can, deal with the situation at hand, but it’s very difficult.”

In addition to challenges though, Bill said there have also been improvements. She cited the current review of a 2011 memorandum of agreement between KDFN and YG’s department of health and social services. She also said First Nations child care has become an issue that’s being discussed at the territorial and federal government levels.

She said KDFN has waited for a long time for some of those changes, and she is hopeful that more substantial changes.

“Quite frankly I think I’d love to be able to work with these young kids and give them the life skills that they need,” she said. “I think we can work with them to prepare them for life outside the system. I think we’re in a better position to do that.”

Contact Amy Kenny at amy.kenny@yukon-news.com

group homesKwanlin Dun First Nation

Just Posted

Willow Brewster, a paramedic helping in the COVID-19 drive-thru testing centre, holds a swab used for the COVID-19 test moments before using it on Nov. 24. The Yukon government is reopening the drive-thru option on June 18. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Drive-up COVID-19 testing opening June 18 in Whitehorse

The drive-up testing will be open from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. everyday and increase testing capacity by 33 spots

A draft plan has been released by the Dawson Regional Use Planning commission on June 15. Julien Gignac/Yukon News
Draft plan released by the Dawson Regional Land Use Planning Commission

Dawson Regional Land Use Commission releases draft plan, Government of Yukon withdraws additional lands from mineral staking in the planning region

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: Let them live in trailers

“I found Rome a city of bricks and left it a city… Continue reading

X
WYATT’S WORLD

Wyatt’s World for June 18, 2021.… Continue reading

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley. (Yukon News file)
Yukon logs nine new COVID-19 cases, 54 active cases

More CEMA enforcement officers have been recruited, officials say

Whitehorse City Hall (Yukon News file)
City news, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council at its June 14 meeting

Murray Arsenault sits in the drivers seat of his 1975 Bricklin SV1 in Whitehorse on June 16. (Stephanie Waddell/Yukon News)
Bringing the 1975 Bricklin north

Murray Arsenault remembers his dad’s Bricklin, while now driving his own

A presumptive COVID case was found at Seabridge Gold’s 3 Aces project. (file photo)
Presumptive COVID-19 case reported at mine in southeast Yukon

A rapid antigen rest found a presumptive COVID case on an incoming individual arriving at the 3Aces project

Jonathan Antoine/Cabin Radio
Flooding in Fort Simpson on May 8.
Fort Simpson asked for military help. Two people showed up.

FORT SIMPSON—Residents of a flooded Northwest Territories village expected a helping hand… Continue reading

A woman was rescued from the Pioneer Ridge Trail in Alaska on June 16. (Photo courtesy/AllTrails)
Alaska hiker chased off trail by bears flags down help

ANCHORAGE (AP)—An Alaska hiker who reported needing help following bear encounters on… Continue reading

Two participants cross the finish line at the City of Whitehorse Kids Triathlon on June 12 with Mayor Dan Curtis on hand to present medals. (Stephanie Waddell/Yukon News)
2021 Kids’ Triathlon draws 76 young athletes

Youth ages five to 14 swim, run and bike their way to finish line

NDP MP Mumilaaq Qaqqaq rises in the House of Commons, in Ottawa on May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
‘Unacceptable’ that Inuk MP felt unsafe in House of Commons, Miller says

OTTAWA—It’s a “sad reflection” on Canada that an Inuk MP feels she’s… Continue reading

Lily Witten performs her Canadian Nationals beam routine on June 14. John Tonin/Yukon News
Three Yukon gymnasts break 20-year Nationals absence

Bianca Berko-Malvasio, Maude Molgat and Lily Witten competed at the Canadian Nationals – the first time in 20 years the Yukon’s been represented at the meet

Most Read