Feb 5, 2021

Umingmak Centre's first year in Nunavut

Art with clients
Art with clients

The Umingmak Centre has been open since October 2019. We have increased the community’s capacity to support the healing of children who have experience abuse through the following activities:

Client Activities

1. Child and Family Advocate activities

2 Inuit advocates support children and families through all stages of disclosure, interview, investigation, and healing. Both of our advocates are bilingual (English-Inuktitut, and English- American Sign Language). 84 clients were supported by the child and family advocates. This does not include the caregivers involved in these files.

2. Coordination of services around clients and caregivers

There a number of services coordinated out of the Umingmak Centre that are performed by members of other departments and agencies.

Interviews:  Child and youth interviews after abuse allegations are conducted in the Centre’s soft-interview room. Total interviews conducted were 48 and 46 were monitored by CFS. 6 interviews needed interpretation between English and Inuktitut, and 4 of these interviews were interpreted by an advocate.

Pediatric clinic:  Pediatricians provide forensic exams, initial assessments and follow-up appointments for clients at the Umingmak Centre. Clinics began regularly at the Umingmak Centre in June, 2020, with 55 client appointments recorded in this reporting period.

Other appointments are made at the Centre for our clients. This year, we had dieticians, rehabilitation therapists, neuropsychologists, occupational therapists, physiotherapists, and mental health workers use the Centre location for their appointments. In this reporting period, there were 15 of these appointments.

3. Therapeutic Services

We hired an additional child and youth therapist on June 11, 2020. From October 2019 to October 16, 2020 the Umingmak Centre has had 84 client referrals for the following presentations: sexual and physical abuse, exposure to violence and neglect. As per trauma phases, each child and adolescent received a comprehensive assessment and treatment relating to their overall presentation.

Group Programs: We had the intention to run group programs with clients this year, one for male clients exhibiting inappropriate sexualized behaviour and the other for female clients who had experienced sexual abuse. Unfortunately, COVID restrictions caused these groups to be postponed.

Case Reviews: We had 129 case reviews with Subject Matter Experts for clients with the following partners (see appendix for more information on these partners):

Inuusilirijiit: Inuit counsellor services were offered to Inuit caregivers who expressed difficulty. We offered this service 26 times; 18 times a caregiver accepted the service and showed up for the appointment.

 4. Operating the centre

We have 3 full-time staff members: one clinical director, 2 child and family advocates; 2 part-time staff members: child and youth therapist and program director; and 3 contracted Inuusilirijiit.

Outdoor cabin space: The outdoor shed was renovated into a cabin. The primary intent is to use this as a space for Inuusilirijiit to connect with caregivers for programming.

 

Activities with Service Providers

 1. Professional Development 

Training for staff and community

The Umingmak Centre developed and delivered Nunavut-centred child and youth specific trauma training.  So far, we have delivered over 100 hours of this training to 130 people across 50 organizations in Nunavut. We have also established a community of practice with mental health workers who work with children and youth and wish to be in an environment that fosters learning and support to increase their skills to assess and treat children and youth. Our staff participate in many training opportunities, both in clinical counselling and Inuit counselling practices.

 2. Promotion of Promising Practices

Over the year, we have worked with a number of local organizations to improve our services to clients.

Inuusilirijit - Inuit trained counsellors 

Qaujigiartiit Health Research Centre – Makimautiksat Ujarait

University of Toronto – Caregiver involvement

 

Anecdotes

From a parent: An emotional and tearful mother upon her first visit with her daughter to the Umingmak Centre said, “I wish this was available for me when I was abused as a child…I am so happy that she will finally get the support that she needs…I am so thankful that this exists.”

 

From a parent “I am so happy this Centre is here, there is so much intergenerational trauma here. I have already seen a difference in my kids.”

Links:

Sep 8, 2020

Umingmak Centre's first year in Nunavut

The Umingmak Centre is doing great work in Iqaluit. We have created 7 new services available to children, youth and families who are experiencing trauma: 1) child and youth specific, Nunavut-centred trauma therapy 2) pediatric clinic for client 3) cultural counselling for caregivers 4) Nunavut-specific trauma therapy assessment development and training 5) Community of Practice for practicing mental health professionals 6) child intervew coordination of Police and Child and Family Services 7) subject matter expertise. 

We have created a healing space for Elders and cultural counsellors.

From our caregivers: A mother upon her first visit with her daughter to the Umingmak Centre said, “I wish this was available for me when I was abused as a child…I am so happy that she will finally get the support that she needs…I am so thankful that this exists”.

 

From one of our advocates: Since I have started my position at the Umingmak Centre, there have been various positive changes. We have been able to create good relationships with our partners since the opening of the centre and I have noticed a stronger sense of communication between our team and our partners. I have also noticed a general increase in awareness of our organization. Because of the clearer communication and the increased awareness, the cases that come through the centre run a lot smoother in the process compared to the beginning. Our team has been able to reach out and connect with organizations and programs beyond our partners (e.i. the women’s shelter, the soup kitchen, and more) to be able to work together and help those in the community who need it most.

 

From a partner doctor: “the collaboration we have between partners was not here before the Umingmak Centre.”

From one of our Elder counsellors: When one of the Elder Ilisaqsivik counsellors came to the Centre to meet with us and discuss working with the caregivers, she had tears in her eyes. She took off her glasses to wipe her eyes and told us that when she was a girl, she dreamed of a place like this to help her people.

May 4, 2020

Umingmak Centre's Response to COVID-19

Our Child and Youth Advocates
Our Child and Youth Advocates

The Umingmak Centre has been open for 5 and half months. We have coordinated 31 investigations with the RCMP Special Victims Unit, Child and Family Services and the paediatricians. We see 3-4 clients and their families per day for follow-up services and therapy, and have held bi monthly clinics for pediatricians to provide follow-up exams. 

During the COVID pandemic, we have closed the Centre except for investigations of abuse. Many of our clients don't have access to internet due to a lack of devices so we have purchased tablets so we can connect and continue therapy sessions. We also loaded them with educational and wellness activities. We have created wellness care packages and given out food vouchers. We have also started one-on-one outdoor activities with each client so that our advocates can still maintain the relationship.

We still continue interagency meetings meetings with our partners online.  After 2 community consultations, meeting with over 40 partners, we developed a Nunavut-specific mental health assessment for children and youth and a training program for professionals and paraprofessionals who wish to increase their skill and knowledge working with children and youth. A community of practice has arisen out of the group that attended training and continues to meet bi monthly online. 

Learning from Elders
Learning from Elders
Our waiting area
Our waiting area
Our building in spring
Our building in spring

Links:

 
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