Akoma Wraparound Program
The “Akoma” (Akan word for heart) Wraparound Program, is an initiative that seeks to reduce racial inequities and increase the well-being of African-Caribbean-Black-Canadian (ACB) families who are involved with the child welfare system in Peel. The “Akoma” service model was developed in consultation with numerous community stakeholders.
What can a family expect if they participate in the Akoma Wraparound Program?
Young people and/or parents and families who agree to participate in the “Akoma” will be paired with a wraparound worker whose primary role will be to empower clients to identify their needs and goals. This wraparound worker will assist the family to form a network of formal and informal supports that can assist in planning and implementing strategies to achieve their goals, and help them to advocate and navigate multiple service systems.
What kinds of services or supports will be offered?
The service response is culturally-centered and includes resources to meet social, mental and economic needs, such as:
- Joint child protection visits with a CAS child protection worker and counsellor with Afrocentric competencies to ensure use of Black-focused best practices;
- Afro-centric parenting and informal networking support;
- Access to supports that will address social determinants such as employment, housing, education and child care, and o Facilitating mental health service support through community partnerships.
What families or situations are best suited for the Akoma Wraparound Program?
Families must be willing to form a team, of at least one other person/service to help them address their service needs. Families who have been experiencing challenges navigating multiple service systems, are experiencing stressors in their caregiving responsibilities, are experiencing isolation or poor coping mechanisms or children/youth who are at risk of separation from their family are recommended for this program.
What is my role as a referring worker?
As a referring worker, we ask that you explain the Akoma Wraparound Program and seek the family’s verbal consent to make a referral. After completing the referral form and submitting to Programs/Mary John, you will be contacted by the Akoma wraparound worker from Roots Community Services or the Free For All Foundation to coordinate an initial meeting with the family. You will coordinate the first joint meeting with the family during which you will explain to the Akoma wraparound worker the reason for the family’s involvement with Peel CAS including your worries and safety goals for the family. During this first meeting, consent forms will be signed.
When can a family begin the Akoma Wraparound Program?
A family can start working with the Akoma Wraparound Program at any stage of the family’s involvement with Peel CAS, including assessment, ongoing, after admission to care or when residing with kin.
How often will I meet with the family while they are participating in the Akoma Wraparound Program?
You are required to meet with a family at least once every 30 days as set out by the Ontario Child Protection standards. In addition, you will be asked to attend network meetings with the family and the Akoma wraparound worker and members of the family’s network/team. The wraparound worker will set out the timing of these meetings.
How many families can the program serve?
This is a small pilot program and the capacity is to be determined. If there is a wait-list or the program has reached capacity, you will be informed.
This program is a pilot. Is there anything else I need to know?
We will be completing a program evaluation and you and the family may be asked to complete questionnaires or interviews to help us learn what has worked well and areas for improvement so that we can continuously improve this service to families.