Aboriginal Approaches To Dispute Resolution

Aboriginal Approaches To Dispute Resolution in the Child Welfare System (ADR)

Specific to Family & Children’s Service Niagara (FACS)

Aboriginal approaches to Dispute Resolution > Seek to regain original pathways for family reconciliation and unification while collaborating with those who provide child protection services to the Native community of Niagara.

The Aim for ADR> Minimize the need for Court Involvement.

*Support the provision of a more strengths-based, inclusive and collaborative approach to resolving child protection disputes.  

*Support the involvement of family, extended family and the community, in planning and decision-making for children. 

We may be able to help you if

You or your children are of Aboriginal descent. This includes; Status, Non-status, Metis, Inuit peoples. You are facing challenges with resolving child protection issues. You want/ need an alternative to the court system to resolve your situation.

We may be able to help you in collaboration with your worker. Ask for a referral to the Aboriginal ADR process. IT’S YOUR RIGHT.

Who can participate?

  • Children depending on their age
  • Family and friends who can support you
  • Community supporters ie: your Band Rep., Friendship Centre, Women’s group
  • Elders who bring wisdom of our culture, and understanding to your circumstances
  • Your lawyer/ children(s) lawyer
  • FACS Worker or their lawyer
  • Others as deemed necessary

What you can expect, participating in ADR’s

All Aboriginal nations in Ontario are eligible for service. Most ADR’s will take the form of a type of circle: talking, sharing and traditional practices. However, the Aboriginal ADR process has flexibility. 

The main objective is to keep you and your family out of court, focus on your strengths, collaborative resolutions to child protection issues and family as well as community involvement.


Will come from the Courts, FACS Workers, and other Community Agencies with participants involved with FACS. This program was made possible by the contributions of the Ontario Ministry of Child and Youth Services. The Aboriginal Approaches to Dispute Resolution Program is a joint initiative between the Niagara Chapter- Native Women Inc., Family and Children’s services Niagara and Niagara Native Restorative Circle.

YOUR RIGHT to an Alternative Approach

The child and Family Services Act mandates the following:

If a child is or may be in need of protection, a children’s aid society must consider whether a prescribed method of Alternative Dispute Resolution(ADR) could assist in resolving any issue related to the child or a plan for the child’s care (section 20.2(1)).

The Court, at any time during a proceeding, and with the consent of the parties, may adjourn the proceeding to permit the parties to utilize a prescibed method of ADR to attempt to resolve the issues in dispute (section 51.1).

On applications to vary or terminate an openness order before or after an adoption, the court may, with the consent of the parties, adjourn the proceedingto permit the parties to utilize a prescribed method of ADR to attempt to resolve any disputes related to the proceeding (section 154.2(7)) and (153.1(10)).

It is important that you know your rights and understand the Child and Family Services Act takes into account Aboriginal Ancestry whether status or Non-status as well as Aboriginal affiliation, in deciding the “best interest” of a child. That Aboriginal children and families “should be provided with service in a manner that recognizes their culture, heritage and traditions as well as the concept of extended family”.
*Quotations: Child and Family Services Act*