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Bent Arrow Traditional Healing Society
Senior executive: Cheryl Whiskeyjack
It’s one thing to be innovative in the course of developing a new product or technology. It’s quite another to apply that same approach to the delivery of social services, and in the case of Edmonton’s Bent Arrow Traditional Healing Society it is quite literally changing lives. That innovation takes the form of Kahkiyaw, a so-called “outcomes-based service delivery” model that has Bent Arrow partner with other service providers and families to provide a more flexible and inclusive form of social outreach.
“When the administration of those decisions falls on a lead agency,” says Bent Arrow executive director Cheryl Whiskeyjack, “we can be that much more creative in who we look to in terms of providing services for families.” And while the program has only been in place since 2012, the early results are more than just encouraging – they’re inspiring. Traditionally, Whiskeyjack says, 60 per cent of child welfare cases ended up in government care, while 40 per cent were resolved within the family before it got to that stage. “We’ve been able to flip that stat completely around,” she says. “Now, 40 per cent are in care and 60 per cent we’re able to work with in their homes. That’s huge.”