Care for Caregivers: Understanding the Experiences & Opportunities for Enhanced Support for Caregivers in Nunavut

The Critical Health and Social Action Lab at the University of Toronto and the Umingmak Centre conducted research to support holistic family healing and better understand caregiver needs following child maltreatment disclosures. This empathetic inquiry, grounded in Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit principles, aimed to improve service and support through the lived experiences of caregivers of Umingmak clients.

Through interviews with caregivers and service providers, the research identified critical messages for the child welfare system and the Umingmak Centre, highlighting the need for cultural safety, emotional support, and systemic change. Key findings and recommendations aim to improve support systems through actionable, culturally sensitive, and inclusive strategies.


Summary of Key Recommendations

Communication & Information Sharing:

    1. Immediate improvements in information accessibility, service guidelines, and confidentiality.
    2. Long-term development of a digital platform for seamless access to information and services.

Economic & Resource Support:

    1. Short-term: Establish an emergency fund and respite care services.
    2. Long-term: Advocate for housing and sustainable economic support programs.

Caregiver Therapeutic Services:

    1. Adapt trauma-focused programs to be culturally sensitive.
    2. Develop culturally grounded interventions for historical trauma.

Social Support & Intergenerational Connection:

    1. Implement peer support groups and intergenerational programs.
    2. Develop a comprehensive peer support framework.

Nonviolent Crisis Response:

    1. Conduct workshops and create accessible guides on non-violent intervention techniques.

Service Model Innovation:

    1. Enhance Inuit leadership and workforce in child and family services.
    2. Establish Inuit advisory boards and targeted hiring programs.

Integrated Service Delivery:

    1. Conduct service coordination meetings.
    2. Develop integrated care pathways.

Navigation Approach:

    1. Recruit and train navigators.
    2. Implement a pilot navigation program with a navigator toolkit.

Training & Workforce Development:

    1. Refresh staff training in client-centered care.
    2. Introduce cultural safety training and psychological health strategies.

This research underscores the importance of collaboration and culturally informed practices in improving care for Inuit families and points towards a strengthened approach that aligns with their needs and aspirations. The Umingmak Centre and its MOU partners are already implementing many of these recommendations and are committed to continuing to listen and work on them. Thank you to all the caregivers and stakeholders who participated in this research.

Caregiver Report – English

Caregiver Report – Inuktitut

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