At Peel CAS when we work with families, we aim to provide services that are culturally sensitive and are available in many languages.
At Peel CAS, recognizing and celebrating Black History Month has become a meaningful celebration which demonstrates the agency’s commitment to diversity and inclusion not only within the agency but within the community it serves. This year’s theme is Social Determinants of Health. Meaningful discussions about serving the needs of black families were a part of a successful launch on February 4 that included community partners from United Way, Black Community Action Network Peel and United Achievers.
In addition to BHM events, Peel CAS holds Ally sessions – a series of conversations where front-line staff and managers have an opportunity to discuss diversity, equity and inclusion among peers in order to increase their ability to provide relevant services to Peel’s diverse community.
“Culture and identity are key elements in supporting families and protecting children and youth,” says Rav Bains, Chief Executive Officer, Peel CAS. “Considering identity includes supporting areas of cultural strength and resilience for families, as well as recognizing barriers for black youth and families and helping them to overcome those barriers.”
In 2009, Peel CAS established The Village, a program which serves to meet the needs of black youth involved with Peel CAS. The Village is a place where youth of African and Caribbean descent in the care of, or affiliated with, Peel CAS meet once a month to connect with staff members –mentors – who are sensitive to their needs and identity.
Mentors work hard to build a sense of community through connection and provide positive modeling and mentoring on managing various barriers, including systemic racism. The program offers culturally specific programming and a safe space for youth to learn about anti-oppression, supports cultural gaps by increasing understanding of history and identity for all youth and supports youth involved in the criminal justice system. The Village continues to meet the needs of black youth involved with the agency and has been a model for other ethno-cultural youth programs. On February 25 The Village will be hosting an open house to invite black youth involved with the agency to learn more about the program.