[S.I.S.I.S. note: The following mainstream news article may contain biased or distorted information and may be missing pertinent facts and/or context. It is provided for reference only.]
All types of government words exist to describe April Bennett's work. The native cultural social worker prefers to talk in simpler terms. "I believe that what we try to provide is hope," says Bennett. "It's looking at aboriginal children in care and being able to provide a familiarity for them. There's a lot of healing that's needed. Bennett was one of about 50 people who attended an open house Friday to celebrate a new location for the Vancouver Aboriginal Child and Family Services Society. The new offices on West Broadway represent eight years of hard work for the society - and a new way of looking after aboriginal affairs in BC.
"It's the start of a whole new era," Lois Boone, children and families minister told the crowd. "This is the first step in giving you back your rights." VACFSS is working to take the responsibility for looking after BC's native children away from government and putting it back in the hands of aboriginals. Thirty-five per cent of children in care are aboriginal, although natives make up only eight per cent of kids. The agency works to reverse that trend by providing support for aboriginal families and children in the Vancouver area. Workers also provide a cultural background to put foster children back in touch with aboriginal roots and history.
"We're not any different from anyone else. Our goals and aspirations and dreams are the same," said John Jardine, executive director of the society. "I'm hoping that in the next generation, this agency will be self-supporting."
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