Therapeutic Foster Care



ohpikîhakan is a program designed to meet the holistic needs such as housing, family connection, spirituality, and cultural connection of youth ages 13 - 17 in the care of Children’s Services.

This program is part of a province-wide initiative called “Therapeutic Foster Care.” ohpikîhakan is trauma-informed and embedded with culturally responsive services and Indigenous worldviews. 

“ohpikîhakan” translates into a child that is being raised in the Cree language. This name was gifted to us by Elder Dr. Leona Makosis to emphasize the importance of the relationship and connection to a child’s culture and family.

How are youth supported?

The focus of ohpikîhakan is to ensure youth have loving and supportive homes with regular contact with their family, culture, and community. 

Youth will be connected with a youth mentor dedicated to their holistic health and wellbeing.

How are caregivers supported?

ohpikîhakan emphasizes the support for caregivers as there is little separation between the caregivers’ “professional” role and personal life as youth are living in the caregivers’ homes.

Caregivers are trained to be the medicine for the youth in their home. They are ambassadors, allies, and advocates for youth wellness and healing. Caregivers will have peer support and professional training, and each home will be connected to a therapeutic supervisor to support the day-to-day safety and wellness for the youth. 

Become a therapeutic caregiver

Interested caregivers must:

  • Be at least 21 years old
  • Be a resident of Alberta
  • Be a Canadian citizen, Landed Immigrant or Permanent Residency Status (3 years). Newcomers must have resided in Canada for at least 5 years
  • Have the physical ability and mental wellness to care for youth ages 13 - 17
  • Have no significant life changes or events in the last 12 months that would impact their ability to provide care
  • Provide 3 positive references
  • Engage with a youth’s family, culture, and community 
  • Complete a SAFE Home Study 
  • Become licensed as a foster home

Contact us

The Family Centre acknowledges that we are on Treaty 6 territory, a traditional meeting ground, gathering place, and traveling route for the Cree, Saulteaux, Blackfoot, Métis, Dene, and Nakota Sioux. We acknowledge all the many First Nations, Métis, and Inuit whose footsteps have marked these lands for centuries.

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