A Yukon First Nation is hoping to open a new group home where children in care will feel welcome.
Aunty’s House will be a place for youth to break down emotional walls and make themselves at home, said Kwanlin Dun First Nation Chief Doris Bill.
“In the absence of your mother who do you go to for advice? Your aunty right? So it would be a home that would be built on our values and our beliefs from a holistic point of view,” she said.
Of all Whitehorse’s kids in care, 80 per cent are First Nation. And a high percentage are from Kwanlin Dun.
Bill said she wants to change the narrative and give these kids a step up in life.
“It’s very difficult because you just when you begin to trust someone you’re moved so after a while you just don’t trust anybody and build up walls,” she said. “And those walls are really really tough to come down once they’re up.”
Last month, following allegations of physical abuse at group homes and the lack of programming for kids in care, the Yukon government announced an independent review of group homes.
Bill says the time is right for First Nation kids to have a place within their own community to access families, elders and programming.
“I think change is coming but it will take time,” she said.