Akoma Family Centre provides safe, nurturing place for siblings in foster care

Wednesday, July 6, 2011 - 10:29pm

The United Nations has designated 2011 as the International Year for People of African Descent. Throughout the year, Capital Health This Week is featuring stories that demonstrate how people of African descent in our district are addressing community health issues.

The Nova Scotia Home for Colored Children has established a new residential program that allows brothers and sisters placed in foster care to stay together. The Akoma Family Centre provides a safe and nurturing place for siblings while they await long-term placement.

The placement of vulnerable children away from their families can be a traumatic experience; made all the more traumatic if they are also separated from their siblings. Now when siblings are taken into care, the Department of Community Services can place them together at the Akoma Family Centre while they make plans for a long-term placement. 

The staff team works to ensure a safe environment for children from infancy to 19 years of age.  Staff recognize that the children admitted into the centre may have experienced chronic stress, inconsistent care and in some cases, multiple traumatic events. Staff at the Akoma Family Centre use developmentally appropriate trauma sensitive interventions that help them meet the individual needs of children.

The mandate of the Akoma family Centre goes back to its roots as an orphanage for African Nova Scotian children and their siblings. 

The future direction of the Akoma Family Centre is to provide culturally specific services to children in care, as well as outreach services to vulnerable families in the African Nova Scotian community. The Centre will partner with other community-based African Nova Scotian service providers to develop services and programs that enhance the African Nova Scotia's and the general community. 

The new direction is aligned with the African Nova Scotian community’s values of keeping families together.

The word Akoma represents the ‘heart’ in the Ghana culture and denotes love, patience, compassion, endurance and charity.