ALIGN Well-Being Initiative

Culturally-rooted well-being assessment across the continuum of child and family service agencies

The way we define and understand child and youth well-being matters. In the Indigenous worldview, for example, well-being is a way of being and doing. It is an action intertwined with others, the land, animals, plants, and the cosmos – it is vast. As such, it is not a thing that can be easily summarized, defined, and measured. Well-being is about balance, happiness, joy, and moving forward in a good way learned through responsibility, reciprocity, language, and ceremony. To ensure programs and services are equitable and culturally responsive, it is vital we define and understand child and youth well-being based on the perspectives and values of culturally diverse communities.

The goal for the ALIGN Well-Being Initiative is to support child and family service agencies and organizations to assess well-being and the impact of their work with culturally diverse children, youth, and families. To do that, ALIGN, in collaboration with PolicyWise for Children & Families, developed a principle-based and culturally rooted Framework and a practice-oriented Toolkit that is reflective of diverse ways of being and knowing and grounded in Indigenous perspectives as parallel approaches to validating practice. We designed the Toolkit so agencies can incorporate and adapt components at their own pace, as their capacity allows, and as they become relevant and helpful to their practice.

Listen to Adrian Goulet, Kirby Redwood and Elder Beverly Kesshig-Soonias introduce the purpose of the Well-Being Toolkit.

ALIGN Well-Being Toolkit
The Toolkit includes resources to support child and youth well-being practice and assessment and a Well-Being Impact Portal to collect and share agencies’ individual and collective impact.

Disclaimer: To view the Toolkit on mobile devices, turn your phone horizontally and use the arrows on the lower left corner to change pages.

Click through the slides below to view the Interactive Well-Being Toolkit:

Alberta is the traditional and ancestral territory of many First Nations of Treaty 6, Treaty 7, Treaty 8, and Treaty 10 and the five Territories of the Métis Nation of Alberta. This resource was developed on this land and reflects our understanding through listening, learning, sharing, and walking alongside in respect of Indigenous Nations’ self-determination in creating and validating well-being. We are grateful for the wisdom shared with us and the guidance we received in this work.

We thank Elders Beverly Keeshig-Soonias (Pottawatomi), Phillip Campiou (Woodland Cree), and Kerrie Moore (Métis Cree). We thank Frank Shannon (Haida Nation), Cheryl Whiskeyjack (Anishinaabe), Kirby Redwood (Cree-Saulteaux), Adrian Goulet (Cree and Blackfoot), Sharon Goulet (Red River Métis), and Dr. Ralph Bodor who guided us with story, prayers, and their vast experience as Knowledge Keepers and practitioners. They reminded us of our common intention, helped us think of well-being as a practice, as being about the spirit and gift of each child, and as being about community.

We recognize and acknowledge the invaluable contributions of experience, wisdom, and time to this work of the youth and caregivers with lived experience accessing services, the frontline agency staff, and the ALIGN Advisory Team. We thank the Multicultural Health Brokers Co-op who have passionately contributed how diverse ethnocultural communities create well-being within the larger context of systems, history, and socio-political circumstances.

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ALIGN ASSOCIATION OF COMMUNITY SERVICES

Based out of Edmonton, we are a provincial collection of allies – a unified community of agencies that represents the diverse needs of Alberta’s children and families. We are proud to champion the work of our front line service providers and to support our members. Together, we are stronger.

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