The Restoring the Sacred Bond Initiative was established in 2017 based on the success of the Manitoba Indigenous Doula Initiative delivered by Wiijii’idiwag Ikwewag.
Restoring the Sacred Bond is a two-year pilot project that will match Indigenous Birth Helpers with Indigenous mothers who are at risk of having their infant apprehended into the child welfare system.
The program will support up to 200 at-risk expectant mothers.
The Southern Network is leading the Initiative and working with the Birth Helper service provider, Wiijii’idiwag Ikwewag, to identify expectant mothers who may not have resources to effectively parent their baby. These mothers will then be connected to Birth Helpers, who are women trained to help with childbirth and early care.
The program will identify and take referrals of expectant mothers from the First Nations CFS Agencies across southern Manitoba and connect them with a Birth Helper to provide support before, during and after the birth of her child for up to one year.
Part of the process will include helping the mother to reconnect with her traditional cultural practices and strengthen her support network.
The Restoring the Sacred Bond Initiative is being funded through a Social Impact Bond (SIB), a financial arrangement through private investment.
Program success will be measured on reduced days in care of children in the program compared to children outside the program.