The provincial government has announced its first-ever Social Impact Bond in partnership with the Southern First Nations Network of Care (SFNNC).
Manitoba families minister Heather Stefanson announced Monday that the two-year pilot project, called Restoring the Sacred Bond, is intended to match doulas with Indigenous mothers who are at risk of having an infant apprehended into the child welfare system.
The project is expected to support up to 200 at-risk pregnant women.
SFNNC and the doula service provider, Wiijii’idiwag Ikwewag, will identify expectant mothers who may not have the necessary resources to parent.
“We want to help strengthen the bond between mothers and children to reduce the number of infants apprehended into the child welfare system,” said Stefanson.
“Social impact bonds are an innovative way for government to work together with the private sector and community groups to find new solutions to pressing social challenges.
“Our landmark social impact bond in child welfare encourages a multi-sector relationship to meet a common goal of preventing the apprehension of infants and reducing the amount of time children spend in care.”
Social impact bonds, or SIBs, rely on funding from private investors, who will be repaid by the province if the project meets its targeted outcomes. The province has budgeted up to $3 million for repayment if the goals are met.
The program’s success will be measured on a reduction in the number of days children in the program are in care compared to children outside the program.
“The Indigenous doulas will support those mothers through pregnancy, birth and the first months of their children’s lives,” said Tara Petti, SNNFC’s CEO.
“The program will seek to reduce the number of infants apprehended in the days and months after birth – an event far too common in Manitoba today.”
Image: Minister Heather Stefanson speaks at an event in 2018. Credit: Randall Paull / Global News