Reconciliation in Child Welfare

The Touchstones of Hope movement for reconciliation in child welfare is about promoting and entrenching the Touchstones of Hope principles and process in grassroots control, preparing community-based facilitators to work with communities and organizations, and developing culturally-driven vision plans and next steps which are meant to inform child welfare practice and policies specific to regions and Nations.


Success of the movement relies on giving space for both Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples to participate in reconciliation:

  • Truth Telling: Telling the story of child welfare as it has affected Indigenous children, youth, and families.
  • Acknowledging: Affirming and learning from the past and recognizing the need to move forward on a new path.
  • Restoring: Making changes and doing what we can to redress the harm to ensure it does not happen again.
  • Relating: Working respectfully together to create, implement, and monitor progress of our vision plans and next steps.


The reconciliation process is guided by five Touchstones of Hope principles that are defined and brought to life by those involved in the movement so that they reflect the unique context of Indigenous Nations and communities and serve as the foundation of the movement:

  • Self-Determination: Indigenous peoples are in the best position to make decisions that affect their communities and lead the development of laws, policies, research and practice.
  • Culture and Language: Indigenous cultures are ingrained in all theory, research, policy and practice that affect their communities.
  • Holistic Approach: Approaches to working with Indigenous communities recognize and reflect the distinct realities of the whole community including culture (traditions, spirituality and social customs), language, environment and socioeconomic factors.
  • Structural Interventions: We stand up to injustices to protect the rights of all Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples, including children and youth.
  • Non Discrimination: Indigenous peoples are entitled to equal access to resources and services that are responsive to their needs and the unique cultural context of their experiences


To learn more about the Touchstones of Hope, read Reconciliation in Child Welfare: Touchstones of Hope for Indigenous Children, Youth and Families or review the resources below. 


Questions about the Touchstones of Hope? Please contact us!



Touchstones Dialogue Series


The Touchstones of Hope dialogue series has concluded. A partnership between the Caring Society and NICWA , this seven part dialogue series invited Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples from Canada and the United States to actively engage in learning about the Touchstones of Hope and topics related to each of the five principles: self-determination, holistic approach, culture and language, structural interventions and non-discrimination.  

Videos of these sessions are available below. 


About: Partnership   

NICWA works to support the safety, health, and spiritual strength of American Indian and Alaska Native children along the broad continuum of their lives. NICWA supports tribes in building the capacity to prevent child abuse and neglect through positive systems change at the state, federal, and tribal levels. We are the most comprehensive source of information on American Indian and Alaska Native child welfare. 

The Caring Society is a national non-profit organization ensuring that First Nations children and their families have culturally based, and equitable opportunities to grow up safely at home and in their communities, be healthy, get a good education and be proud of who they are and where they come from. 


View the Recorded Dialogues 

#1: Introduction to Touchstones

#2: Non-Discrimination

#3: Self Determination (Pt. 1)

#4: Self-Determination (Pt.2) Note: Only half of this webinar was recorded. Our apologies!

#5: Holistic Approach

#6: Culture and Language

#7: Structural Interventions