New in Town Aboriginal Welcome Service

Program snapshot

Age group: Young adult (18-24); Adult (25-64)

Gender: Mixed (male and female)

Population served: Aboriginal/Indigenous; Adult offenders; Families; Newcomers, immigrants and/or refugees

Topic: Antisocial/deviant behaviours

Setting: Urban area; Community-based setting; Social services setting

Location: Alberta

Number of completed Canadian outcome evaluation studies: 0

Continuum of intervention: Primary crime prevention; Secondary crime prevention; Tertiary crime prevention

Brief Description

The New in Town Aboriginal Welcome Service (New in Town) addresses the specific challenges that Aboriginal people who are new to Edmonton. Loss of traditional supports; feelings of isolation, disappointment, and frustration; discrimination; poor planning; cultural differences; difficulty identifying and accessing services; and trouble getting housing, employment, education, and child care can make Aboriginal people susceptible to criminal risk factors, including poverty, lack of education and employment, involvement with Child & Family Services, criminal history, violence, and addictions.

The New in Town Aboriginal Welcome Service prevents and reduces Aboriginal newcomers’ involvement in criminal activity and the criminal justice system by collaborating with partners to address the risks affecting newcomers so that they can focus on positive, crime-free lifestyles for themselves and their families.

Services include pre-planning and goal setting, advocacy, referrals, services coordination, city tours, assessments, coaching, and transportation. The average amount of time spent with a client new to Edmonton is three months. The average amount of time spent with a client arriving from Corrections is 15-30 days post release. There are six New in Town employees with high caseloads, and one supervisor.

Goals

The main goal of the New in Town Aboriginal Welcome Service is to:

  • Provide guidance, support, and information to Aboriginal people who are new to Edmonton while connecting them with appropriate services to help mitigate risk and enhance protective factors that reduce involvement in high risk and criminal activities.

Clientele

The clientele for the New in Town Aboriginal Welcome Service are predominantly women, youth, and young families from First Nations communities in Alberta, as well as individuals from correctional centres. Most New in Town clients are young people between the ages of 21-35 years old. Most people come from Alberta (67 per cent), but some have come from across Canada and as far south as California.

Core Components

The average amount of time spent with a client new to Edmonton is three months while the time spent with a client arriving from Corrections is 15-30 days post release. The program components include the following:

  • Needs assessment and settlement plans;
  • Referrals and advocacy;
  • Multiple locations and after hours contact;
  • Links to resources, services, and events;
  • Moving to Edmonton and correctional release pre-planning and goal setting; and
  • Services coordination, city tours, and transportation subsidies.

Implementation Information

Some of the critical elements for the implementation of this program or initiative include the following:

  • Organizational requirements: The lead organization should understand that culture and community are essential to an Aboriginal newcomer settling in Edmonton, know that outcome-based relationships are needed when working in Aboriginal communities, promote positive messaging, and have resources for children in transition.
  • Partnerships: Bent Arrow Traditional Healing Society and Boyle Street Community partnered with Little Cree Books and approximately 20 partner organizations.
  • Training and technical assistance: Limited information on this topic.
  • Risk assessment tools: Limited information on this topic.
  • Materials & resources: Limited information on this topic.

International Endorsements

The most recognized classification systems of evidence-based crime prevention programs have classified this program or initiative as follows:

  • Blueprints for Healthy Youth Development: Not applicable.
  • Crime Solutions/OJJDP Model Program Guide: Not applicable.
  • SAMHSA's National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices: Not applicable.
  • Coalition for Evidence-Based Policy: Not applicable.

Gathering Canadian Knowledge

Canadian Implementation Sites

The New in Town Aboriginal Welcome Service has been implemented in Edmonton (Alberta) from 2011 to 2014. Funding was provided through the Safe Communities Innovation Fund (SCIF), Government of Alberta.

Main Findings from Canadian Outcome Evaluation Studies

No information available.

Cost Information

A social return on investment (SROI) has been conducted on the New in Town Aboriginal Welcome Service. The findings from the study have shown the following:

  • The SROI ratio is 6.06:1, demonstrating that for every one dollar of investment in the program, a social value of $6.06 was created; and
  • Social values are created as it reduces stress on the system by providing a dedicated service, which means that other service providers can focus on their respective mandates and provide services to Aboriginal people new to Edmonton on a referral basis. This coordination of services prevents Aboriginal people new to Edmonton from slipping through the cracks. They are supported for up to a year every step of the way. As a result, partner organizations report that they can focus on their core services instead of providing the extra supports that newcomers often need.

References

Alberta Community Crime Prevention Organizations. (2015). Social Return on Investment (SROI) Case Study: New in Town Aboriginal Welcome Service. Recipient of Safe Communities Innovation Fund, Government of Alberta. Available from: https://open.alberta.ca/publications/safe-communities-innovation-fund-pilot-project-executive-summaries 

For more information on this program, contact:

Bent Arrow Traditional Healing Society
Cheryl Whiskeyjack
Telephone: (780)481-3451
E-mail: cwhiskeyjack@bentarrow.ca


Record Entry Date - 2018-03-01

Date modified: