Family Decision Making

The Family Decision Making (FDM) circle is a process where extended families gather to plan for their children. Coming together to problem solve in this manner has been happening in the Okanagan since long before contact. The FDM circles have been highly successful in keeping our families unified and strong. Based on our values of collective responsibility, our model treats the wider family network of kin and community as a source of strength and seeks to actively involve them in decision making. As a collective perspective gives rise to a collective responsibility, this is our Indigenous way of caring for and supporting our families. Through this process we ensure connection to ancestral lands, culture and language for our children.

FDM Information Sheet

FDM Pamphlet

What is Family Decision Making (FDM)?

  • A voluntary process that recognizes family strengths and respects the child’s Aboriginal culture and connections with their community.
  • The FDM Coordinator is independent of the Band, Friendship Centre and Ministry of Children and Family Development. The Coordinator works with participants to ensure balancing of the circle so that people can come together in a good way. The Coordinator will inform the family of the FDM process, legal processes and other options available to them.
  • The role of the family in the FDM circle is to actively participate and plan for their children’s safety, wellness, permanency, culture and any other areas decided by the family to be appropriate and important.
  • In situations where there is MCFD involvement, the MCFD’s social workers role is to agree to, as well as support and resource family plans wherever possible.

What are the strengths of FDM?

FDM helps to promote and develop the capacity of Aboriginal families and communities to care for and protect children. FDM often helps to avoid the need for court involvement, ensuring that families have access to resources and services that can help, and build stronger relationship together. FDM respects and understands Indigenous ways of being and knowing.

How do I get a referral?

There are many ways to be referred to FDM services. We receive self-referrals from families and parents needing additional support, referrals from Band staff, Friendship Centres, MCFD, counselors, schools, and any community service providers working with Aboriginal persons living in the Okanagan territory.

For referrals, please contact:

Family Decision Making Lead

P: 250-878-4085



“A huge joy for the FDM team is seeing the progress and strengths of families throughout their wellness journey and facilitating a space to celebrate them. We had the pleasure of working with a family whose child was at first in-care with a non-kin placement when the referral was received. After 3 circles with them, that focused on healing and reconnection, the Mother has her child back at home with her and gave birth to a second beautiful child. They also reconnected with family from out of province and their family plan supported the family to attend a Sundance Ceremony there. The Grandma said she was so inspired by her daughter’s progress and journey to sobriety that it inspired her to go to treatment and is now celebrating her sobriety and living close by to help support. The final circle ceremony was full of smiles, laughter and happy tears as we all celebrated the families successes and future.”

-FDM Coordinator