The Kujali Black Family Support Line officially began in March 2021. The line is offered to individuals and families seeking support in addressing challenges in their families and within the system. The Line offers: 1. Supportive Counselling, 2. Peer to Peer Mentoring, 3. Resource Navigation. The line staff offer a culturally-informed approach that focuses on building trust and a therapeutic relationship, a thorough assessment of the family’s strengths and needs, and a comprehensive service plan that indicates clear action steps and objectives.
The line is open Monday to Friday from 10 am to 6pm. The line staff are trained therapists from social work and psychological counselling field, who have experience in family mediation, counselling and navigation. They participate in a module course training, attend weekly supervision meetings, and attend specific training in mental health, culturally-informed approaches. The line staff is supervised by a Clinical Director.
Main Objectives of the Line
Kujali means caring. This unique program is first of its kind in Durham Region and focuses on providing a brave and courage space for Black people.Nicole Perryman
The Kujali Line is hope to create available, brave and safe space for parents, guardians, and caregivers. Often times, our intergenerational experiences and cultural norms has reinforced stigma about seeking support from public spaces. The counsellors through the Kujali Line hope to demystifying achieving support, and take the time to support clients to feel listened and heard.
Through the line, participants are accepted and encouraged to explore their needs and their strengths. They are encouraged to discuss their interaction with systems, such as legal, housing, and financial systems and process experiences of anti-Black racism. The counsellors ensure to provide space, where clients do not feel policed or surveilled, and they are able to share as much as they need to. A key connection between clients and counsellors is cultural knowledge and sharing of ancestral wisdom that enhances trust and relationship.
The Kujali Line counsellors really seek to support clients embark on their healing journey, and encouraging planning for a hopeful future.
Supportive one to one counselling and family support.
Peer to Peer Mentorship and Guidance
Resources navigation and advocacy within the systems
A Glance at Our First Six Months
In its first year of operation, Kujenga Wellness Project worked with its partners and student interns to develop a comprehensive listing of community resources. These resources and partnerships have helped the counsellors to navigate and support clients with their needs. When a new individual contacts the line, they are encouraged to participate in detailed assessment that helps to determine: what are the challenges they are experiences and what supports would be helpful for them. This helps to build therapeutic relationships, trust and connection. In the first six months of the Line, many clients identified the following issues they were presented with:
Employment and income supports, including resources for financial relief
Addiction counselling for individuals and families
Housing- Suitable, safe, and affordable housing
Parenting, co-parenting and mediation support and courses
Counselling and mental health support
Food and Access to cultural foods
Immigration and Refugee Services
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Knowing where to start?
Many people identified that they did not know how to access the resources available within the community.
Many people have encountered waitlists with community services, such as long subsidized housing lists.
Many people do not have the financial resources to cover their needs and advocate for themselves and their families.
A key outcome for the line is to provide individuals with the support they need. Supporting clients in areas of their life, and observing their progression has helped to enhance their life experiences.
Counsellors meet on a regular basis as a team and attend supervision meetings that helped to enhance and build their connection as a team, but also support each other with their client load.
The counsellors have a master directory of resources they access to support clients who contact the line. Since March, our counsellors have supported with “soft transfers” with agencies to ensure they are connected with the right person, and they can access immediate support and guidance.
96 % of clients referred are Black, Black-Caribbean or Black-African
Main referrers are social media, website, and another agency
48 children from 31 families
93% identified as females, 100% heterosexual
50 % employed, and 50 % unemployed and/or a student
7 collateral calls from probation, children’s aid, family services, and victim services
Most families resided in Durham Region, such as Oshawa, Whitby, Pickering and Ajax. Other families from Scarborough, Toronto, and York Region
Clients feel connected to their community.
Clients are able to access community resources to inspire change.
Clients feel heard, validated, and listened to.
Clients have tools to advocate for themselves and navigate the systems
Process of Change
Our families are strengthened through healthy parenting, reduction in conflict, strong attachment connections, greater ease in navigating difficulties and barriers, and improved socio-emotional wellbeing.
Our families reside in safe and healthy communities where they feel connected, they contribute to the safety of the community, and their families are thriving.
Our families are addressing their mental health and addictions, they feel they can manage their mental health, they have access to strategies to address issues they may encounter, and they have access to resources that can continue to provide healthy support.
The Kujali Line is a pilot program funded through the Ontario Trillium Foundation. In the next few months, the Kujali line will start to develop an answering service to assist in providing direct call response during 10 am to 6pm every day. Additional support is required to house two full time staff team who can work directly with 20 to 30 active families.
In 2023, the Kujali Line is planned to become a permanent program offered through Kujenga fully staffed with a Full Time Navigation Resource Worker, two Full Time Family Outreach worker, and a comprehensive therapeutic support team.
A key part of the line is developing a mentorship program for our parents. guardians and caregivers who require additional guidance and support. Once the pandemic has reduced its concern, we hope to support and train 20 and more mentors to support families.
Share your feedback
Your feedback helps to shape our development of the Kujali Line, and helps to demonstrate the effectiveness of the line. We value and appreciate your thoughts and feelings throughout the survey. Our pre-survey [new clients] and post-survey [ending survey] are provided for your feedback.