Indigenous Youth, Criminal Justice and Foster Care: A Scoping Review of Proactive, Preventative Initiatives

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Rioux, Samantha
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Mount Saint Vincent University
The present study explores what strategies and approaches are being utilized by Indigenous communities to lower the number of youths who are involved in the foster care and criminal justice system. The methodological approach that was used was a scoping review following the guidelines of Arksey and O’Malley (2005). The process of the scoping review involved developing a research strategy (research parameters) which included search terms, years of publication and databases. The first use of the research strategy involved a search on the academic databases from the Mount Saint Vincent University library, which yielded 0 results from the academic literature. The same research strategy was used for a second attempt, using Google Scholar (first 30 pages of articles) where results were yielded. From the results, the researcher organized and eliminated articles based on the articles “fitting” the research criteria, which in turn would answer the research question. Once completed, there were a total of 8 articles that were deemed relevant or “fitting” the research question, however the unintended result of the review, was not in the articles, themselves, but in what was missing. The scoping review process highlighted the need/gap that exists in academic literature involving Indigenous communities. Activities that happen in Indigenous communities are not translated into published reports or are not the object of academic research for reasons that remain unknown, but could be linked to mistrust, the effects of colonization and a westernized view on how Indigenous communities view the world. The learnings from this process, indicate that there is a gap that exists between academics (what is considered “academic” research processes and what is considered knowledge) and Indigenous ways of knowing and doing. Research that is done in collaboration with Indigenous people must be flexible in methods, but there must be recognition from institutions that Indigenous research methodology is truly research.
Indigenous Youth criminal justice, foster care