In 1979, Indian Bands within northern Ontario expressed concerns regarding the high number of Native children in the care of Children’s Aid Societies. In December 1981, Chiefs of Ontario Resolution endorsed: “That the child welfare agencies of Ontario and Manitoba shall not remove our children from our reserves and shall return to their Bands those of our children whom they have removed in the past; and that we the Indian Nations in Ontario shall create our own Indian Child Welfare laws, policies and programs, based on the protection of the family and the preservation of their Indian culture within the Indian family.”
In 1981, 65% of the children in Family and Children’s Services in Thunder Bay were of Native descent. Family and Children’s Services of Thunder Bay and the Chiefs of the First Nations Indian Bands - the District Liaison Council (Dilico) submitted a proposal to the Ministry of Community and Social Services which resulted in Band control of child welfare services to Native children’s, families and communities.
Dilico Ojibway Child and Family Services was incorporated on July 23, 1986. Dilico’s mandate was to develop and implement a child welfare system to strengthen, maintain and support Anishnabek children and families.
By 1994, Dilico’s service delivery structure was decentralized and five District Offices were established in Nipigon, Longlac, Armstrong, Marathon and Fort William First Nation. In 1995, Dilico was designated under the Child and Family Services Acts as a Native Children’s Aid Society for thirteen affiliated First Nations and their membership within the District of Thunder Bay and a portion of the District of Algoma.
In 1996, Dilico became responsible for Children’s Mental Health services. The Health Transfer and the Long Term Care agreements initiated service responsibility for Community and Mandatory Health Nursing, Primary Care and the Community Long-Term Care Services.
In July 2007, Dilico announced a fresh new tagline for the agency. Dilico replaced "Ojibway Child and Family Services" with "Anishinabek Family Care" as the agency descriptor. This new tagline is consistent with the letter of intent of First Nations representatives in 1994 (Kitchi-gaa-ming Anishinabek Ogemaag) and with the development of Dilico’s mandate in 1986.
On November 13, 2012, Dilico Anishinabek Family Care and the Children’s Aid Society of the District of Thunder Bay, together with Chiefs of the First Nations, gathered to endorse a Memorandum of Understanding. The Memorandum of Understanding is intended to document and state once again, the commitment of both Dilico Anishinabek Family Care and the Children’s Aid Society of the District of Thunder Bay to reach the overarching goal of transferring jurisdiction over all Aboriginal children and families in the city and district of Thunder Bay from the Children’s Aid Society of the District of Thunder Bay to Dilico Anishinabek Family Care.
The Memorandum of Understanding recognizes that the jurisdictional responsibilities for all Aboriginal children and families in the city and district of Thunder Bay of the Local Director under the Ministry of Children and Youth Services and in accordance with the Child and Family Services Act are transferred to the Local Director of Dilico Anishinabek Family Care.
Dilico is closely aligned with the Anishinabek system of beliefs, spiritual beliefs, kinship ties, economic ties, community and social relations. Thus ‘Family’ is the best way to describe how Dilico works – a family that cares about each other, a family that supports each other and welcomes individuals – clients, staff, or others – to be part of the Dilico family.