Phase One: Reports Progress In-Progress*

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1 Office of the Child and Youth Advocate: Annual Reports (Fiscal years 2010/2011, 2011/2012, and 2012/2013) Office of the Child and Youth Advocate: Special Reports Child Intervention Review Expert Panel Review Fatality Inquiries Council for Quality Assurance 13) Connection to Family and Community Report Name 2011/ /2013 The ministry should set a measurable standard and targeted compliance level to ensure key decisions are made with family and community relationships in mind particularly when young people come into care or when their placement changes. The efforts put toward meeting this standard should be documented and audited. The standard should focus on: Maintaining relationships with family and community. Address relationship disruptions and challenges, and identify solutions to resolve or mitigate the Involvement of children and families in decision making Program development/ delivery Quality Assurance Enhance education, training and support for child intervention workers. Accepted A key factor in improving outcomes for children is to listen to and consider the voices of the people we serve when looking for the best ways to meet their needs. Relationships between caseworkers and children, caregivers, and communities, the ministry and the Advocate are key to making fundamental differences in the lives of children, youth and families. All Albertans have an important role to play in supporting children and families in their communities. The Child Intervention system needs strong partnerships with groups that can help families address serious challenges, such as family violence, addictions, poverty, health and In Progress 1 *1 in development, 2 response developed and operationalization starting, 3 Outputs of the implemented recommendation being, 4 Outcomes and impacts of the implemented recommendation being 1/2 The ministry has taken action to increase efforts to work with Delegated First Nation Agencies (DFNAs), First Nation Band Designates and Métis communities in order to increase the number of children connected to their communities and extended family. Ministry investments in 31 Band Designate functions and activities support First Nation communities to participate in family searches, decision making and planning for their member children who are involved in the child intervention system. The ministry has undertaken numerous activities to improve outcomes for children and youth of all ethnicities: Reviewing practice during our initial involvement with families to emphasize the need to engage with family and extended family. Adopting relationship-based practice tools (e.g. Signs of Safety) that better support families as central to planning and decision-making. Continuing to promote kinship care as the placement

2 13) Connection to Family and Community Report Name related negative impacts. Mitigation strategies. When a young person is separated from current relationships and connections, the Ministry should work to maintain these relationships in a meaningful way. It is essential that caseworkers are supported to increase both initial and long-term activities to find family members and foster family and other supportive relationships that maintain meaningful connections for young people. This includes involving extended family, as soon as possible, in the decision-making process when bringing a young person into care, or when changing placement. These efforts should continue throughout a young person s mental health, among others. There are a number of broader systemic approaches to improving and enhancing the Child Intervention system to support children to maintain their connections with family and community. For example, initiatives such as Success in School for Children and Youth in Care help ensure that, as much as possible, children in care stay connected to their school and community. Many successes in Outcomes-Based Service Delivery are based on relationship building and having as much information possible to understand a family s needs and build on their strengths. of choice. Some of the regional service delivery areas have created kinship search positions to assist in finding extended family or community members able to provide care to children who come into care. Completing a program review to explore the spectrum of collaborative decision-making and use of alternative dispute resolution throughout the province. Recommendations regarding best practice and focus on outcomes will be included which could inform the review of CYFEA. The Calgary service delivery area has fostered a strong, on-going working relationship with the Muslim Council of Calgary (MCC). The MCC assists to: Identify Muslim community supports to assist keeping children out of care and Muslim members to care for kids through foster or kinship care. Educate and work with the Muslim community to take shared responsibility for children and youth in their community. Engaging staff and our service delivery partners in developing a Child Intervention Practice Framework. The Framework is about collaborating with families, 2 *1 in development, 2 response developed and operationalization starting, 3 Outputs of the implemented recommendation being, 4 Outcomes and impacts of the implemented recommendation being

3 13) Connection to Family and Community Report Name involvement with the Ministry. This is especially important for young people to support them to develop and maintain cultural and traditional ties to their families and communities of origin. Maintaining these connections can be a source of strength for young people on a long-term basis. community agencies and other stakeholders in building positive, respectful partnerships across integrated multidisciplinary teams and providing individualized, flexible and timely services. Alberta Vulnerable Infant Response Team (AVIRT) is a collaborative response to assessing at-risk infants who are under four months old. Alberta Health Services, the Metro Police Services, and the Edmonton and Calgary Regional Service Delivery areas are working together on this initiative. Results show that families served by AVIRT teams were connected to twice as many community resources, especially health-related programs, professionals and agency support. The OBSD Lead Agencies are currently testing a pre and post survey tool for parents involved in child intervention to self-report on parental capacity. The Children First Act supports enhanced relationships between caseworkers and family by placing team-based decision making with the people who work most closely with the child and family. 3 *1 in development, 2 response developed and operationalization starting, 3 Outputs of the implemented recommendation being, 4 Outcomes and impacts of the implemented recommendation being

4 14) Neglect Report Name 2011/ /2013 Recommendations Theme 1 Theme 2 5 Point Plan Acceptance Ministry Response Progress Action Addressing issues related to neglect can reduce the number of young people coming into care, and increase support to those responsible for ensuring effective intervention. The Ministry should engage stakeholders to identify issues, as well as opportunities to directly address neglect in a manner consistent with best practices in the field. The Ministry should develop and implement a plan to respond specifically to issues of neglect for children and families. The plan should: provide a clear working definition of neglect include an assessment/risk tool specific to neglect issues identify a range of interventions based on best Systemic Program development/ delivery Addressing the root causes of needs for CI Consistently share information with the public for continuous improvement. Focus on the root causes of the issues affecting the safety and well-being of children. Enhance education, training and support for child intervention workers. Accepted Only 15 % of cases involve allegations of severe physical or sexual abuse and injury. We need to evaluate whether there is severe and imminent risk to a child or a chronic need for support this is critical for decision making and service provision. In cases of neglect, we will be focusing on strategies that address family support in the early stages of our involvement with them. This is an opportunity to involve our internal and external partners. In Progress 4 *1 in development, 2 response developed and operationalization starting, 3 Outputs of the implemented recommendation being, 4 Outcomes and impacts of the implemented recommendation being 1 The ministry engaged in a Canadian jurisdictional scan of policies relating to neglect. We found that most jurisdictions do not have policies or strategies targeted specifically at neglect, but focus on using assessment tools and decision making models (e.g. Structured Decision Making Model). The ministry is focusing on assessment and intervention strategies that address family support in the very early stages of involvement: Multiple service delivery partners have adopted strengths-based approaches to practice (e.g. Signs of Safety), which work well to support families to address conditions related to neglect before they become severe. In some areas of the province, child intervention and contracted agency staff have been trained in and adopted the Positive Parenting Program (Triple P). These types of programs are found to decrease the incidence of child abuse and neglect.

5 14) Neglect (Continued) Report Name Recommendations Theme 1 Theme 2 5 Point Plan Acceptance Ministry Response Progress Action practices to address neglect ensure resources are focused and available to address neglect for young people and their families and include mandatory training initiatives to address neglect for caseworkers, supervisors and others responsible for delivering intervention services. Addressing the issue of neglect starts with having strong and healthy communities that support families in their ability to care for their children and address concerns before the need for child intervention. Families, communities, government ministries and service delivery partners need to work together to help prevent and address circumstances within families that can lead to neglect, such as poverty, mental health concerns and addictions. As poverty has a significant impact on the incidence of neglect, the ministry is leading the development of a five-year plan to eliminate child poverty and a 10-year plan to reduce overall poverty in Alberta. Government recently announced the investment of funding for training and skills development for home visitation practitioners in the Home Visitation program, which is a voluntary program for at-risk families who have children age six or younger. The training will help practitioners better screen for family violence and detect root causes affecting the safety and well-being of children. 5 *1 in development, 2 response developed and operationalization starting, 3 Outputs of the implemented recommendation being, 4 Outcomes and impacts of the implemented recommendation being

6 16) Young Children in Staffed Facilities Report Name 2012/20 13 It is time to move away from placing young children in staffed facilities. Children have a right to grow up in family environments and greater attempts need to be made to make this happen for children who are receiving designated services. Accordingly, the Advocate recommends that the Ministry of : Increase the percentage of younger children who are in appropriate family-based placements. Unless there is a significant decrease in the number of younger children in care, increase the number of appropriate family-based placements. Reduce the length of time that Systemic Program development/ delivery Awareness/ accessing appropriate program supports Enhance education, training and support for child intervention workers. Accepted Staffed facilities fall under a broad spectrum of child and youth facilities ranging from traditional group homes and residential treatment facilities to short-term crisis nurseries and specialized medical placements. It is important to acknowledge that for children whose behavioural, mental health or medical needs are extreme, there will continue to be a need for select placements in staffed facilities. The reality is that family-based placements are not always able to meet the specific needs of children under 10. Plans for children aged 10 and under who are placed in staffed facilities should be specific to their needs, closely and focused on the best interests of the In Progress 6 *1 in development, 2 response developed and operationalization starting, 3 Outputs of the implemented recommendation being, 4 Outcomes and impacts of the implemented recommendation being 2 Front line delivery staff have started creating opportunities to utilize traditional placement resources in non-traditional ways in order to better meet the needs of children and families. For example, several innovative practices are currently emerging around reunification homes or staff supported parental care. These are placements where a child s parent or guardian either lives in the placement or has a significant role in the day-to-day parenting of the child. Staff provide support and mentorship for parents to assist with successfully reintegrating the child back to the family environment. Significant progress has been made in reducing the number of children 10 and under in staffed facilities. Provincially, there was a 28% decrease in the number of children aged 0-10 in group care facilities between March and September 2013.

7 children aged 10 and younger are placed in staffed facilities for all children for whom there is no child specific need for this type of placement. 7 *1 in development, 2 response developed and operationalization starting, 3 Outputs of the implemented recommendation being, 4 Outcomes and impacts of the implemented recommendation being children. The plan may be focused on reintegration with the family or on locating the best placement option for a child. Regional service delivery partners have indicated that planning should be aggressive in terms of locating a family-based option wherever possible and that the level of monitoring of the plans and the placements needs to be elevated at the regional level. As noted above, we believe that planning should be targeted and aggressive, and the amount of time that a younger child spends in a staffed facility instead of a familybased placement should be minimized. This is especially true where a child s behavioural, mental health or medical needs are not necessarily the primary reason for their placement in a staffed facility that is not a staffed reunification home. The ministry commits to: Continued recruitment of

8 foster parents and kinship care providers, and provision of specialized training on a caseby-case basis. Continued deliberate conversations and increased monitoring in regional service delivery areas. Revisiting the coding definitions in ISIS to better reflect the reality of the variety of placement types. Discussing the issue a minimum of twice per year at PET, along with the regular sharing of numbers and successful strategies for working with this specific group of children. OCYA 2012/13 Special Report: Youth Aging Out of Care 1. Ensure young people leaving care have affordable, safe, and stable housing options and the financial resources to support themselves independently. Systemic Cross-ministry Collaboration and Support for Youth and Transitioning to Enhance education, training and support for child Accepted The Ministry recognizes that the need for affordable, safe, and stable housing is a basic need. The reality is that housing options for many of Alberta s vulnerable populations are limited due to Alberta s In Progress 8 *1 in development, 2 response developed and operationalization starting, 3 Outputs of the implemented recommendation being, 4 Outcomes and impacts of the implemented recommendation being 1/2 Effective December 1, 2013, Calgary and Area service delivery has increased living rates for youth receiving Support and Financial Assistance. As of January 1, 2014, they began offering all youth turning 18 years old a Support and Financial Assistance Agreement

9 OCYA 2012/13 Special Report: Youth Aging Out of Care - Revise policy and practice to provide the support required by young people. Partnerships Adulthood intervention workers. increasing population and the economy s impact on vacancies. This is a global issue that needs to be addressed in Alberta among various levels of government. The ministry will continue to work towards identifying housing options across the province and will raise awareness about the affordable, safe, and stable housing resources that are available. The ministry has partnered with many agencies across the province to provide wraparound services in many forms of living arrangements. This type of service delivery has been used successfully, ensuring that youth have a support team to assist them in gaining and maintaining appropriate residency and developing skills for independence. The Government of Alberta is in the process of developing a Plan to End Youth Homelessness. The proposed plan will: establish a shared vision, provincial priorities and policy directions amongst (this is already in place in Edmonton and Area service delivery area). The Ministry has initiated a Youth Reunification Project that identifies how youth, parents/guardians, caseworkers, placement providers (foster or kinship caregivers, group home staff) and other ministry staff can work together to support a youth s return to family. The Plan to End Youth Homelessness addresses the recommendation through the following strategies: Ensure no one leaves a system of care (child protection, corrections, mental health care) without housing options and support. Work with community organizations to develop specific strategies to move youth quickly out of homelessness and into permanent/supportive housing. Support community organizations to expand the range of housing supports provided to youth between the ages of 13 and 24. Analysis is being conducted to evaluate the outcomes 9 *1 in development, 2 response developed and operationalization starting, 3 Outputs of the implemented recommendation being, 4 Outcomes and impacts of the implemented recommendation being

10 OCYA 2012/13 Special Report: Youth Aging Out of Care all ministries; facilitate collaboration among individuals, families and communities to prevent youth homelessness through education and awareness; support the provision of coordinated and integrated supports and services at the community level; provide the legislative and policy framework to address youth homelessness; support opportunities to share knowledge between policy makers, academics and service providers; and support promising practices and innovative research and programming. Current policy allows for flexibility for caseworkers to offer a range of options for living arrangements to support youth in transition in a manner that fits with their specific situation and in the communities in which they wish to reside and which are of new approaches to helping youth. The learnings will be used to inform broader implementation of these approaches. 10 *1 in development, 2 response developed and operationalization starting, 3 Outputs of the implemented recommendation being, 4 Outcomes and impacts of the implemented recommendation being

11 OCYA 2012/13 Special Report: Youth Aging Out of Care best able to meet their needs. These options can include, but are not limited to: independent living, room and board with former foster parents and support in reunification with biological family. Rates for room and board/rent are based on community standards rather than being provincially established, in order to ensure that cost does not become the barrier to the right living arrangement. As identified in the report, one region has committed to enter into Support and Financial Assistance (SFA) agreements with all youth who indicate they want support transitioning out of care. This is a conscious move away from a compliance-based casework relationship to a principled one that recognizes the challenges all youth face when entering adulthood and our responsibility as a parent to ensure youth have the safety net of a continued relationship should they choose. Actions: 1. We will collect data and evaluate the 11 *1 in development, 2 response developed and operationalization starting, 3 Outputs of the implemented recommendation being, 4 Outcomes and impacts of the implemented recommendation being

12 OCYA 2012/13 Special Report: Youth Aging Out of Care outcomes of the new approach to offering SFAs to all youth who are exiting care. The learnings will be used to inform possible broader implementation of this approach. 2. The ministry will work to prevent youth in care or formerly in care from becoming homeless, ensure youth receive the appropriate supports before they become entrenched in homelessness and support youth using a wrap-around client centered approach. 3. We will work with stakeholders and partners to ensure youth benefit from the broadest interpretation of services and supports that may be available to them. This includes supports under the Child, Youth and Family Enhancement Act as well as through other Government of Alberta programs. 4. We will work to develop tools to assist with natural family approaches. This would include where a foster family is prepared to continue to support a youth in their home after the youth turns 18, particularly while he or she is still in school. 12 *1 in development, 2 response developed and operationalization starting, 3 Outputs of the implemented recommendation being, 4 Outcomes and impacts of the implemented recommendation being

13 OCYA 2012/13 Special Report: Youth Aging Out of Care This would allow the young person to be supported through the transition to independence in the same way a natural family would ordinarily provide support to their child. OCYA 2012/13 Special Report: Youth Aging Out of Care 2. Dedicates and trains caseworkers Internal to meet the unique needs of young people leaving care. Program - Identify caseworkers to serve this Development/ population, including dedicated time Delivery available for young people to access them. - Provide training to staff on the needs of this population and how to engage them. Support for Youth and Transitioning to Adulthood Enhance education, training and support for child intervention workers. Accepted offers a variety of In Progress training to equip caseworkers to serve children and youth in need, including 1/2 extensive delegation training for caseworkers. The ministry recognizes there are unique and complex challenges for many youth in care who are preparing to transition to adulthood that requires a certain type of support. Where the populations of youth in care and youth transitioning out of care are higher, regions have developed specialized units such as the High Risk Youth Unit and High Fidelity Wrap Around services. Caseworkers in these Ongoing collaboration and dissemination of information through the Provincial Enhancement Table, Child and Family Services Division (CFSD) Leadership table and the DFNA Directors. The ministry will complete a comprehensive review of staff training (including delegation training) which commenced in January The review will include an examination of the material, training and tools available to assist staff to meet the unique needs of youth. The ministry has provided funding to the Child and Youth Care Association of Alberta to create online training for their members (staff who work in group care facilities). The Plan to End Youth Homelessness addresses the 13 *1 in development, 2 response developed and operationalization starting, 3 Outputs of the implemented recommendation being, 4 Outcomes and impacts of the implemented recommendation being

14 OCYA 2012/13 Special Report: Youth Aging Out of Care types of units gain a great deal of experience and are trained specifically to serve this population. This level of specialization is not always possible in rural regions where the youth caseloads are not large. Capacity building does not happen only through training; it also occurs through connecting with other professionals and continuing to be aware of and learning about emerging themes and practices. The ministry recognizes we need to do a better job of sharing the intent and outcomes of new service delivery approaches. We will develop a coordinated process for sharing information and resources. We also recognize the significance of youth workers and support workers in our partnering agencies who are valued members of the youth s skilled service teams. We know their expertise and dedication to meeting the unique needs of each youth increases positive outcomes. recommendation through the following strategy: Develop strategies and responses that reflect the unique needs of Aboriginal, Metis, Immigrant and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered and Questioning community. 14 *1 in development, 2 response developed and operationalization starting, 3 Outputs of the implemented recommendation being, 4 Outcomes and impacts of the implemented recommendation being

15 OCYA 2012/13 Special Report: Youth Aging Out of Care Actions: 1. We will work with our regional service delivery partners to share in training and information sessions related to youth transitioning to adulthood. 2. We will continue to be responsive to changing trends for youth through the innovative work in relationship building we are seeing with programs like High Risk Youth Units and High Fidelity Wrap Around services being offered in areas with a high density of youth. 3. We will develop a central repository for information and resources and a community of practice for worksites and caseworkers across the province who are working with youth in both rural and urban centres to share their expertise and learn from one another. 15 *1 in development, 2 response developed and operationalization starting, 3 Outputs of the implemented recommendation being, 4 Outcomes and impacts of the implemented recommendation being

16 OCYA 2012/13 Special Report: Youth Aging Out of Care 3. Increase awareness of caseworkers, Internal caregivers, and service providers about resources for young people leaving care Program and support young people to access Development/ them. Delivery - Create greater awareness among caseworkers, caregivers, and agency staff about resources and programs that support transitioning to independence. - Build processes for a seamless transition from 'in care' to adult services that are appropriate to their needs. Awareness/ accessing appropriate program supports Enhance education, training and support for child intervention workers. Accepted Many innovative and systemic changes have been implemented to support the successful transition of youth receiving services to adulthood. A few of these include: Advancing Futures Bursary program, which provides essential support related to funding for post-secondary education of youth who are leaving or who have left care. High Risk Youth Units and caseworkers who specialize in working with hard to serve youth and youth transitioning to adulthood. Wrap-around service delivery approaches that include ministry staff, community agency staff and youth working together to support a seamless transition to adult services. Supported Independent Living programs accessed by youth to assist in the development of living skills, In Progress 16 *1 in development, 2 response developed and operationalization starting, 3 Outputs of the implemented recommendation being, 4 Outcomes and impacts of the implemented recommendation being 2 As committed in the actions detailed in the response, a comprehensive review of staff training is underway. The Youth Transitions project (partnership with AFPA and AASCF) will be completed in summer Child intervention staff are adopting the FSCD program s integrated approach to transition planning for youth in care. The Plan to End Youth Homelessness addresses the recommendation through the following strategy: Enhance outreach services delivered by community organizations to ensure young people can be targeted early.

17 OCYA 2012/13 Special Report: Youth Aging Out of Care including daily living, budgeting, housing searches, among others. The Family Support for Children with Disabilities (FSCD) program has developed a specific integrated approach to transition planning to coordinate access to the programs and services supporting youth with disabilities to reach their full potential. The Ministry of Human Services now includes Persons with Developmental Disabilities (PDD) and Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped (AISH) allowing for increased opportunities to develop smoother and more effective transition processes for youth who will be accessing these programs and supports. A Youth Transitions project, in partnership with the Alberta Foster Parent Association (AFPA) and the Alberta Association of Services for Children and Families (AASCF), to 17 *1 in development, 2 response developed and operationalization starting, 3 Outputs of the implemented recommendation being, 4 Outcomes and impacts of the implemented recommendation being

18 OCYA 2012/13 Special Report: Youth Aging Out of Care develop a tool box of resources for youth, caregivers and staff to better prepare and support youth in transition. Partnerships with Employment and Financial Supports and Alberta Works to support the development of youth employment skills and programs leading to increased opportunities for youth. Some of these initiatives include connecting youth directly to career counsellors, jointly providing education and job readiness skills and working to develop education and job search tip sheets specific to vulnerable youth. Actions: 1. We will develop a central repository for information about what is available for youth in care to ensure caseworkers, caregivers and agency staff are aware of existing resources. 2. We will continue to build capacity in 18 *1 in development, 2 response developed and operationalization starting, 3 Outputs of the implemented recommendation being, 4 Outcomes and impacts of the implemented recommendation being

19 OCYA 2012/13 Special Report: Youth Aging Out of Care agencies and caregivers to support the youth they work with. This includes the completion of the Youth Transitions project with the AFPA and AASCF as well as the implementation of the FSCD transition initiative. 3. We will strengthen response to youth transitioning out of care by adopting promising approaches and expanding work already underway. OCYA 2012/13 Special Report: Youth Aging Out of Care 4. Ensure young people leaving care have supportive adult relationships. - Work with young people and caregivers so young people develop the relationships and relationship skills they require for independence. - Wherever possible, ensure that young Involvement of children and families in decision making Enhance education, training and support for child intervention workers. Accepted The Ministry of In Progress recognizes the importance of, and encourages the development of, healthy 1/2 adult relationships as a key component in the successful transition from a youth in care to a healthy adult. There are no more significant relationships to a child Discussion at the Provincial Enhancement Table, with representatives from the service delivery areas as well as the DFNAs regarding supporting familial ties. Legislative amendment to allow for the review of Permanent Guardianship Order by a former guardian, which supports former guardians in making an application to the court to 19 *1 in development, 2 response developed and operationalization starting, 3 Outputs of the implemented recommendation being, 4 Outcomes and impacts of the implemented recommendation being

20 OCYA 2012/13 Special Report: Youth Aging Out of Care people are able to effectively address their interests regarding family relationships. Cross-ministry Collaboration and Partnerships Support for Youth and Transitioning to Adulthood or youth than those with their family of origin. Efforts to encourage and foster healthy, supportive adult relationships have to be an ongoing and intentional focus for caseworkers from the beginning of their involvement with a child and their family. We know youth in care often express the desire and intention to reconnect with their biological families as they enter adulthood. Approaches such as the Outcomes-based Service Delivery initiative emphasize relationship-based practice through increased family searches and engagement with immediate and extended family. The expanded use of Family Group Conferences has led to increased success in maintaining and developing relationships and commitments between the youth and their immediate and extended family. Overall, the ministry has been placing an increased emphasis on avoiding the disruption of connections to biological parents and, when it has to happen, supporting the youth in have their guardianship reinstated and the child returned to their care. Strength-based approaches including the Signs of Safety, practice framework and practice achievement groups (frontend working group and the youth reunification project) are all dedicated to increase connections with the original and extended family. Continued development and implementation will continue on these approaches. Developmental work has started to find and support mentors for all children in care. The Plan to End Youth Homelessness addresses the recommendation through the following strategy: Keep youth engaged in school through mentorship programs and the provision of comprehensive services connecting families, schools, community partners and employers. 20 *1 in development, 2 response developed and operationalization starting, 3 Outputs of the implemented recommendation being, 4 Outcomes and impacts of the implemented recommendation being

21 OCYA 2012/13 Special Report: Youth Aging Out of Care reconnecting and/or resolving the status of those relationships. Actions: 1. We will support our regional service delivery partners in the adoption of tools and approaches that are intended to preserve families from the beginning of Child Intervention involvement including strengthsbased approaches such as Signs of Safety, which involves family members in identifying danger/harm as well as strengths and supports with the goal of preserving family connections. 2. We will continue to promote the use of Family Group Conferencing as a tool for family preservation and family reunification/connection. 21 *1 in development, 2 response developed and operationalization starting, 3 Outputs of the implemented recommendation being, 4 Outcomes and impacts of the implemented recommendation being

22 OCYA 2012/13 Special Report: Youth Aging Out of Care 5. Support young people leaving care with access to counseling and/or mental health services and those that require it are transitioned to the adult system. - Provide counseling to young people who require it to address the trauma surrounding coming into care and related issues. - Work with Alberta Health Services to provide services that meet the mental health needs of young people. Systemic Cross-ministry Collaboration and Partnerships Support for Youth and Transitioning to Adulthood Enhance education, training and support for child intervention workers. Accepted The mental health and emotional wellbeing of youth in care is a priority for the Ministry of. As with any youth, the transition to adulthood often brings increased anxiety. Through a Support and Financial Assistance Agreement, the ministry is able to continue to pay for counselling services and required medication up to the age of 22. We understand the formal transition required from children s health and mental health services to the adult system does not always happen in a seamless way. Actions: 1. Strengthen policy to reflect the need to formally transition health and mental health services from the child system to the adult system as part of transition planning. 2. Continue as an active partner in the Addiction and Mental Health Strategy to support foster parents, families, and caregivers in working with youth who In Progress 22 *1 in development, 2 response developed and operationalization starting, 3 Outputs of the implemented recommendation being, 4 Outcomes and impacts of the implemented recommendation being 1/2 The Enhancement Act will be revised to strengthen the transition between the child and adult systems. Continued partnership with the Addiction and Mental Health Strategy. Ministry staff have been involved in planning for a symposium on Mental Health Services for Children and Youth. The Plan to End Youth Homelessness addresses the recommendation through the following strategies: Invest in community based/mobile mental health and addictions supports. Work with community organizations to streamline access to Community Residential Treatment programs for youth.

23 OCYA 2012/13 Special Report: Youth Aging Out of Care have mental health issues. This includes supporting the transition from youth to adult services. 23 *1 in development, 2 response developed and operationalization starting, 3 Outputs of the implemented recommendation being, 4 Outcomes and impacts of the implemented recommendation being

24 OCYA 2013/14 Investigative Review - Remembering Brian 1. Child Intervention Services should engage in comprehensive assessments to ensure a balance is struck between childfocused and family-centered approaches. It is vital that intervention services not only address the presenting issues in a family, but also fully examine and address the impacts those issues have had on children in the family. Involvement of children and families in decision making Program Development/ Delivery Awareness/ accessing appropriate program supports Policy/ program development/ revision Focus on the root causes of the issues affecting the safety and wellbeing of children. Enhance education, training and support for child intervention workers. Accepted Child intervention assessments require a thorough examination of immediate safety concerns, and identifying the strengths that exist within the family to alleviate these concerns. At times, tension may be created by trying to reconcile two opposing expectations: keeping children safe and keeping families together. Commitment: The Ministry will continue to incorporate leading and evidence-based practice to inform comprehensive and balanced assessment processes. We utilize well-researched assessment tools for use at all stages of involvement, with components that explore childhood development, parenting capacity, family / environmental factors and family violence. The Ministry currently has a working group focused on examining and improving assessment practice, particularly at initial stages of involvement. Actions: We will revise our approach to the way we conduct assessments of children in need of intervention, by redefining risk and safety and building on the strength and resiliency of children, youth and families. In Progress 2 A review of practice and assessment is underway. The shift in assessment practice includes being more inclusive of family in making decisions (family and natural supports meetings), using existing strengths and resiliency to mitigate the need for intervention, ongoing focus on collaboration, and supports the differentiation between risk, harm and danger to support and engage critical thinking. These considerations are being discussed and learnings shared through strength-based approaches including the Signs of Safety, practice framework and front-end working group, which all take into consideration the balance between the child s safety and the connection to family. 24 *1 in development, 2 response developed and operationalization starting, 3 Outputs of the implemented recommendation being, 4 Outcomes and impacts of the implemented recommendation being

25 OCYA 2013/14 Investigative Review - Remembering Brian Recommendations Theme 1 Theme 2 2. Develop guidelines that will aid caseworkers in assessing the impacts of family violence and parental addictions on children, and which provide direction for supporting children who have been exposed to these circumstances. Internal Program Development/ Delivery Cross-ministry Collaboration and Partnerships 5 Point Plan Enhance education, Assessing Existing training Services/Processes, and Awarenessbuilding child support for interventio n workers. Focus on the root causes of the issues affecting the safety and wellbeing of children. Acceptance Ministry Response Accepted The Ministry recognizes that family violence and parental addictions have a significant impact on children. The Ministry has policies, training and assessment tools to ensure a robust response to family violence or situations where parental addictions contribute to neglect, emotional injury, and/or physical or sexual abuse. Family violence and parental addictions are issues that can be most effectively addressed through an integrated response involving multiple systems. Commitment: The Ministry will continue to work collaboratively with health, addiction and mental health systems, the Courts and policing agencies in the development of practical strategies to assist caseworkers involved with families where family violence, addictions and/or mental health Progress Action In Progress 25 *1 in development, 2 response developed and operationalization starting, 3 Outputs of the implemented recommendation being, 4 Outcomes and impacts of the implemented recommendation being 1 is an active participant in the Addictions and Mental Health Strategy with Health. A comprehensive review of staff training (including family violence training) is underway - commenced in January Caseworkers use a screening tool for family violence. Mental Health First Aid is being offered to frontline CFSA and DFNA staff across the province. Training for trainers is also being offered in Regions. Recent government investment of $5 million will: Introduce three best practice sites in Calgary, Edmonton and Red Deer to provide increased mental health services to children and youth Provide children and youth in care who have experienced physical abuse, sexual abuse and/or neglect with better access to mental health specialists.

26 OCYA 2013/14 Investigative Review - Remembering Brian Recommendations Theme 1 Theme 2 5 Point Plan Acceptance Ministry Response concerns are present. We will continue to build on positive steps already taken, such as the hiring of regional family violence and bullying coordinators, the development and implementation of the mandatory Screening Aide for Family Violence, the development and delivery of mandatory training on the Protection Against Family Violence Act and of Family Violence and Bullying 101, Substance Abuse and Addictions training, and delegation training for new staff which included examining the interconnectivity of alcohol addictions, family violence and Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder. Actions: We have initiated the following strategies: 1. We will develop and provide Family Violence training modules for front-line child intervention workers, police partners, shelter staff, and agency service delivery partners. 2. We will deliver Mental Health First Aid Training to front-line child intervention Progress Action Provide child intervention staff with instant access to expert clinical/medical consultation that will help them better understand available psychiatric treatment plans and appropriate medications Provide crisis mental health supports for highneeds children and offer effective strategies to help foster parents and other caregivers; and Develop a cross-ministry mental health action plan that will enhance and sustain a high-level of supports for children involved with child intervention and expand the reach to support all children and families with mental health needs in Alberta. 26 *1 in development, 2 response developed and operationalization starting, 3 Outputs of the implemented recommendation being, 4 Outcomes and impacts of the implemented recommendation being

27 OCYA 2013/14 Investigative Review - Remembering Brian Recommendations Theme 1 Theme 2 5 Point Plan Acceptance Ministry Response workers, agency staff and caregivers who interact with youth. 3. We will continue to be an active partner with Alberta Health on implementing the Addictions and Mental Health Strategy, so that children, youth and their families, including those at risk and in care, have access to services and community supports. Progress Action OCYA 2013/14 Investigative Review - Remembering Brian 3. In developing support plans for children and their families, intervention caseworkers should ensure that comprehensive plans are in place to support and maintain a child s cultural connections, recognizing that family community and tradition are all important contributors to culture. Involvement of children and families in decision making Program Development/ Delivery Awareness/ accessing appropriate Enhance education, training and support for child intervention workers. Accepted Fostering and maintaining connections to family, culture and community are recognized as key components of a comprehensive case plan. Commitment: The Ministry will continue to work with service delivery partners to improve connections to community and culture for children and youth receiving services. We In Progress 27 *1 in development, 2 response developed and operationalization starting, 3 Outputs of the implemented recommendation being, 4 Outcomes and impacts of the implemented recommendation being 2/3 The ministry implemented revisions to the Concurrent Plan policy in December Discussions occurred at PET, CFSD Leadership table, and with the DFNA Directors regarding the changes that were a part of the strengthened policies regarding foster care.

28 OCYA 2013/14 Investigative Review - Remembering Brian program supports will continue to build on emerging promising practices to increase caregiver capacity across the province. Actions: We have multiple types of plans for staff to utilize in working with families and caregivers to address all aspects of a child or youth s needs, including supports specific to kinship care and supports specific to ties to community and culture. We will adopt and support approaches that better engage families, caregivers and communities in planning to ensure children and youth have opportunities to maintain or develop familial and cultural connections. OCYA 2013/14 Investigative Review - Remembering Brian 4. Kinship caregivers should be provided with specialized training and support plans which are both tailored to meet Internal Enhance education, training and Accepted The Ministry recognizes that there are unique complexities and dynamics involved in being a kinship care provider. In Progress 28 *1 in development, 2 response developed and operationalization starting, 3 Outputs of the implemented recommendation being, 4 Outcomes and impacts of the implemented recommendation being 1/2 A steering committee to develop provincial orientation training for kinship caregivers will be consolidating the training materials currently available into a consistent

29 OCYA 2013/14 Investigative Review - Remembering Brian their individual and unique needs. The Program goal should be to ensure kinship Delivery/ caregivers have the resources they Development require to manage the unique challenges that come with their caregiving, such as dual loyalties, unrealistic expectations, changes in family dynamics and feelings of loss, guilt and shame. Supporting Caregivers support for child intervention workers. While training is certainly a component of ensuring successful kinship care placements, the support offered is also a critical element. Commitment: The Ministry will continue to support initiatives to improve understanding of the expectations placed on caregivers. Specific attention will be paid to supporting kinship care training and integration of that learning into their everyday experience. We will continue to build on progress that has already been made, including the update to the Orientation to Caregiver Training program, the development and implementation of the Kinship Caregiver Guidebook in 2010, and the strengthened and expanded kinship care policy package that was implemented in Actions: We have completed much of the work to develop and deliver specialized training for caregivers, as is recommended in the package of training that can be delivered in all service delivery areas and DFNAs. Safe Babies Training is currently being offered provincially with the opportunity for Train the Trainer sessions to build capacity for ongoing training needs for new and existent caregivers. FASD training module has been developed for caregivers and is being incorporated into core training for caregivers. 29 *1 in development, 2 response developed and operationalization starting, 3 Outputs of the implemented recommendation being, 4 Outcomes and impacts of the implemented recommendation being

30 OCYA 2013/14 Investigative Review - Remembering Brian report. We will continue to move forward on specialized training opportunities that have been developed for all caregivers, including Safe Baby training, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Training, and the Transitioning Youth Successfully initiative, and will take additional steps. 1. We will work with the foster care community and our regional service delivery partners to provide universal access to foster parent supports and training for kinship caregivers. 2. Working with the Alberta Foster Parent Association and the Alberta Association of Services for Children and Families, we will develop and provide specialized training for all caregivers, including resources focused on supporting youth in care to transition successfully to adulthood and providing care for drug-exposed infants as well as children and youth affected by Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD). 30 *1 in development, 2 response developed and operationalization starting, 3 Outputs of the implemented recommendation being, 4 Outcomes and impacts of the implemented recommendation being

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