Policy Directive: CW002-16 Ontario Child Protection Tools Manual (2016) and
Ontario Child Welfare Eligiblity Spectrum (2016)

Effective Date

This Policy Directive is effective June 11, 2016

This policy directive, issued under s. 20.1 of the Child and Family Services Act (CFSA), replaces Policy Directive CW 002-07: Ontario Child Protection Tools Manual (February 2007) and the Ontario Child Welfare Eligibility Spectrum (Revised 2006).

Introduction

The purpose of the Ontario Child Protection Standards (2016) (CPS 2016) is to promote consistently high quality service delivery to children, youth and their families receiving services from children’s aid societies (CASs) in Ontario. The CPS 2016 contain 8 standards that guide child protection workers at each phase of service delivery, starting from the receipt of a report and eligibility determination, through the investigative phase of service, service planning, ongoing case management, case transfer and the completion of child protection services.

The CPS 2016 were developed based on extensive consultation with key child welfare stakeholders and research in order to achieve the following objectives:

  • To enhance child safety based on emerging best practices and recommendations from recent child death inquests;
  • To reduce administrative burden on CASs, increase flexibility and streamline workflow;
  • To promote best practices for providing culturally respectful services;
  • To promote best practices for working with families experiencing domestic violence;
  • To further integrate and advance the intent of the Differential Response (DR) Model to provide child protection services that are customized to the unique needs of children and families; and
  • To clarify requirements identified to be ambiguous by the child welfare sector.

Effective June 11, 2016, Regulation 206/00 Procedures, Practices and Standards for Child Protection Cases of the Child and Family Services Act is amended to require the use of the CPS 2016. With this change, the Child Protection Standards in Ontario (2007) is no longer in effect.

The CPS 2016, the Child Protection Tools Manual (2016) and the Ontario Child Welfare Eligibility Spectrum (2016) continue to support the implementation of the DR Model as the required approach to child protection decision making and service delivery in Ontario. The DR Model offers a range of approaches to service delivery which are based on the type and severity of child maltreatment, and are customized to provide what each child and family requires.

The clinical tools (assessments) contained in the Ontario Child Protection Tools Manual (2016) and the Ontario Child Welfare Eligibility Spectrum (2016) provide enhanced support to the differential provision of services. The ability to provide services differentially is dependent upon the ability to accurately determine the type and intensity of services that each child and family requires. Child protection workers must be able to identify children who are at the greatest risk of maltreatment and also to accurately assess the strengths and needs of children in need of protection and their families.

Ontario Child Protection Tools Manual

The Child Protection Tools Manual provides a set of required instruments designed to assist child protection workers in their assessment and screening of situations in which a child is alleged to be in need of protection. The tools are supports to decision-making that help the child protection worker review each child protection decision in an objective, systematic, strength-based and comprehensive manner. The outcome of the tools, combined with sound clinical judgment, including culturally sensitive practice, strengthens child safety and assessment.

Substantive changes have not been made to the Ontario Child Protection Tools Manual with the exception of the removal of the supplementary screening tools from the document. The required tools in the Manual have not changed. However, the other sections of the Manual (e.g. the introduction and application sections) have been revised to be consistent with the CPS 2016.

Ontario Child Welfare Eligibility Spectrum

The Ontario Child Welfare Eligibility Spectrum is the standard tool in Ontario for determining a child’s eligibility for protection services. It was designed to assist child protection workers in making consistent and accurate decisions about eligibility for child protection services at the point of referral. The Eligibility Spectrum is required to be used with the CPS 2016. The Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Societies (OACAS) owns the Eligibility Spectrum.

The Eligibility Spectrum has been revised by OACAS based on broad consultation with the child welfare sector and a review of literature so that it remains aligned with current child welfare practices. Following consultation with the sector and review of current provincial legislation and ministry direction, changes were made in the following areas:

  • Child fatality;
  • Child sexual exploitations;
  • Partner violence;
  • Child abandonment and child/parent conflict;
  • Supports for youth;
  • Adoption disclosure, subsidies and openness; and
  • Homestudy assessment requirements.

Issuance of Policy Directive CW 002-16: June 11, 2016

Original signed by:

Jennifer Morris
Assistant Deputy Minister (A)
Policy Development and Program Design Division
Ministry of Children and Youth Services

Rachael Kampus
Assistant Deputy Minister
Service Delivery Division
Ministry of Children and Youth Services

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