Policy Directive: CW 002-17 - Respecting the provision of child protection services under the Child and Family Services Act, R.S.O. 1990 c.C.11 (CFSA), in the District of Thunder Bay



Directive to Dilico Anishinabek Family Care (Dilico), Tikinagan Child and Family Services (Tikinagan) and the Children's Aid Society of the District of Thunder Bay (Thunder Bay CAS)

Effective Date: This directive will come into effect on October 16, 2017.

Introduction

The paramount purpose of the CFSA is to promote the best interests, protection and well-being of children. An additional purpose of the CFSA is to recognize that First Nations people should be entitled to provide, wherever possible, their own child and family services. All services to First Nations children and families should be provided in a manner that recognizes their culture, heritage and traditions and the concept of the extended family.

The goals of this directive are: to clarify roles and responsibilities in the District of Thunder Bay concerning the provision of services to children and families who identify as being from Tikinagan First Nations[1]; and to facilitate clear communication and respectful relationships between the CASs.

Requirements

1.  General

All societies must adhere to the requirements set out in the CFSA, its regulations, policy directives issued by the ministry and the Ontario Child Protection Standards (2016) (Standards). This directive supplements existing requirements.

Dilico will carry out the functions of a society under s. 15(3) of the CFSA in the District of Thunder Bay for all First Nations, Métis and Inuit children and families living off reserve. This authority overlaps with the authority of Thunder Bay CAS and, as noted in the Ontario Child Protection Standards, where such overlap exists, societies are required to have protocols between them to address processes, timelines, and roles and responsibilities for inter-agency transfers of new referrals. In the event that Thunder Bay CAS serves a child from a Tikinagan First Nation (for example in order to address a conflict of interest issue), Thunder Bay CAS will adhere to all of the requirements imposed on Dilico through this directive.

Tikinagan is designated to carry out the functions of a society under s.15(3) of the CFSA, within the area of Northern Ontario specified in its designation document. Tikinagan also holds a foster care licence, and subject to any conditions on that licence, may open foster homes in Thunder Bay. Tikinagan places children in foster homes under their licence, and may also place children in its care with other licensees. Tikinagan supervises foster placements and customary care placements, and oversees the care of children in other residential placements. Tikinagan also provides prevention services to children from Tikinagan First Nations who are residing in or visiting Thunder Bay.

Given that Dilico, Tikinagan and Thunder Bay CAS are all providing services in Thunder Bay, each of these societies will identify an inter-society liaison and provide the other two societies and the ministry with this individual's contact information. These liaisons will work to promote effective, respectful and timely communication between the societies and will serve as a point of contact between the societies. The liaisons can also serve as a point of contact for child protection workers who require responses to requests for information. In the event that an inter-society liaison is unavailable because of a planned absence (for example during vacation or an illness), the society will name an alternate designate to carry out the role of the inter-society liaison and notify the other two societies of the designate's contact information as soon as possible. In the event of an unplanned absence or if the designate becomes unavailable, the Executive Director will serve as the point of contact in the absence of the inter-society liaison.

If a service provider contacts Dilico in regards to a child under Tikinagan's care who is receiving services from the service provider, then Dilico's inter-society liaison will contact the Tikinagan's inter-society liaison to address the matter. If a service provider contacts Tikinagan in regards to a child under Dilico's care who is receiving services from the service provider, then Tikinagan's inter-society liaison will contact Dilico's inter-society liaison to address the matter.

2.  Referrals

The societies will maintain respectful relationships and collaborate effectively in order to promote the best interests, protection and well-being of the children they serve.

When a referral is received from Dilico, Tikinagan or Thunder Bay CAS, the receiving society will provide the referring society with an update on disposition of the referral within twenty-four hours of the disposition decision. The update should be provided through the inter-society liaison. This applies to referrals that involve service requests, including for example requests by one society to evaluate a home or supervise a placement on behalf of another society.

3.  Transfers

All societies are required to comply with Standard 6 of the Child Protection Standards, 2016. This Standard outlines requirements for societies transferring cases within a society and between societies.

Where a case concerns Dilico, Tikinagan or Thunder Bay CAS, all notifications and confirmations required under Standard 6 should be made through the inter-society liaisons.

The transferring documentation that is to be sent to the receiving society within 2 working days of the referral should be sent through the inter-society liaisons.

Confirmation of transfers may not be unreasonably withheld. If a society refuses a transfer, the reasons should be recorded in the file and an explanation provided in writing to the society that made the referral within ten days of the receipt of the referral, through the inter-society liaison. Any delays in confirming transfers, refusals to accept transfers or failures to comply with the standards concerning transfers should be noted in the society's reporting on compliance with this directive (see final section of this directive).

4.  Community Links

Where the referral disposition is to provide a "community link", the society worker must consider whether information or resources are available from the child's First Nation or from the society designated to serve the child's First Nation reserve community. If such resources exist, the worker will provide the family with information about these resources.

5.  Investigations

For children and families in Thunder Bay who are members of or identify with a Tikinagan First Nation:

If Dilico receives a referral that requires a protection investigation, Dilico will notify a representative of the child's First Nation when the investigation is initiated. Where Tikinagan is the representative of the child's First Nation, Tikinagan will be notified through the inter-society liaison. This is required when the referral relates to concerns about a parent, and if the referral relates to concerns about community caregivers.

Policy Directive 003-15 (FastTrack Information System) applies to information exchanges between societies. The societies will exchange relevant information about the child or family, including information about previous involvement with a society through the inter-society liaison. Workers and managers will maintain respectful relationships and will provide timely responses to requests for information and updates through the inter-society liaison.

In every case involving a child from a Tikinagan First Nation, Dilico will consider information provided by Tikinagan. Dilico must also consider whether the involvement of Tikinagan workers in the investigation would help support the child or strengthen the investigation process. If the child has been assigned a Tikinagan worker, that worker may not be unreasonably excluded from involvement that would support the child and family during the investigation. Where Dilico determines that Tikinagan workers should not be involved in the investigation this should be noted in writing and should form part of Dilico's compliance reporting on this directive. Particular consideration should be given when: investigations involve children with open files with Tikinagan, or files open within the preceding 12 months with Tikinagan; when Dilico is investigating a referral connected to a Tikinagan foster home in Thunder Bay; and if Dilico becomes aware that a family receiving its services will be residing in or visiting the area covered by Tikinagan's designation.

If an investigation is being initiated concerning a newborn delivered at a hospital in Thunder Bay, whose birth parent is from a Tikinagan First Nation, Dilico will contact Tikinagan through the inter-society liaison. If the family is not remaining in Thunder Bay, Dilico must consult with Tikinagan about Tikinagan's planning for the family before the conclusion of the investigation. Dilico and Tikinagan will cooperate to ensure continuity of service once the family leaves Thunder Bay and will follow Standard 6 related to transfers.

6.  Placement decisions

If Dilico determines that a child cannot remain with a parent or person having charge of them, Dilico will notify a representative of the child's First Nation before a placement decision is made, unless there would be substantial risk to the child's health and safety during the time necessary to give notice. In that case Dilico must give notice as soon as possible thereafter. Where a placement decision must be made on an urgent basis, including after-hours, and where Tikinagan is a representative of the child's First Nation, Dilico will contact Tikinagan by telephone to receive input on the placement of the child. When this occurs, Dilico and Tikinagan will document the telephone call in the file and Dilico's inter-society liason will follow up with Tikingan's inter-society liaison in writing the following day. Where the placement decision does not need to be made on an urgent basis, and where Tikinagan is the representative of the child's First Nation, Tikinagan will be notified in writing through the inter-society liaison.

Dilico will arrange a case conference as soon as possible and will consider any placement options proposed by the child's First Nations representative, including customary care with the child's First Nations community. Where Dilico chooses to place a child in a placement that is not supported by the child's First Nations Community, Dilico will record the reasons for its decision in writing and communicate those reasons to the representative of the child's First Nations community. If Tikinagan is the representative of the child's First Nations community, then the reasons will be provided in writing to Tikinagan's inter-society liaison.

If the child in question had been placed in Thunder Bay by Tikinagan, Tikinagan will assess the information provided by Dilico and determine an appropriate placement for the child going forward.

7.  Foster homes and other residential placements

Tikinagan will advise Dilico of the location of its foster homes, outside paid resources (OPRs) and other residential placement providers in Thunder Bay, and of the children in these placements.

If Dilico opens foster homes in the area covered by Tikinagan's designation or places children in OPRs or with other residential placement providers in this area, Dilico will advise Tikinagan of the children in these placements and of the location of these foster homes, OPRs and other residential placement providers.

If Dilico receives a referral concerning a foster home operating under Tikinagan's foster care licence, or an OPR or other residential placement provider where Tikingan has placed children, Dilico will notify Tikinagan that it has received the referral without delay. If Tikinagan receives a referral concerning a foster home operating under Dilico's foster care license, or an OPR or other residential placement provider where Dilico has placed children, Tikinagan will notify Dilico that it has received the referral without delay.

8.  Children and families moving in and out of Thunder Bay and hospital births

If Dilico becomes aware that a family receiving its services will be temporarily residing in or visiting the area covered by Tikinagan's designation, Dilico will notify Tikinagan and the two societies will exchange information and discuss resources and supports in order to maintain continuity of service for the family.

If Tikinagan becomes aware that a family receiving its services will be temporarily residing in or visiting the District of Thunder Bay, Tikinagan will notify Dilico and the two societies will exchange information and discuss resources and supports in order to maintain continuity of service for the family. If, however, a family receiving Tikinagan's services relocates to the District of Thunder Bay such that they are ordinarily resident there, that file will be referred for transfer to Dilico in accordance with the section above addressing "Transfers" unless the two societies agree otherwise.

Protection services: If a child who is ordinarily resident in a Tikinagan First Nation requires protection services while temporarily residing in or visiting the the District of Thunder Bay, Dilico will provide those protection services while the individual and/or family are temporarily residing in Thunder Bay. When the individual and/or family return to an area that is covered by Tikinagan's designation, Dilico will initiate a transfer of the file back to Tikinagan. It is essential that the Dilico and Tikinagan inter-agency liaisons respond to requests in a timely manner to ensure continuity of services for individuals and/or families.

If Tikinagan becomes aware of an impending birth planned to occur in Thunder Bay, Tikinagan will notify Dilico as soon as possible through the inter-society liaison. In the event of an unplanned birth of a child in Thunder Bay from a Tikinagan First Nation, or a birth about which Tikinagan was not aware, Dilico will notify Tikinagan through the inter-society liaison as soon as Dilico becomes aware of the birth.

If a parent is the subject of a birth alert by Tikinagan, and comes to the District of Thunder Bay to give birth, Dilico will open a file if there is no open file with Tikinagan. As soon as the family leaves the District of Thunder Bay and returns to the area covered by Tikinagan's designation, Dilico will refer the file for transfer back to Tikinagan in accordance with the section above addressing "Transfers". If a parent with an open file with Tikinagan gives birth in the District of Thunder Bay, Dilico will provide protection assistance services.

9.  Use of email to contact inter-society liaisons

Where this directive requires that a society provide information in writing through an inter-society liaison, the required information may be provided through email.

10.  Reporting on compliance with this Directive

Each society will provide reports to the ministry every 30 days, or as otherwise required by the ministry, outlining its compliance with this directive. These reports should be provided in the form specified by the ministry. These reports should also identify challenges that have arisen in attempting to comply with the directive and, in instances where the directive was not complied with, an explanation for the lack of compliance.

Issuance of Policy Directive CW002-17: September 27, 2017

Original signed by:

Nadia Cornacchia
Assistant Deputy Minister (A)
Service Delivery Division
Ministry of Children and Youth Services

Footnotes

[1] Tikinagan identifies that it serves the following First Nations:

  • Aroland
  • Bearskin Lake
  • Cat Lake
  • Deer Lake
  • Eabametoong
  • Fort Severn
  • Koocheching
  • Kasabonika Lake
  • Kee-Way-Win
  • Kingfisher Lake
  • Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug
  • Lac Seul
  • Wapekeka
  • Wawakapewin
  • Webequie
  • Marten Falls
  • Mishkeegogamang
  • Muskrat Dam
  • Neskantaga
  • Nibinamik
  • North Caribou Lake
  • North Spirit Lake
  • Pikangikum
  • Poplar Hill
  • Sachigo Lake
  • Sandy Lake
  • Saugeen
  • Slate Falls
  • Wunnumin Lake
  • McDowell Lake

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