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Policy Directive: CW 004-06



Children's Aid Societies are required to apply the Ontario Kinship Service Standards, Issued November 30, 2006 in service delivery as of December 31, 2006.

Requirements

For completion by December 31, 2006, Children's Aid Society (CAS's) will be required to develop a plan to:

  • Inform staff about the purpose, content and procedures regarding Kinship Service Standards.
  • Ensure relevant staff have been oriented to the Kinship Service Standards to enable full implementation of standards and required documentation.
  • Establish internal tracking mechanisms for kinship services.
  • Develop a plan to review and revise all internal policy and procedure manuals and develop a plan to advise staff of the changes.

Reporting Requirements

Societies to report their plan for full implementation of Kinship Service Standards through (Q4) of the Multi Year Results Based Plan submitted to regional offices.

Effective Date

This policy directive will come into effect on December 31, 2006.

Introduction

One of the major initiatives of the child welfare transformation has been the development of a permanency planning strategy for Ontario. This strategy, as conceptualized in the Pillars of Permanence, introduces an expanded range of family based care options for children including: admission prevention, kinship service for children not in a society's formal care; kinship care for children in the society's formal care, customary care; foster care; adoption; and youth leaving care.

On February 6, 2006 an Ontario Regulation 206/00, Part II – Family and Community Placement came into effect and set out requirements for the assessment of kin proposing to care for a child receiving child protection services where the child will not be in the formal care of a Children's Aid Society. The purpose of the regulation was to establish consistent best practices in Children's Aid Societies. The Kinship Service Standards reflect and support the intent of the Regulation.

The Kinship Service Standards also set out the minimum level of service for child welfare practitioners and supervisors in children's aid societies for the provision of onqoing kinship service.

Each standard includes the same following five sections:

  • Standard
  • Intent
  • Outcome
  • Practice Notes
  • References

Key Features of the Kinship Service Standards

  • The Kinship Service Standards have been linked to proposed Child Protection Standard in Ontario and the Kinship "Out of Care" Regulation, with common time frames for review of:
    • Kinship Service Plan that is linked to planning for the child with respect to their family
    • Comprehensive Assessment with the focus on permanency planning for the child
  • The Standards define service provision to differentiate Kinship Service from Kinship Care
  • The Standards outline the assessment criteria to maintain the safety and well-being of the child
  • The Standards provide guidance for the assessment of caregiver capacity with an ongoing focus on the child's permanency plan
  • The Standards define the provision of ongoing service including:
    • An articulation of the role and responsibilities of the worker
    • Kinship service planning linked to protection service plan
    • Guidelines regarding services to be provided to kinship families
    • Requirement for comprehensive plans for children addressing permanency planning
    • Concurrent planning for children to ensure that all permanent options are continually considered for the child and therefore reduce time spent in short term arrangements
    • Criteria for terminating kinship service that is linked to protection interventions
    • Supervision

The Kinship Service Standards include service and documentation requirements in the following areas:

  • Searching for Kin
  • Initial Screening ( Kinship "Out of Care" Regulation)
  • Comprehensive Assessment of Kin Family
  • Kinship Service Plan
  • Kinship Service File Opening and Contents
  • Kinship Service File Closing

This policy directive has been developed through a comprehensive review of legislation, policies and practices from other jurisdictions and within Ontario. The Ministry has consulted extensively with stakeholder groups that include Children's Aid Societies, Ontario Association of Children's Aid Societies, the Association of Native Child and Family Services of Ontario, the Foster Parent Association of Ontario, the Office of the Family and Children's Advocate, and the Ontario Association of Residences Treating Youth. The Ministry appreciates the support and expertise provided by the Child Welfare Secretariat's Permanency Reference Group and Kinship Working Group. The Ministry of Children and Youth Services also co-facilitated a provincial Kinship Service Symposium in April 2006 and incorporated learning from that symposium into the standards.

Orientation/training sessions on Bill 210, child welfare transformation including the kinship service policy is being held for Children's Aid Societies, Transformation Leads, and Ministry staff between October and December 2006.

Issuance of Policy Directive: November 30, 2006

Original signed by:

Trinela Cane
Assistant Deputy Minister
Policy Development and Program Design Division
Ministry of Children and Youth Services

Alexander Bezzina
Assistant Deputy Minister
Program Management Division
Ministry of Children and Youth Services
Ministry of Community and Social Services

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