Policy Directive: 001-09

The use of SAFE (Structured Analysis Family Evaluation); Pre-service PRIDE (Parent Resources for Information, Development and Education); and OnLAC (Ontario Looking After Children) by children’s aid societies (CASs).

Effective Date

This policy directive will come into effect on May 1, 2009. As of this date, Policy Directive 003-06 will no longer be in effect.


On December 4, 2006, Policy Directive 003-06 came into effect requiring CASs to implement the use of SAFE, PRIDE and OnLAC as of the following dates:

Children’s Aid Societies: Adoption & Foster Care (inclusive of kinship care and formal customary care)

Program Implementation Date
Safe December 4, 2006
Pride April 2, 2007
OnLAC December 3, 2007

This Policy Directive is consistent with Policy Directive 003-06 in every respect except for an amendment to the use of OnLAC.

The ministry sent a letter to CASs in May 2008 to provide clarification on the requirements of OnLAC related to formal customary care and children on adoption probation. The letter also referenced the ministry’s intention to amend the directive to remove the option of waiving the requirement for the Assessment and Action Record (AAR) for one year where a child (10 +) has not experienced a placement move or change of worker.

Policy Directive 001-09 brings this amendment into effect, requiring CASs to apply the AAR annually for every child and youth who has been in care for longer than one year.

Notes and Definitions

This policy directive applies to the assessment and pre-service preparation and support (SAFE and PRIDE) of families who are being homestudied for approval by a CAS to provide foster care (including kinship care and formal customary care) or an adoptive family for children. The plan of care tool for children in care (OnLAC) applies to all children who are in the care of a CAS for longer than one year. All three tools continue to be available in French.


  1. Structured Analysis Family Evaluation (SAFE): SAFE is a comprehensive set of homestudy assessment tools, techniques and values for the analysis and evaluation of prospective foster or adoptive families. SAFE was developed by the Consortium for Children in California to determine if the family is a viable, safe placement for children and to determine the elements of a specific plan to support the family in the care of children.
  2. Parent Resources for Information, Development and Education (PRIDE): PRIDE is a practice model and curriculum designed to strengthen the quality of family-based care by providing a competency based framework for training and supporting caregivers and adoptive parents. PRIDE was developed by the Child Welfare League of America. PRIDE is divided into two parts: Pre-service and in-service (or ongoing).
  3. Looking After Children (OnLAC): OnLAC includes an assessment tool (Assessment and Action Record) that is used at the case level to develop an individual child’s Plan of Care, at the management level providing outcome data that can assist an agency in developing needed services and programs for all children in care; and at the ministry level providing key marker outcome data to support continuous improvement in policy and program design. Research support for OnLAC is provided by the University of Ottawa. Looking After Children was developed in the United Kingdom.


SAFE: As of December 4, 2006, all CASs are required to utilize the SAFE homestudy format in assessing adoptive and foster families (inclusive of kinship care and formal customary care) and in preparing homestudy assessment reports. Any worker who will be conducting homestudy assessments and has not yet received SAFE training will need to ensure attendance at the next available training session(s). Homestudies initiated prior to December 4, 2006 may be accepted in prior formats; homestudies initiated after December 4, 2006 will require compliance with SAFE guidelines.

PRIDE: As of April 2, 2007, all CASs are required to provide PRIDE pre-service training and preparation for families applying to care for children and youth. Delivery of training modules may require some flexibility to accommodate varying needs, while maintaining the core competency framework identified in strengthening family based care and adoption.

OnLAC: For every child who on December 3, 2007, had been in care for 12 consecutive months or more, CASs were required to complete the first AAR by December 3, 2008 and utilize the Assessment and Action Record (AAR) to develop a Plan of Care. As of the effective date of Policy Directive 001-09, CASs must, within a 12 month period, complete an AAR for all children and youth 10 or older for whom CASs had previously waived the AAR.

For children who have been placed for adoption, CASs must implement the Adoption Probation Recording format that includes the seven dimensions of OnLAC. While AARs are not required as part of the Adoption Probation Recording package (even if the child has been placed for adoption for more than 12 months), this does not prohibit a CAS from using it if it would be beneficial to the child’s planning. Where an AAR has been completed for a child, it is imperative that it be reviewed prior to placement on adoption probation.

The AAR must be applied annually for every child and youth who has been in care for longer than one year including children and youth in formal customary care.

Reporting Requirements

  • In order to successfully implement SAFE, PRIDE and OnLAC, CASs are required to track implementation planning and key deliverables on a quarterly basis through the MYRBP reporting mechanism to regional offices.

Issuance of Policy Directive: May 1, 2009

Original signed by:

Aryeh Gitterman
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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