Appendix B Supervision Reference

Supervision Reference

This reference includes a consolidation of the supervision standards contained throughout this document for quick reference, as well as additional practice notes to support the supervisory role. The reference is also helpful in understanding the role of supervisors and child protection workers in the supervision process.

Supervision Standards

The table below includes a consolidation of the supervision standards contained throughout this document. They are summarized here for the purpose of providing a consolidation of requirements within the CPS which is user friendly to reference. Note that there are no requirements contained in this reference that are not already contained in standards.


Supervision Standards

Standards for all Phases of Child Protection Service Delivery

Supervisory Consultation: Departures and Placement Decisions

Supervisors must approve any departures from the Child Protection Standards for which worker discretion is not provided for in standards 1-8.

If at any time during the provision of child protection services, the placement of a child in out-of-home care with extended family or community members (in or out of society care) or in a CAS placement is contemplated, the worker consults with a supervisor in regards to the situation. Similarly, a worker should consult with a supervisor when considering the use of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) in a particular case.

Contemporaneous Case Notes

All significant case-specific content discussed with a supervisor is documented in contemporaneous case notes (by the worker or the supervisor).

1: Intake: Receiving a Referral and Determining the Appropriate Response

Review of Referral Disposition

It is within the supervisor’s discretion whether they will review the referral disposition and response time decision based on the level of knowledge and skill of the worker and the risk/complexity of the referral.

Approval of Decision to Discontinue an Investigation Prior to First Face-to-Face Contact

If factual information is received after the response decision has been made (in the case of an investigation) but prior to the first face-to-face contact with the child, and that information indicates that there are no longer any reasonable and probable grounds to suspect that the child may be in need of protection, the investigation may be discontinued. The decision not to proceed with the investigation is approved by the supervisor and documented in the case record.

2: Planning and Conducting a Child Protection Investigation

Review of Investigation Plan

It is within the supervisor’s discretion whether they will review the worker’s investigation plan10 based on the level of knowledge and skill of the worker and the risk/complexity of the case. An investigation plan can be presented verbally to a supervisor in consultation.

10 Note that a separate written investigation plan is not required.

Frequency of Supervisory Review During Investigations

All cases are reviewed with a supervisor at least once during an investigation. Cases with a higher degree of risk or complexity are reviewed more frequently.

3: Conducting a Safety Assessment and Developing a Safety Plan

Reviews and Approvals of Safety Assessment and Plan

When a worker determines through a safety assessment that no safety threats are present, the worker reviews the safety assessment with a supervisor on the next working day.

Whenever a safety threat is identified, a safety plan is developed immediately following the assessment of safety threats. The adequacy of a safety plan is assessed by a supervisor and approved prior to its implementation.

Approval of Decision to Discontinue an Investigation without a Safety Assessment or a Risk Assessment

An investigation can be discontinued with supervisory approval without a safety assessment or a risk assessment having been completed if, upon first face-to-face contact, the referral information is found to be clearly wrong.

Approval of Decision to Conclude an Investigation Immediately Following a Safety Assessment

An initial* family-based investigation can be concluded with supervisory approval immediately following a safety assessment without a risk assessment being conducted in situations where the initial interviews yield information that maltreatment has clearly not occurred and the following criteria are met:

*Of note, this option is not available for new investigations on cases receiving child protection service.
  • there are no safety threats to the child;
  • the family shows significant strengths in terms of individual and family functioning;
  • there is an absence of conditions or factors indicating risks of maltreatment;
  • there is no reason to believe that a child is in need of protection.
  • all of the required investigative steps have been completed (see standard #2); and
  • the criteria for concluding a child protection investigation (see standard #5) have been met.

When concluding an investigation with a safety assessment and without a risk assessment, the documentation requirements for concluding an investigation (see standard #5) are followed.

4: Conducting a Risk Assessment

Approval of Risk Assessment Overrides

A supervisor must approve any overrides on the risk assessment.

5: Concluding a Child Protection Investigation

Investigation Timeframe Extensions

When the investigation cannot be completed within forty-five (45) days, it is within the supervisor’s discretion to extend the timeframe up to sixty (60) days from the date of referral. The reasons for the extension are documented within the case record.

Key Decisions

The decision to conclude an investigation is made in consultation with a supervisor.

The verification decision, determination about whether a child is in need of protection, and the investigation disposition are to be made within the context of a full case review and analysis of all relevant information obtained through the referral and during the investigation, including the child welfare history with the supervisor prior to the conclusion of an investigation.

Investigation Conclusion Documentation

The documentation completed at the conclusion of an investigation is completed and submitted for supervisory approval within the established timeframe for the completion of the investigation from the date of referral (e.g. within 45 days or 60 days in the case of an extension).

For cases which will be transferred to ongoing child protection services, the documentation submitted at the conclusion of the investigation is approved by the supervisor within seven (7) days of receipt of the completed case documentation.

For cases which will not be receiving ongoing child protection services, the documentation submitted at the conclusion of the investigation is approved by the supervisor within fourteen (14) days of receipt of the completed case documentation.

Documented supervisory approval is to be contained in the case record at the completion of the investigation indicating approval of the documentation including the investigative process and case decisions.

6: Transferring a Case

Transfer Conference

A transfer conference is held which at minimum includes the transferring worker and/or their supervisor and the receiving worker during which the case is reviewed and transfer arrangements are agreed upon.

Case Transfer Documentation

The supervisor of the transferring worker reviews and approves all transfer documentation submitted by the transferring worker.

7: Ongoing Service Case Management

Reviews of Ongoing Cases

Every ongoing child protection case is reviewed in a supervision session minimally once every six weeks. Cases with a higher degree of risk or complexity are reviewed more often.

Any new safety plan which is developed during the ongoing service case management phase is approved by a supervisor prior to its implementation and documented on the next working day.

The frequency of visits with the family is reviewed by the child protection worker and their supervisor during supervision.

Unannounced visits are required if in consultation with a supervisor it is determined that unannounced visits are necessary to address the child’s safety based on specific circumstances of the case.

Case Review Documentation

Documented supervisory approval on case review documentation is required indicating approval of the services provided and decisions made within seven (7) days of completion of the recording.

8: Case Closure

Approval of Case Closure Decision

Before closing a case, the child protection worker reviews the case with the family, collateral service providers, and a supervisor. A decision to terminate provision of child protection services is approved by a supervisor during consultation.

Case Review and Termination Documentation

The case review and termination documentation is completed within three (3) weeks of the termination meeting with the child and family and is approved by the supervisor and closed on the electronic database within seven (7) days of receipt of the documentation.

Practice Notes

The Role of the Supervisor in Supervision

Child protection service is a very complex process involving the collection, synthesis and analysis of vast amounts of information. Decisions which result from this process have a direct and significant impact on children and families. Supervision is fundamental in this process and impacts the quality of service provision to children and families.

Supervisors play an integral role in:

While casework decisions are guided by the use of clinical tools specifically designed to assist in making different decisions throughout the casework process, the supervisor supports and facilitates the investigation or ongoing services through a regularly scheduled supervisory process of collaborative case review, analysis and decision-making, as well as providing strengths-based feedback, guidance, direction and coaching to workers.

Child protection workers often encounter personally challenging, emotionally charged issues and circumstances when providing child protection services. Their values and beliefs and personal life experiences can affect how they feel about, interact with, or respond to clients, and most importantly can impact on their abilities to make decisions objectively. Supervisors assist workers in assessing how their values, beliefs and life experiences may be impacting on their interactions with clients and on their ability to engage clients effectively.

In addition, the supervisor’s role is one of accountability and quality assurance. The supervisor monitors the quality of the investigation and its components or the quality of ongoing service provision, as well as compliance with relevant standards, policies and procedures, and protocols. The supervisor’s signature on case documentation submitted by the worker at the conclusion of an investigation, a formal case review, case transfer or case termination indicates approval of:

The Process and Content of Clinical Supervision

The frequency and type of supervisory consultation required (which may exceed the standards but not fall below them) is based on an assessment of the level of knowledge and skill of the worker, as well as the complexity and level of risk of each individual case. Higher risk cases are reviewed in consultation more frequently than the minimum standards. The worker may seek consultation with a supervisor at any time that a decision is complex, and has an impact on a child’s safety or permanence.

Case consultations occur during regularly scheduled, and private supervision meetings between the worker and the supervisor. This provides for adequate preparation, structure and consistency of the sessions. Clinical supervision is focused on case-specific information that is relevant to making casework decisions and worker-specific issues that are related to the provision of effective child protection service.

Unscheduled/ad hoc consultations may be necessary when decisions need to be made on an urgent basis in order to secure the safety of a child. There are however disadvantages to relying too heavily on this approach. There is generally little time to prepare for them and they can be hurried and unstructured. In addition, decisions may be made without sufficient time to consider alternatives carefully.

Casework activities that are the focus of clinical supervision include:

The Child Protection Worker’s Role in Supervision

The worker prepares for supervision by reviewing the case information and formulating a recommended course of action. The focus of discussion during supervision is on the rationale for decisions that are being recommended by the worker. The process of formulating a recommended course of action may occur collaboratively with a supervisor when the worker does not possess adequate knowledge and/or skill specific to child protection and/or sufficient analytical/reasoning skills.