Existing Information and Data Collection Systems

Although there currently is very little province-wide information being reported about young people in residential care, the Ministry collects an enormous amount of data about these services. Crown Ward reviews, licensing reports and serious occurrence reports are rich under-utilized sources of data. The Ministry has already developed a province-wide Youth Justice information system (Youth Offender Tracking and Information System). The Ministry is also investing significant resources into the development of CPIN, the province-wide child welfare information management system. CPIN tracks many key indicators that could be used to monitor services, analyze trends and track outcomes. The placement module in CPIN can be expanded to include information about all residential service providers. The deployment of CPIN has been slower than expected and in several of our consultations concerns were raised about its implementation. It is also important to note that CPIN has limited capacity to allow for complex analyses to be conducted with data from pre-existing systems. To analyze long term trends, analysts will need to access legacy systems; OCANDS has the capacity to be used to tap into those legacy systems.

Service providers also collect a range of important information: the Assessment and Action Records used by child welfare agencies through the OnLAC initiative and the Partners in Care project conducted by OARTY include a rich amount of information about young people’s relationships, education and well-being that can be used to help understand service needs and outcomes. As discussed, these data collection efforts have serious limitations alongside their strengths. In reviewing these various tools we considered the merits of selecting a single assessment tool to be used across all service providers. While a common tool would have some advantages, such as simplifying referral procedures between service providers, and facilitating comparisons of services and outcomes between different service providers, we were concerned that imposing a single assessment tool could (1) undermine clinical approaches that integrate existing tools, (2) be poorly completed by staff who may fail to buy into a Ministry imposed tool, and (3) risk moving the Ministry’s role from oversight to administration. These tools nevertheless provide helpful information that include indicators of key dimensions that can be compared across different assessment platforms and analyzed at the aggregate level. MCYS does not intend to mandate the use of any specific assessment tool and the Panel found this to be appropriate.

User satisfaction ratings are one area where new data collection systems may be required. Other jurisdictions, including British Columbia, collect client satisfaction information following the provision of services to children and youth. In Ontario, informal reviews for certain residential services such as shelters are sometimes posted in online forums such as Google Reviews, but there has been no systematic collection of user satisfaction from young people who have experienced residential services. The exception is youth justice, where youth feedback is gathered through a youth experience survey completed with the probation officer following discharge from custody. A parent/guardian experience survey is also used.