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PHASING OF RECOMMENDATIONS

The Panel recognizes that our recommendations will require a process that includes inherent dependencies and changes that will need time to be fully implemented. Strong and sustained leadership, action planning, rigorous tracking and monitoring of progress will be required. Initial implementation will need to begin immediately for some recommendations and be completed in a shorter time frame while others will take longer to be fully implemented. Grouping some of the key recommendations thematically, the Panel has endeavoured to provide advice with respect to a phased implementation strategy.

Theme: Ensure that an integrated, horizontal governance structure rooted in quality of care rests within the Ministry of Children and Youth Services to facilitate the systemic oversight and accountability for all residential services (see Recommendations 1, 2, 3, 9, 10, 11, 19 & 20).

Recommendation: The creation of the new Quality of Residential Care Branch/Division within MCYS is a foundational recommendation of the Panel, and initial steps need to be taken immediately to begin the design and development of this structure.

Key Dependencies: A key dependency upon which implementation of this recommendation rests includes striking the Advisory Council (recommendation 1D) immediately and ensuring their active participation to make certain that lived experience informs the design and development of the new Branch/Division. While the Panel has provided an option for this new structure, this will need to be tested and modified as necessary with the advice of the Advisory Council. The necessary government approvals will then be required and human resources strategies undertaken to staff the new structure.

The review of excess capacity within the youth justice secure and open custody and detention system should be an early deliverable in order to leverage potential funding to support the new structure. Similarly, conducting the reviews of per diem rates and rating setting processes and Special Rate Agreement usage may contribute to the identification of funding sources. Having said this, funding offsets or new investments should be sought early in order to expedite the establishment of the new structure and its key functions.

Timeframe for Initial Implementation and Ongoing Execution: It is expected that 12 to 18 months will be required for the new structure to be operational. It is understood the recommendations that rely on the functions envisioned for the Quality Inspectorate, the Data Analytics and Reporting Unit, the Continuity of Care Unit – such as creating and validating concept statements, public reporting of progress/service and outcome indicators/quality of residential care, tracking trajectories of care – are contingent on the operationalization of the Branch/Division.

Theme: Ensure that key governance mechanisms, such as licensing, are strengthened to increase their value in the oversight and accountability of operators (see Recommendations 6, 7 & 8).

Recommendation: Recommendations to strengthen the impact of licensing of residential services – such as the creation of a third category of license, and providing for unannounced inspections by a broad range of delegates – are critical to empowering the Ministry in its oversight of residential services.

Key Dependencies: Implementing recommendations related to licensing likely need to be enabled through legislation, regulation or policy and should be considered in the upcoming CFSA Review and Amendments.

Timeframe for Initial Implementation and Ongoing Execution: Pending the necessary approvals, this is expected to occur within the next six months.

Theme: Ensure the active engagement of all communities who provide and access out-of-home care for children and youth, and the voice of all those with lived experience in residential care (see Recommendations 1d, 5, 16, 27, 28, 29 & 31)

Recommendation: The initial and ongoing engagement of young people, foster parents, front line staff and caregivers and those with diverse identities and developmental contexts and their communities underlie several of the recommendations of the Panel. Mechanisms to provide opportunities for those with lived experience to give feedback and contribute to the design and delivery of residential services also underpin several recommendations.

Key Dependencies: Key dependencies upon which the implementation of these recommendations rest include: striking the appropriate committees for ensuring cultural competence; developing strategies for the future of foster care and addressing emerging issues; developing feedback mechanisms for young people, their families and front line staff.

Timeframe for Initial Implementation and Ongoing Execution: It is expected that these engagement processes begin immediately and that the first wave be completed within 2 years. It is understood that the development of some of the feedback mechanisms are contingent on the operationalization of the Branch/Division. It is expected that engagement is an ongoing process that will be reflected in the operations of the Quality of Residential Care Branch/Division.

Theme: Ensure quality in the delivery of residential services by raising the standards for front line staff and additional training for those providing care to vulnerable young people. (see Recommendations 13, 14, 15, 17 & 21).

Recommendation: The creation of new pre-service qualifications and new worker training for all front line staff, increasing training provided to supervisors to strengthen supervisory practice and extending PRIDE training to all foster parents are foundational recommendations of the Panel.

Key Dependencies: Key dependencies for implementing these recommendations are: the development of training curricula (see Appendices 3 and 4 for recommended theme areas to be included), the development of a process to recognize existing pre-service credentials and support existing workers to meet the new standards; and, ensuring appropriate levels of funding to support the enhanced requirements/ qualifications.

Timeframe for Initial Implementation and Ongoing Execution: Initial steps need to be taken immediately to begin the process of bringing all staff up to required levels. It is expected that all new requirements be fully implemented within 5 years.

Theme: Ensure that the experience of young people in out-of-home care is considered holistically and as a journey, which is supported by: data and information; communication between service providers; coordination and integration of service delivery; and, resources and support for periods in, between, and after care (see Recommendations 1c, 5, 18, 24, 25 & 33).

Recommendation: Recommendations that support a focus on better understanding and supporting the transitions that a young person might experience into, between, out of, and after residential care need to be an immediate focus for the Ministry. From a structural perspective, this includes the recommendation that secure custody and detention systems be integrated into a single system.

Key Dependencies: Tracking the trajectories of young people in residential care is dependent upon developing capacity of the Data Analytics and Reporting Unit within the Quality of Residential Care Branch/Division, the development of key mechanisms such as a unique residential service client identifier or a residential service information module common to all sectors, and developing the appropriate mechanism for self-identification of First Nations, Métis and Inuit children and youth and young people in out-of-home care within specific cultural, racial, faith, or gender groups (including trans) in partnership with the appropriate group.

Timeframe for Initial Implementation and Ongoing Execution: Tracking trajectories and strengthening continuity of care can begin once the new Branch/Division is operational and will be ongoing. Beginning the process of integrating the direct operated and transfer payment secure custody and detention systems into a single system can begin immediately, and should be completed within a 12 month period.

Theme: Ensure that key information about residential services is collected, analyzed and made transparent to contribute to informed decision making and system planning, and to the accountability of individual service providers and the system overall (see Recommendations 2, 3, 8, 9 & 12).

Recommendation: The creation of an online directory that contains all information that would be of benefit to placing agents is a key recommendation of the Panel.

Key Dependencies: Key dependencies for the implementation of this recommendation include the operationalization of the new Branch/Division (making available such information as the validated Concept Statement), and on legal and privacy enablements to posting licensing inspection reports.

Timeframe for Initial Implementation and Ongoing Execution: It is understood that some work has already been done to catalogue residential services on a regional basis and it is expected that this work would continue, be augmented with additional components as available, and be updated as part of the ongoing operations of the Quality of Residential Care Branch/Division. The legal and privacy assessments required in order to consistently make available licencing information, including licensing inspection reports, should begin immediately. Information sharing and transparency can be enhanced in the short term, making available such pertinent information about service providers as currently exists. This can be augmented with further information (such as validated concept statements; performance on key indicators) in the future. Accordingly, this work can begin immediately and be augmented within the next 12 to 18 months.

Recommendation: Commitment to accountability through public reporting (in addition to the publication of licensing information) be facilitated through an annual progress report from the Quality of Residential Care Branch/Division, public reporting of Recommended Service and Outcome Indicators, funding for independent research, and an independent study assessing the quality of care, continuity of care and outcomes of children and youth in out-of-home care at a defined period of time (e.g. Every 5 years) to be presented to the Legislature by the Minister of Children and Youth Services.

Key Dependencies: Implementation of this recommendation is reliant upon some components of the new Branch/ Division, in particular the Data Analytics and Reporting Unit.

Timeframe for Initial Implementation and Ongoing Execution: Public reporting can begin once the new Branch/ Division is operational and will be ongoing.

Theme: Ensure that practices in custody and detention sentences support the consistent treatment and best interests of young people in conflict with the law.

Recommendations: Recommendations around the use of Secure Isolation and the placement of youth at the Roy McMurtry Youth Centre need to be an immediate and ongoing focus for the Ministry (see Recommendations 21, 22, & 23).

Key Dependencies: There are no known dependencies to monitoring the use of Secure Isolation as the Ministry already has current efforts in this area. The recommendation to transfer youth with secure custody sentences of 30 days or more, as well as youth on long term detention (who would be returned for purposes of Court appearances), out of RMYC and to the closest and most appropriate youth justice secure custody and detention facility with capacity may depend upon having sufficient classification and transfer staff and bailiff capacity. The focus on integrating best practices in relationship custody could be an early deliverable in the process of integrating the transfer payment and direct operated systems of secure custody.

Timeframe for Initial Implementation and Ongoing Execution: Monitoring and reviewing the use of secure isolation is currently underway and must be sustained on an ongoing basis. The practice of transferring appropriate youth out of RMYC should be considered immediately, with a strategy implemented in the next 6 - 12 months. The integration of best practices in relationship custody and training of all staff in both transfer payment and directly operated facilities should begin immediately and be implemented within the next 12 months.

Theme: Ensure that the best options for supporting Aboriginal children and youth requiring out-of-home services be determined in full partnership with Aboriginal peoples (see Recommendation 26)

Recommendation, Key Dependencies and Timeframe for Initial Implementation and Ongoing Execution: A separate process with Aboriginal peoples be conducted, consistent with principles of self-determination, to determine the best options for supporting Aboriginal children and youth requiring out-of-home services. There are no known dependencies to beginning this process, therefore the partnership process should be initiated within the next 12 months and completed within the next 2 years.