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Cfsa discussion document 2

  1. 1. Ministry of Children and Youth Services Review of the Child and Family Services Act Discussion Document Fall 2009 – Winter 2010.CONFIDENTIAL DRAFT 1
  2. 2. This is a request for public comment. Please note that unless requested andagreed otherwise by the Ministry, all materials or comments received fromorganizations will be considered public information and may be used anddisclosed by the Ministry in accordance with applicable legislation to assist theMinistry in formulating changes to the existing legislation, regulations and/orpolicy guidelines. This may involve disclosing materials or comments, orsummaries of them, to other interested parties during and after the request forpublic comment process.An individual who provides materials or comments and who indicates anaffiliation with an organization will be considered to have submitted thosecomments or materials on behalf of the organization so identified unless theindividual indicates that the submission is being made on their own behalf.Organizations include: children’s aid societies; child and family serviceproviders; First Nations/Aboriginal organizations; and professionalassociations.Materials or comments received from individuals who do not indicateaffiliations with organizations will not be considered public information unlessthe person says it may be considered public information. However, materialsor comments provided by individuals may be used and disclosed by theMinistry to assist in formulating changes to the legislation, regulations and/orpolicy guidelines. Personal information, such as an individual’s name andcontact details, will not be disclosed by the Ministry unless required by law.If you have any questions about the collection or use of this information, youcan contact the Manager of the Policy and Analysis Unit, Strategic Policy andPlanning Division of the Ministry of Children and Youth Services at 416-325-4699.
  3. 3. ContentsLetter from the Minister ________________________________________ 2Introduction __________________________________________________ 4 The Child and Family Services Act________________________________ 4 The Strategic Framework of the Ministry of Children and Youth Services _ 5 Scope of the Review ___________________________________________ 6 To Send Your Response ________________________________________ 9Better Outcomes for Children and Youth __________________________ 10 Contributing to Common Outcomes _______________________________ 10 Improving Outcomes by Working Together _________________________ 13Improved Service Experience ____________________________________ 15Modernizing the Act____________________________________________ 16 Reducing Administrative Burden _________________________________ 17 Improving Accessibility and Recognizing Diversity __________________ 18 Alignment with Other Legislation ________________________________ 19
  4. 4. Ministry of Children Ministère des Servicesand Youth Services à l’enfance et à la jeunesseMinister’s Office Bureau de la ministre56 Wellesley Street West 56, rue Wellesley Ouest e14th Floor 14 étageToronto ON M5S 2S3 Toronto (Ontario) M5S 2S3Tel.: (416) 212-7432 Tél. : 416 212-7432Fax: (416) 212-7431 Téléc. : 416 212-7431Letter from the MinisterDecember 2009I am pleased to tell you about the review of the Child and Family Services Act(CFSA) and to invite you to participate in it.The CFSA is a key piece of legislation that governs many of the province’sprograms and services for children and youth including child welfare, youthjustice, mental health, adoption within Ontario, and the licensing of children’sresidential services.Taking part in this review, therefore, is taking part in an opportunity to improveservices for children, youth, and families across the province.A previous review in 2005 focused on permanency options for children in careof children’s aid societies (CASs), including adoption. Following the review, theAct was amended to address permanency planning for children and youth in careand to establish a common complaint process for CASs. Later, the Act was alsoamended to create a single, youth-focused, legislative framework that governscustody, detention and community programs for youth in conflict with the law.Our focus, always, is on supporting children and youth so they may be heard,protected, and provided with opportunities to reach their full potential. In thesechallenging times, it is even more important that we work together with ourservice partners to improve services for Ontario’s young people. Because, whilewe have accomplished much, we still have more to do.With this review, the ministry is having a discussion with our partners andclients on the future of the delivery of children and youth services in Ontario.The review will explore ways in which the CFSA creates opportunities orbarriers to improving the outcomes and service experiences for children, youthand their families. 2
  5. 5. The review will also look at how well CASs are complying with specificprovisions of the CFSA when providing services to Aboriginal children andyouth.We are confident the findings of the review will help improve the servicesfunded or provided by the ministry. We look forward to hearing from ourpartners, our families, and all Ontarians. In March 2010 we will report back toyou on what we have heard.I am excited to be launching this process as I begin my term as Minister ofChildren and Youth Services. Thank you for your participation.Sincerely,Original signed byLaurel BrotenMinister 3
  6. 6. IntroductionThe Child and Family Services ActThe Child and Family Services Act (referred to throughout the rest of thisdocument as the CFSA or the Act) is the legislation that provides the Ministerof Children and Youth Services with authority for many of the programs andservices funded or provided by the Ministry of Children and Youth Services.The CFSA requires the Minister to review the Act every five years and toreport the results of the review to the public.There are two specific sections in the CFSA that call for its review. Section224 requires the Minister to: periodically conduct a review of this Act or thoseprovisions of it specified by the Minister; inform the public when a reviewunder this section begins and what provisions of this Act are included in thereview; and prepare a written report respecting the review and make thatreport available to the public. Section 226 further states that every review ofthe Act must include a review of provisions imposing obligations onchildren’s aid societies (CASs) when providing services to a person who is anIndian or native person, or in respect of children who are Indian or nativepersons, with a view to ensuring compliance by societies with thoseprovisions.The CFSA can be found on the Ontario government’s e-laws website at Act’s paramount purpose is to promote the best interests, protection andwell being of children. The programs and services provided for in the CFSAinclude: • Child welfare; • Youth justice; • Child development and child treatment services; and • Community support services. 4
  7. 7. The Act also provides for the licensing of children’s residential services andthe rights of children while in residential care.Many services in the children and youth service sector are not provided underthe CFSA. However, given the ministry’s commitment to better integrate allits services, we are inviting all clients and everyone involved in deliveringservices to children and youth to take part in the review. MCYS programs andservices that are not provided under the CFSA include (but are not limited to)intercountry adoption, child care, Healthy Babies Healthy Children and otherearly child development programs.The Strategic Framework of the Ministry of Childrenand Youth ServicesIn 2004, the government created the Ministry of Children and Youth Services(MCYS) by bringing together programs for children and youth from theMinistries of Community and Social Services, Health and Long-Term Care,and Community Safety and Correctional Services. The ministry’s vision is foran Ontario where all children and youth have the best opportunity to succeedand reach their full potential.In May 2008, the ministry released its first strategic framework, RealizingPotential – Our Children, Our Youth, Our Future. Based on the findings ofresearch and best practice the ministry’s objectives are to achieve betteroutcomes for clients and improve the experiences of children, youth and theirfamilies as they use services funded or provided by MCYS. The framework isintended to guide daily work in the ministry as well as to provide a foundationfor future reforms.The overall objectives of better outcomes and improved service experiencesare grounded in five linked strategic goals: 1. Every child and youth has a voice; 2. Every child and youth receives personalized services; 3. Everyone involved in service delivery contributes to achieving common outcomes; 4. Every child and youth is resilient; and 5. Every young person graduates from secondary school. 5
  8. 8. Since the release of the strategic framework the ministry has engaged itspartners in a discussion on how to move forward together so that these goalsand objectives can be achieved. This legislative review provides theopportunity to continue this conversation.Copies of Realizing Potential can be accessed online alongside this discussiondocument or at: of the ReviewThere are two aspects to the current review: a general review of the Act thatfocuses on the objectives presented in the MCYS strategic framework; and amore specific review that explores the provisions in the Act that imposeobligations on CASs when providing services to Indian and native persons,including children and youth, with a view to compliance.Submissions or feedback not related to these matters will be considered out ofscope and will not be reflected in the final public report.Please note that this is a review of legislation and not an evaluation of specificorganizations, programs or services. Therefore, the review process will notaddress individual concerns.CAS Compliance with Provisions Related to Indian and Native PersonsAn amendment made to the CFSA in 2005 requires the ministry to examinethe sections of the Act that impose obligations on CASs providing services toIndian or native persons, including children, with a view to compliance. Thisis the first review under this provision. Input for this aspect of the review isbeing sought through regional meetings and written submissions. Thisdocument does not contain questions related to this aspect of the review. 6
  9. 9. General ReviewGiven the ministry’s commitment to improve the delivery of services toOntario’s children and youth, the review seeks input on barriers or challengesthat exist in the current Act, as well as changes that could be made to: 1. Improve outcomes of children and youth; 2. Enhance the experiences of clients in accessing services; and 3. Modernize the legislation by: o Reducing administrative burdens on agencies; o Better recognizing and respecting the diversity and full range of abilities of Ontario’s children and youth; and o Bringing the Act in line with other, more recent legislation.Public ReportingBy March 31, 2010 summaries of the findings of both aspects of this reviewwill be available on the ministry’s website at DocumentThe purpose of this discussion document is to guide input to the generalreview by asking questions that identify common challenges and solicitsuggestions on how these challenges could be addressed. Suggestions will, inturn, help to guide any future changes to the CFSA, its related regulations andpolicies.Space is provided for your reply to the questions and to share any additionalcomments you may have. Please do not feel limited by the amount of space inthis document. You are welcome to use additional space or alternativemethods to provide your response. You do not need to answer all the questionsthat are asked. Answer only those questions that are of interest or concern toyou.Personal information, such as an individual’s name, address, or otheridentifying details will not be disclosed. However, to help us better understandthe comments you provide, please indicate what best describes yourconnection to children and youth services. 7
  10. 10. What describes you best? Please complete both sections. I am… A family member or guardian of someone who is now, or used to be, in receipt of services: • A parent or person with custody of a child • A grandparent • A sibling • Another relative Someone who has been involved in these programs or services Someone who is now in programs or receiving services governed by the Child and Family Services Act A friend of someone who is now, or used to be, in programs or services Someone who volunteers in this sector (please explain) Someone who works in the child and youth service sector as: • An administrator • A front-line worker/professional • A foster parent1 • Other (please tell us more) Someone with a different connection (please explain) I am… Sending this on behalf of an organization (please identify) Sending this as an individualIf you are sending your comments by mail, please be sure to send this chartwith your reply. If you are responding by e-mail, please indicate whichcategory you belong to by putting this information in the subject line of yourmessage. (For example, please put “Reply to CFSA Review from Family1 A foster parent is defined in the CFSA as someone who receives compensation for caringfor a child (except under the Ontario Works Act, the Ontario Disability Support ProgramAct, or the Family Benefits Act) and is not the child’s parent or a person with whom thechild has been placed for adoption. 8
  11. 11. Member” or “Front Line Worker Answers CFSA Questions”.) Also, please tellus the numbers of the questions you are answering in the body of your e-mail.To Send Your ResponseYour comments must be received by the end of January 2010 in order to beconsidered in the review.Your response will be accepted in English or French, in writing or alternativeformats, such as audio or video recordings. Please send them:By E-Mail:CFSAreview@Ontario.caBy Mail:CFSA ReviewStrategic Planning and Analysis BranchMinistry of Children and Youth Services56 Wellesley Street West, 15th FloorToronto, Ontario M5S 2S3Please make sure you send your response by the end of January 2010.Thank you. 9
  12. 12. Better Outcomes for Children and YouthMCYS is guided by the principle that every child and youth should be betteroff as a result of the services they receive. Although this principle soundssimple, it involves a shift in how the ministry and its partners develop, deliverand assess services.In the past, discussions related to service delivery focused primarily on theoutputs of specific programs (what and how much service is provided).However, for our clients and the public it is no longer enough to look at howmany programs and services the ministry funds, or how many children andyouth participate in them. What matters to Ontarians are the results of theprograms and services: what happens to children and youth after participating,or what benefits are evident once the program has ended.That is why MCYS is committed to focusing on improving clients’ outcomes –on how services for children and youth contribute to their success later in life.While a number of service providers, other provinces and governments havebegun to consider this shift, there are no models or “best practice examples”that demonstrate how to use outcomes to drive service delivery. This reviewpresents an opportunity to discuss the role of legislation and the impact of theCFSA on outcome-based service delivery for children and youth in Ontario.Contributing to Common OutcomesIn order for outcomes to serve as the basis for service delivery, it is importantfor the ministry and its partners to identify, and reach agreement on, theparticular outcomes that are critical to the long term success of children andyouth. To work effectively it is important to know what we are workingtowards.This joint responsibility is reflected in one of the goals of the MCYS strategicframework: everyone involved in service delivery contributes to achievingcommon outcomes. 10
  13. 13. An important step in this process is for the ministry and its partners tounderstand how each program and/or service helps children and youth toachieve these key outcomes, and how program and service delivery can befocused to support these achievements.The ministry has launched a discussion on moving to outcomes-based servicedelivery by identifying two priority outcomes for children and youth. Theseoutcomes, included in the strategic framework, were selected based onevidence showing them to be key contributors to the lifelong success ofchildren and youth: • Graduation from secondary school; and • Building the ability of children and youth to recover from adversity – their personal capacity for resilience.The CFSA’s paramount purpose, “to promote the best interests, protection andwell being of children”, reflects additional foundations for the achievement ofsuccessful life outcomes by children and youth. This review of the Actpresents the ministry with the opportunity to have a discussion focused onwhether the legislation effectively supports the outcomes that matter most toyoung people’s success and to identify any additional outcomes that should bereflected in the CFSA, its regulations or policies. 1. What do you think are the important results for children and youth who participate in programs and services provided for in the CFSA? Why? 2. Does the CFSA reflect these outcomes and/or effectively link individual services to these outcomes? 11
  14. 14. 3. Are these outcomes affected by the physical, cultural, emotional, linguistic and/or other differences among children and youth? How?4. Are there specific changes to the Act and its regulations that will help the ministry and its partners focus on and achieve outcomes?5. Are there specific changes to policies or guidelines that will help the ministry and its partners achieve these outcomes?6. Additional Comments: 12
  15. 15. Improving Outcomes by Working TogetherThe programs and services provided for in the CFSA include: • Child welfare; • Youth justice; • Child development and child treatment services; and • Community support services.As well, the Act provides for the licensing of children’s residential services and therights of children while in residential care.Many children and youth involved in these services need more than one typeof program or support to help them realize their full potential.When children need multiple services, and when these services are deliveredby multiple providers from across a range of disciplines and/or sectors, theability of providers to work together is a key factor in achieving better resultsfor children and youth.Accordingly, the ministry is committed to improving service alignment andsupporting increased collaboration. In this review of the CFSA, the ministry isinterested in learning about barriers created by the Act for agencies workingwith: • Programs and services provided through the CFSA; and • Other programs and services funded or provided through MCYS (for example, intercountry adoption, child care, Healthy Babies Healthy Children and other early child development programs).The ministry may need to explore when and how service providers can shareinformation about clients. Also, consideration may be given to putting in placecommon requirements across several program areas, or improving consistencyof criteria that guide service provision.The ministry is interested in your feedback on challenges and/or barriers theCFSA creates for providers working together, or for the families they serve. 13
  16. 16. 7. Are you aware of MCYS programs and services that work together to make it easier for families to get the services they need? What does “working together” mean to you? Please give examples.8. Are there parts of the CFSA that make it difficult for service providers to work together? Please tell us how. What changes can be made that would support increased collaboration?9. What changes could be made to the legislation, regulations and/or policy guidelines that would improve how we work together (e.g. facilitating information sharing, the inclusion of a wider range of sectors, etc.)?10. Additional Comments: 14
  17. 17. Improved Service ExperienceClients have expectations on how they should be treated and served, and everyday the ministry hears from children, youth and families about theirexperiences in using its services. As a result, in addition to focusing onimproving outcomes, the ministry is committed to helping to improve theexperiences people have as they use services the ministry funds or provides.There is an important link between the ministry’s commitments to supportbetter outcomes and to enhance the service experience of clients. The successof all services depends on the participation and motivation of children, youthand families. Without their active and sustained involvement, it is impossibleto achieve better outcomes.In defining a good service experience, the ministry proposes that clientsshould: • Be supported with respect and dignity; • Have opportunities to shape services they take part in; • Be able to understand and, where possible, make choices about the services available to them; • Only have to tell their stories once; • Have continuity of care yet be able to move easily between services and providers when appropriate or desired; • Receive consistent and reliable provision of service; and • Have clear methods for resolving concerns and complaints.The ministry appreciates your response to the opportunities and/or barriers thatthe CFSA and its related regulations and policies create to better serviceexperiences. 11. Please describe what a good service experience means to you. 15
  18. 18. 12. Please tell us about changes that need to be made to the CFSA that would help improve your current service experience. 13. What changes are most important and most urgent? Why? 14. Additional Comments:Modernizing the ActThe CFSA was proclaimed in 1985 and over the last 24 years has beenchanged or amended a number of times. The ministry is taking the opportunityof a general review of the Act to explore ways in which the legislation can beupdated to better reflect Ontario’s current service delivery, social andlegislative environments. 16
  19. 19. Reducing Administrative BurdenIn the strategic framework, the ministry commits to reducing theadministrative burden it places on agencies so that they can focus on whatmatters most – improving outcomes and service experiences of children, youthand families.The commitment to reduce administrative burdens is in line with thegovernment’s Open for Business initiative.In the following section, please identify improvements to the CFSA, itsregulations and/or policies that will help create a simple, straightforward andmore effective environment for service providers to operate theirorganizations. Consider changes to the CFSA that would: • Simplify and streamline requirements; • Remove out-dated, obsolete regulations; • Eliminate duplication; and • Explore alternatives to regulation. 15. Do the requirements of the CFSA create unnecessary administrative burdens? Please explain. 16. Do you have suggestions on how these burdens could be reduced or eliminated? 17
  20. 20. 17. Within the context of this review of the CFSA, are there specific things that government can do to make it easier for you to administer your organization? 18. Additional Comments:Improving Accessibility and Recognizing DiversityAccounting for Ontario’s diversity and the multiple needs of many clients, theministry’s strategic framework includes a commitment to greaterpersonalization in service delivery. Here, personalization means tailoringservices to clients’ preferences, needs, potential and evolving lives.The CFSA directs service providers to “take into account the physical,cultural, emotional, spiritual, mental and developmental needs and differencesamong children.” This review presents an opportunity to identify areas wherethe CFSA could be changed to better respond to and meet the needs ofOntario’s diverse population and the government’s commitment toaccessibility. 18
  21. 21. 19. Does the CFSA legislation, its regulations and/or policy guidelines create barriers for people from diverse backgrounds and abilities? Please explain. 20. From the perspectives of diversity and/or accessibility, what could be changed in the CFSA to improve clients’ service experiences? 21. Additional Comments:Alignment with Other LegislationOther legislative frameworks can apply to services provided for under theCFSA. It is important to address issues associated with legislative alignmentso that: • Families know the services they and their child or children receive meet current government standards; and • Service providers are better able to know which requirements apply to the programs they deliver. 19
  22. 22. This review presents an opportunity to identify what other pieces of legislationapply to the ministry’s programs and services and where further clarification isneeded. 22. What other legislation and/or regulations provide for the provision of your agency’s programs and services for children and youth? Or programs and services that you or your child/youth receive? 23. Does this legislation agree or conflict with what is contained in the CFSA? Please explain. 24. Have you ever been uncertain which legislation and/or regulations direct the work you are doing? 20
  23. 23. 25. Additional Comments: Thank you for participating in the review of the Child and Family Services Act. 21