In December 2011, the Ministry of Children and Youth Services initiated an operational review of the foster care program and services provided by the Children's Aid Society of the County of Prince Edward (PECAS).
The Ministry initiated the review because of concerns regarding allegations of sexual abuse of children in foster homes and because the society had been assigned a provisional foster care licence fox the 2nd consecutive time in 6 months.
The review process comprised the following activities:
The society has many dedicated board members and staff who have a strong commitment to providing effective child welfare services to children and who have a commitment to the organization and their community. However, the society is experiencing significant difficulty in a number of areas which is concerning from the perspective of services to children.
The extent of the difficulties are such that the society will require assistance from external expertise, at least in the short term to develop a comprehensive action plan that includes immediate remedial action in some areas and further review and analysis in others.
The requirements identified below will be imposed as terms and conditions on the foster care licence.
In December 2011, the South East Region of the Ministry of Children and Youth Services (MCYS) initiated an operational review of the foster care program at the Children's Aid Society of the County of Prince Edward (PECAS). The review was a response to recent events including:
This report presents the findings of the operational review team and requirements and recommendations to address issues identified in the course of the review.
PURPOSE AND SCOPE OF OPERATIONAL REVIEW
The purpose and scope of the operational review are set out in terms of reference which were presented to the executive director and board members of the Society on December 1, 2011 (See Appendix A)
The purpose of the review was to assess:
The scope of the review was to include:
The objectives of the review were to identify any opportunities for improvements in administrative procedures and any specific concerns about foster care practices. The review was to be a focussed and limited operational review rather than a comprehensive and in depth look at all aspects of the organization.
The review was carried out by a team with expertise in child welfare, interviewing, project management and program review. It was conducted under the authority of the Child and Family Services Act, Part 1, Section 6 (1) and section 17.
The majority of the interviews and file reviews were conducted from December 5 through December 19. Interviews with supervisors, front line staff, foster parents and foster children took place at office space obtained for that purpose. A few additional telephone interviews were conducted early in January. Files were reviewed at the society and the off site office location.
The review process comprised the following activities;
A total of 49 interviews were conducted including:
In the event that any child disclosed allegations of abuse or maltreatment in the course of an interview, it was agreed that the interviewers would report the information to a designated supervisor of the society.
It is important to emphasize that interviews were conducted in a way that recognized the society had experienced a number of disturbing events in the past year related to the investigation of allegations of sexual abuse in foster homes. The interviewers were directed to be sensitive to this fact and to avoid adding to any anxiety that any interviewees might be feeling. The Ministry's intent was to conduct a solution focussed rather than forensic review.
During the interviews, some individuals made statements that could not be corroborated through file or document reviews. Some of this information is included in the report and it is Identified as having come from a single source. Findings in this report are based on information that could be corroborated through the files.
The file review included:
In depth reviews were done of selected current files. ████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████ This limited review allowed for cross-checking of a number of related files in order to confirm information that appeared in individual files or was reported in interviews. In order to obtain comprehensive information about the foster homes, the team reviewed related electronic and/or hard copy ongoing files and case notes and, where applicable, child protection investigation files.
The Ministry provided 2 reports to the society prior to completion of the review.
On December 9, members of the review team met with the executive director and a supervisor to report that, based on the results of interviews with children and youth, no immediate safety concerns had been identified although a few issues had been reported to the CAS supervisor in accordance with the agreed upon protocol. The majority of those issues were known to the society and had been addressed previously. The new issues did not appear to meet the criteria for a formal child protection investigation. Subsequently, during an interview in early January ███████████████████████████████ inappropriate sexual behaviour ████████████████ This was reported to the supervisor. The MCYS program supervisor for the society has been advised of these reports and will follow up with the society for a report on action taken.
On December 22, the Ministry met with the board to report preliminary findings based on interviews and file reviews. At the meeting, a number of immediate concerns were identified and the board was asked to develop a high level action plan by January 6, 2012. This action was taken due to the serious nature of the concerns identified.
At the time of the review, there were 66 children in the care of the society. Of those, 34 were in foster homes and kin in care homes operated by the society. Based on information provided to the Ministry in the society's quarterly report, there were 36 active foster homes available in September, 2011.
The foster care program is supported by the resource department which includes a supervisor and 3.5 staff. Two other supervisors are responsible respectively for 7.5 and 8 front line protection and children in care staff with intake staff assigned exclusively to one of those supervisors. Prior to 2010, the executive director managed resource services and 3 supervisors managed protection and children in care services.
Although the focus of the operational review was foster care, other issues were identified in interviews and in the files. Those issues included protection services as well as governance and management practices. They were somewhat outside the scope of the review and were not investigated in the same depth. However, they are addressed in this report because they have a bearing on the well-being and safety of children in the care of the society and its capacity to deliver services.
This section of the report is organized according to the key areas of concern identified by the team:
Significant issues were found with respect to foster and kin in care services. These were identified through reviews of files and relevant documents in addition to interviews with staff, foster parents and children currently in foster care. Issues included:
The following findings are based on an analysis of the 18 km in care and 13 foster home files that were reviewed.
In addition, the reviewers noted the following with respect to administrative practices:
The review team also identified concerns with respect to record keeping practices:
Children and youth were interviewed primarily to determine if they were safe and secondarily to obtain information on the services being provided to them in the foster care program.
The interviews resulted in some disclosures which were previously known to the society, and 3 additional disclosures of new issues █████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████ All of this information was reported to the designated supervisor at the society for follow up.
In addition, some children said that meeting with workers in the foster home did not afford an appropriate level of privacy. The CPSA requires that workers have meetings in private with children.
For the most part, the children and youth indicated that they had a good relationship with their workers and with their foster parents. Generally, they indicated that they trusted their workers. A number of the youth said that there were things they would not tell their workers in some cases for fear of repercussion and this is consistent with what is known about victimology and children in care.
There were differing reports from foster parents about their experiences with the society.
There is evidence of conflict between the Society and the former foster family association that had existed for some time and culminated with a letter to the board. Some members of the foster family association felt they were unable to resolve this conflict with management and escalated their concerns to the board level.
Some senior society staff indicated that they believe the issues have been resolved with the change in the executive of the FFA.
In interviews, foster parents identified a number of specific concerns related to service delivery:
All foster parents were able to point to some positive working relationships with some staff. Foster parents who have been with the organization for a number of years reported that there has been a reduction in the level of support available to them in recent years.
Newer foster parents were more positive la their comments about their relationship with the society and. the level of support that they receive.
The executive director has reported to the Ministry that there has been a consultation with the FFA and that there will be ongoing consultations with foster parents to seek advice and provide opportunities for discussion of proposed changes to practice. It was not clear if there is a concrete plan for implementation.
The operational review team reviewed the most recent foster care licensing review and the Crown ward review and found similarities in the issues identified.
The initial licensing review was conducted in April 2011 and resulted in a number of terms and conditions being issued to the society, When those terms and conditions were not adequately addressed, a provisional licence was assigned with an October 31 expiry date. In October, another licensing review was conducted resulting in many more terms and conditions and a response required within 1 month. The society did not successfully address all of the terms and conditions.
Subsequently, a licensing report was presented to the society on December 5 by the Ministry (See Appendix B) with a number of terms and conditions and a response required by December 31, 2011. A response was received and some provisions were removed. However, because all of the provisions had not been adequately addressed, another provisional licence was issued with an expiry date of May 15, 2012.
The December licensing report included 22 terms and conditions addressing a number of areas including:
In the past 5 years, 4 provisional licences have been assigned in the South East Region: 3 have been assigned to the Prince Edward CAS and 1 to another society for a short period of time in 2007.
The Crown Ward Review was completed in April 2011 (See Appendix C) and it contained a number of positive comments about services provided by the society to lie Crown wards in its care. However, it concluded that the society's overall legislative compliance has declined from 73.5% to 60.7% since 2009. Similarly, the number of the directives per case has more than doubled during this time from 0.41 to 1.18. The areas identified for attention included the following:
These reviews coupled with the current operational review, suggest that the society is having increasing difficulty in meeting requirements for children in care.
The terms of reference for the operational review did not include a full review of protection services. However, the lines of inquiry called for a review of intake and investigations processes relevant to concerns about foster care services. The review team was directed to review the intake and investigation processes and protocols of allegations about foster parents, including a documentation review and interviews with staff related to these functions. Consequently, the team asked staff about investigation processes and reviewed some protection files that involved child protection investigations in foster homes.
The information obtained raised questions regarding:
In interviews, child protection staff stated that there were problems related to compliance with the child protection standards. It was also noted that staff reported that they could not accurately provide information on caseloads because some cases that should be closed remain open.
The following issues were identified through file reviews or interviews with staff:
In addition to the above, the protocol for joint investigations with the police was reviewed and there was an interview with the police. The OPP reported that it had a generally, good working relationship with the society. A few areas for improvement were cited including the need for a better shared knowledge about the respective roles, responsibilities and expectations of the OPP and the society during and after an investigation. They also had questions about information sharing in relation to the status of a case. The OPP noted the distinction between a police criminal investigation and a CAS child protection investigation. It was not always clear in the CAS files or in the interviews with staff that this distinction was consistently being made or that it was understood.
In addition to current files, the review team looked at the foster home files and related, protection files in which there had been allegations of sexual abuse. ████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████
There was very little information in this foster home file. The electronic file contained only 1 supervisory note. There was also very little information in the resource home ongoing and casenotes files. The hard copy file contained limited information██████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████
In this case, there is evidence in the files of 11 alleged incidents including allegations of sexual molestation made by children. Two of these allegations were investigated and neither was verified. The rationale for the decisions is not recorded. ███████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████
██████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████ this case the child protection investigation conducted by the society does not appear to have been in compliance with child protection investigation standards. The CAS worker was not involved in the interview of the alleged perpetrator. la addition, the CAS investigation was delayed for 30 days while the worker was on holidays and the OPP proceeded with interviews. The alleged abuse was not verified by the CAS. There is no rationale recorded for the CAS decision ██████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████
Finally, information about an ongoing protection case came to the attention of the review team while reviewing a kin in care home file. The child in the home had previously been the subject of an open protection case and there was a period of 5 months in which there were no documented monthly home visits with the child and family, as required by the child protection standards. During this time there were 3 reports from the community expressing concerns.
In addition to the file reviews, the operational review team looked at the child protection policies and procedures. They appear to be a simple re-statement of the MCYS standards rather than providing guidance to workers on how standards are to be met within the context of the society culture and the community. In interviews, supervisors stated that the policies and procedures 'need work'. This comment was made with, respect to all of the society's policies and procedures.
The terms of reference for the review did not call for specific inquiries into governance and management but did direct the team to examine society procedures and activities insofar as they impact on capacity to effectively manage the foster care program. The terms of reference included consideration of administrative controls as they relate to completeness and accuracy of information used for decision-making purposes, compliance with policies, practices and regulations and controls incorporated in the administrative systems, in addition, the team was directed to consider the society's follow up action with regard to the allegations of abuse in foster care. It is important to emphasize that governance and management were not investigated in detail by the operational review team and that a number of the findings are based almost exclusively on interviews.
Concerns identified include:
Two board members were interviewed and staff were asked about interaction with the board. There was no review of board minutes to fully assess the questions that were raised by the interviews. The following areas were, identified as potential concerns:
In addition to the foregoing, it was noted that some board members learned of the allegations of sexual abuse in foster homes through the media. This called into question whether the board as a whole is receiving the information it needs in order to manage risk and exercise its responsibilities for oversight
As noted, the board seems to get most of its information from the executive director and, while it is recognized that there needs to be a level of trust between the board and the executive director, it is also important that there be a logical system of checks and balances that provides the board with the objective information it requires to fulfill its responsibilities.
In conducting interviews and file reviews, a number of issues and questions were identified related to the management and administration of the society. Some of those matters were clearly within the scope of the review while others bore an indirect relationship to it. The key concerns identified are:
With respect to the sexual abuse allegations, the executive director has reported to the ministry that the following steps have been taken:
In addition, it is believed that there was a critical incident debrief in 1 foster home for children who had been involved and one supervisor indicated she had spoken specifically to one of her staff regarding availability of counselling. It is also understood that the executive director and the board chair have sought legal advice.
Although a number of steps have been taken, it does not appear that the management team has followed up on the review of placements, the session for youth or the foster parent consultations noted above. Nor does it appear to have developed a comprehensive and cohesive approach to addressing impact including:
In the course of interviewing staff about foster care services; it became evident that there was a significant amount of conflict within the organization and that it had a direct impact on the ability of the society to achieve coordinated and collaborative approaches to service delivery for children. With few exceptions, the staff interviewed identified serious concerns about the working environment Following is a summary of the information provided in interviews:
The team interviewed a cross section of staff and found evidence of conflict across the organization. Staff described the work environment as very divided and very stressful. Staff who have been with the organization for some time indicate that there was a positive working environment that began to change approximately 4 years ago followed by significant deterioration within the last 18 to 24 months.
In contrast to the foregoing, there were a few positive comments made by a few staff. The team also found that despite concerns about the work environment staff expressed a commitment and dedication to their work on behalf of children. In addition, some acknowledged issues and identified the kinds of constructive changes that need to be made within the society including changes in policies and procedures, relationships with foster parents and support to staff.
The society has many dedicated board members and staff who have a strong commitment. to providing effective child welfare services to children and who have a commitment to the organization and their community. However, the society is experiencing significant difficulty in a number of areas which is concerning from the perspective of services to children.
The extent of the difficulties are such that the society will require assistance from external expertise, at least in the short term, to develop a comprehensive plan that includes immediate remedial action in some areas and further review and analysis in others.
RECOMMENDATIONS AND REQUIREMENTS
The requirements identified below will be imposed as terms and conditions on the foster care licence for the society.
PECAS Foster Care Program Operational Review Report
January 25, 2012
PURPOSE OF OPERATIONAL REVIEW
The Operational review will focus on the foster care program and services in The Children's Aid Society of the County of Prince Edward (the Society). The focus Is on safety of children and youth who have and are currently residing in foster care homes and the efficacy of actions taken with respect to the foster care program and services at the Society. The review will examine administrative controls as they relate to completeness and accuracy of information used for decision making purposes. Potential operational improvements in administrative procedures and specific concerns of foster care practices are also Included as part of the review,
This review is being conducted under the authority of the Child and Family Services Act, Part 1, Section 6 (1).
The Operational review of the foster care program and services in Prince Edward Children's Aid Society may include:
|Potential Line of Inquiry||Process|
|Safety and Supports for children and youth in receipt of PECAS Foster Services.||Interviews with children and youth - Frontenac CAS worker and Crown Ward Reviewer will meet all children and youth currently placed in foster homes at the PE CAS to assess whether all children and youth are safe.|
|Comprehensive review of Society's foster care policies, procedures, recruitment, screening and training requirements.||Review team will review Prince Edward CAS foster care policies and procedures recruitment, screening and training requirements for foster parents including home study approval process. Policies will be reviewed to assess compliance with Standards.|
|Staff training requirements||Review team will review Society training requirements for all foster care staff and assess whether staff has received training.|
|Review of foster care provisional licence||Program Supervisor and Program Advisor will document reasons for provisional licence and the Society response to date|
|Intake and Investigation processes relevant to concerns about foster care services||Review team will review the intake and investigation processes and protocols of allegations about foster parents, Including documentation review and Interviews with staff related to these functions.|
|Policies and procedures associated with opening, utilization and closing foster homes.||Review team will review all documented policies and procedures and interview staff related to the opening, utilization and closing of foster homes including a review of foster family files.|
|Systemic, operational, and case specific follow up by the agency regarding allegations of abuse In while in foster care||Review team will review Individual cases and follow up on. children and youth alleging abuse while in foster care to review what steps were taken and determine if there was appropriate follow up.|
|File Review of Children in Care placed in Foster Homes||Review team will review all files of children currently placed in foster care. Review will include: case #, date of admission, reason for admission, assessment of needs on file, does placement appear to meet the needs of the child, any allegations of abuse since placement, follow up and timeframes, actions taken, staff involved.|
|Foster Care and Ongoing workers Staffing Caseload Review||Review of organizational chart and accountabilities. Review of foster care staffing caseloads/supervisory span of control.|
|Society follow-up with Regional Office regarding Serious Occurrence reporting and Society's complaint procedures||Program Supervisor will undertake serious occurrence reporting as regular Program Supervisor activity. Review of data related to any complaints within the Society and complaints taken to the Child & Family Services Review Board.|
|Establish a Review follow up team||A review follow up team will be established with Ministry and Children's Aid Society of the County of Prince Edward staff and Board representation to support implementation.of recommendations. Program Supervisor for the Society will be a member of the review follow up team.|
OPERATIONAL REVIEW STEPS
The Operational Review team will meet with the Board Chair and Executive Director to outline the approach to the operational review. Management will be requested to identify any areas of possible concern or Interest to be included In the review. A formal communication will be sent from the Ministry of Children and Youth Services to all staff and foster parents of Prince Edward Children's Aid Society to notify them of the operational review. Individuals will also be notified of the requirement to participate In Interviews if necessary and to provide them with contact information if they wish to meet with the review team.
The operational review team will conduct individual interviews with all children and youth currently in foster care to assess immediate safety. Interviews will also be conducted with senior management and foster care staff and associated people as required to obtain details of organizational systems and procedures. Where procedures or systems impact on other agency units, interviews may be conducted with personnel in the other units. Interviews will also be conducted with the foster parent association, and any foster family or child or youth wishing to meet with the operational review team.
Agency policies and procedures related to foster care services will be reviewed. Children in care files will be reviewed for all children currently placed in foster care. Investigation files related to children in foster care, and Foster Family files will be reviewed to determine identified issues and actions taken. The scope of the documentation review will span from 2008 to current date, unless otherwise warranted. The Information obtained in the file review and interviews will be used to. prepare written narratives to document the foster care system.
The Operational Review team will use the above documentation to evaluate controls and identify areas for potential operational improvements. "Best practice" information may be obtained from reference materials or through surveys of other organizations. An Internal control evaluation will be used to determine compliance with relevant policies and practices, the CFSA and regulations.
A written report of observations and recommendations will be prepared and shared with the Board of Directors and Executive Director of the Prince Edward Children's Aid Society and as appropriate within the Ministry.
An Operational Review,team has been established to include expertise in foster care, governance and accountability, investigative procedures and operational review processes.Review Team
|Suzanne Hamilton||Project Manager Develop process to conduct interviews, tracking sheets, and documentation of review findings. Take part in Interviews with stakeholders including Society staff, board members, Foster Care Association and others wishing to speak to the review team. Review documentation, policies and procedures. Write draft and final Reports Including Recommendations.||Experienced Project Manager|
|David Remington||Lead Program Supervisor Take part in interviews with stakeholders including Society staff, board members, Foster Care Association and individuals wishing to speak to the review team. Review documentation, policies and procedures including caseloads and supervisory span of control.||Program Supervisor, South East Regional Office|
|Judi Shields||Interview children and youth currently in foster care in Prince Edward County to assess immediate safety.
Review systemic, operational and case specific follow up by the agency regarding allegations of abuse while in foster care Including reviewing children in care, investigation and foster family files. Take part in interviews with stakeholders including Society staff, board members, Foster Care Association and individuals wishing to speak to the review team.
|Crown Ward Reviewer MCYS
Former Director at Simcoe CAS
|Lisa Tripp||Interview children and youth currently in foster care In PE to assess Immediate safety.
Review systemic, operational and case specific follow up by the agency regarding allegations of abuse while in foster care including reviewing Children in Care, Investigation and foster family files. Take part In Interviews with stakeholders including Society staff, board members, Foster Care Association and Individuals wishing to speak to the review team.
|Manager, Children's. Aid Society of the City of Kingston and the County of Frontenac|
|Anne Moloney||Review of foster care provisional licence and society response to date.
Review of Society follow up with Regional Office regarding Serious Occurrence Reporting.
|Program Supervisor, South East Regional Office|
|Sandra Lowe||Review, of foster care provisional licence and society response to date.||Licensing Specialist, South East Regional Office|
|Anna Raimondo||Review of process to assess whether legal requirements are met.||Lawyer, Legal Services Branch|
A review follow up team has been established with Ministry and Prince Edward CAS representation including board representation to support implementation of recommendations. The Program Supervisor for the Society will be a member of the review follow up team.
Duty to Report
The Review team will be instructed around issues pertaining to our duty to report if immediate safety issues are uncovered during the review process. This process will be documented including reporting, oversight and review of Issues uncovered.
The Review team will contact the local OPP detachment to notify them of the Operational Review to help, ensure we do not intrude on any current police investigations that may be underway.
December 5, 2011
Mr. William. Sweet Executive Director Children's Aid Society of the County of Prince Edward P.O. Box 1510 16 MacSteven Drive Picton ON K0K 2T0
Dear Mr. Sweet:
Re: 2011 Licensing Report - Foster Care Program
This licensing report is based on the site visits of October 24, 25 and 26, 2011, which were conducted by Pat Tretina and Sandra Lowe, Program Advisors, South Bast Region, Ministry of Children and Youth Services, and the responses received from your agency on November 7th, 2011. The following is the program information, the review data summary and responses.
Policies and Procedures
Policies and Procedures were reviewed as part of the initial licensing review in May 2011. Effective August 1, 2011, the operator has developed and implemented policies and procedures compliant with the Ministry of Children and Youth Services new and amended policy requirements for Safe Administration, Storage and Disposal of Medication, and Improved Communication and Transfer of Medication Information
The agency has failed to address all of the issues raised during the licensing review. A Provisional License will be issued which will expire on May 15, 2012, with the following Terms and Conditions:-
The operator of this foster care program is responsible to ensure the requirements of the Child and Family Services Act are met and maintained at all times. If you have any questions or concerns regarding licensing, please contact me at 1-800-646-3209, ext. 7266.
Sandra Lowe Program Advisor Program & Compliance Review South East Region
c: Anne Moloney, Program Supervisor
Crown Ward Review
28 Crown wards reviewed 5 Crown wards reviewed for the first time 23 Crown wards previously reviewed 22 Crown wards completed confidential questionnaires 1 Crown wards requested an interview █ Crown wards of native heritage, of which, █ Status Indians █ eligible for review of status
SUMMARY OF FINDINGS SERVICE
The focus of this section of the review is on the provision of service delivery to the children being reviewed. As in previous years, the recommendations (found in Appendix 2) are case related and made for the.Society's consideration.
Table 1 represents a breakdown of the ages of the children reviewed at the time of Grown wardship and at the time of review:
TABLE 1 - Age at Time of Review
|Age||Average||0-9 Years||10-12 Years||13-17 Years|
|At Time of Review||14.5||3||6||19|
|At Time of Crown wardship||9.1||13||10||5|
As seen in Table 1,19 (67.9%) of the 28 children and youth reviewed were between the ages o 13 and 17 years. The average age at the time of review was 14.5 years. Planning for this group requires services that focus on maintaining youth in stable placements and preparing them for independence. Children had access to recreational, skills building and financial management opportunities to provide them with the life skills needed for successful independence. There was evidence of consideration of the use of the Ontario Child Benefit Equivalent (OCBE) fund In the child's plan of care. Extended care and maintenance for youth who wish to receive ongoing financial support from the society past their 18th birthday was thoroughly documented. Transitional planning for those youth requiring service from the adult developmental sector was also well developed in case planning.
Nine children (32.1 %) were 12 years of age or younger, representing a population which, requires services that focus on permanency and continuity of care. While documentation reflected consideration of children's needs for permanency and enduring relationships, there were cases where permanency planning did not reflect the efforts of the Society to explore adoption and legal custody with long-term caregivers, kin, or others. Two recommendations were made to review children's permanency plans.
TABLE 2a - Primary Diagnosis
As seen in Table 2a, 24 (85.7%) of the 28 children reviewed had a diagnosis of a special need. These children and youth required specific programming and services to address their, identified needs. Eleven children were prescribed psychotropic medication (39.3%), which is lower than the 2009 provincial average of 49%. Fourteen children were involved in treatment (50.0%), which is above the 2009 provincial average of/41%,of children who received therapy, including speech, occupational and physiotherapy as well as counselling services. Specialized treatment needs were addressed in the planning services. Consultation with outside service providers contributed to effective planning for children and youth and recommendations from these professionals were reflected in case planning. In some cases updated assessments may be beneficial to assist in planning and ensure valid and up to date diagnoses and treatment plans for children and youth. Recommendations were made in four cases to consider updated psychological assessments.
TABLE 2b - Behavioural Issues
As noted in Table 2b, 10 children and youth.(35.7%) exhibited behavioural difficulties. There was consistent planning to identify and manage supports to children and their caregivers. The society utilized behaviour support services, including support from child and youth workers. This year, two children or youth (7%) were considered high risk due to behaviours that placed themselves and/or others at risk; Neither of these cases required follow up as the society recognized the needs of high risk youth and had made efforts to keep these children free from, harm. The 2009 provincial average Is 9% of youth designated as high risk.
|Frequent running behaviour||1|
|Inappropriate sexual behaviour||1|
|Involvement in prostitution||0|
|Self harming Behaviour||1|
|Suicidal Ideation / gesturing - current||0|
|Suicidal ideation / gesturing - historical||0|
TABLE 2c - Serious Occurrences
Table 2c indicates that 11 cases required serious occurrence reports over the previous year and all 11 reports were located in children's flies. The requirements for Serious Occurrence reporting were understood and met by the society.
|Serious Occurrences in previous 12 months||11||39.3%|
|Serious Occurrences in previous 12 months -cannot determine||0||0.0%|
|Serious Occurrence reports on file.||11||39.3%|
TABLE 2d - Previous History of Verified Abuse
|Sexual abuse - home verified||0||0.0%|
|Physical abuse - home verified||1||3.6%|
|Both sexual abuse home verified and physical abuse home verified||2||7.1%|
|Total abuse - home||3||10.7%|
|Sexual abuse resources verified||1||3.6%|
|Physical abuse resources verified||0||0.0%|
|Both sexual abuse resources verified and physical abuse resources verified||0||0.0%|
|Total abuse - resources||1||3.6%|
|Number of children/youth abused at home and in a resource||1||3.6%|
As noted in Table 2d, three children (10.7%) experienced abuse prior to admission to care.
One child reviewed experienced abuse following his/her admission to care. This situation occurred during the current review year. Appropriate steps were taken by the society to ensure the children received the planned treatment or support in response to the abuse he or she experienced. Planning indicated the Society's intent to pursue Criminal Injuries Compensation on the children's behalf.
|Prince Edward 2011||Ontario Year 2009|
|Previous History of Verified Abuse||10.7%||24%|
Appendix II provides a summary of the 25 service recommendations made in 14 cases.
Eleven recommendations were made to improve documentation, which included eight recommendations to enhance plans of care and recording. While significant improvements were noted this year in the development of planning, the documentation required additional work in some cases to address children and youth's strengths and needs with related objectives in each OnLac dimension either with a related objective or Indication of why an objective is not required. Children's plans of care took into account all available information on the child as set out in the Assessment and Action Record (AAR), any existing reports, as well as the child's social history. Social histories clearly documented tie rationale for significant decisions made and the child's significant experiences in care. More Information with regard a child's separation and placement history should be included in the documentation. Three recommendations were made to augment a child's social history.
Five recommendations were made to file pertinent reports, including Crown wardship orders and school reports. Two recommendations pertained to the documentation of the child's progress through progress reports from the therapist.
The society ensured that children and youth had opportunities to participate in age appropriate recreational activities,
SERVICES TO CHILDREN OF NATIVE HERITAGE ████ of the 28 children/youth reviewed ████ were identified as having native heritage. ████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████ were provided with opportunities to explore and develop knowledge of their cultural and spiritual heritage and to participate in cultural and spiritual practices.
Tables 3a and 3b reflect the educational profile of the children reviewed.
TABLE 3a - Educational Placement
|Secondary Alternative Program||2||7.1%|
|Not Attending School||1||3.6%|
As noted in Table 3a, 27 of the 28 children and youth reviewed (96.4%) were enrolled in a school program. Fifteen children (53.6%) had been reviewed by an IPRC Committee. The 2009 provincial average is 52%. Four children experienced suspensions during this review period.
TABLE 3b - Educational Progress
|Progressing well toward promotion||13||46.4%|
|Progressing with some difficulty towards promotion||13||46.4%|
|Promotion at risk||1||3.6%|
|N/A (see individual case reports)||1||3.6%|
As seen in Table 3b, 26 of the 27 children attending school (96.3%) were making progress towards promotion. Meeting children's educational needs was a consistent focus of the planning and there was evidence of advocacy within the school system to ensure children's educational programming was consistent with their abilities and they received educational supports. Educational placements were preserved whenever possible for children who experienced a placement change and youth were provided with support to make the transit;-to secondary school. There was discussion and planning for youth who were identifying post-secondary educational goals.
TABLE 4 - Placement Type,
|Regular foster care (CAS)||4||14%|
|Specialized foster care (CAS)||8||29%|
|Treatment foster care (CAS)||3||11%|
|CAS operated group home||0||0%|
|CAS operated parental model||0||0%|
|OPR - parent model||5||18%|
|OPR - foster||2||7%|
|OPR - staffed||4||14%|
|Provisional foster home||1||4%|
As seen in Table 4, of the 28 children and youth reviewed, 16 (57.1%) were placed in society operated resources, representing a decrease in the number of children placed within the society's own resources. Last year 65.5% of the children reviewed were placed in CAS operated settings. The 2009 provincial average is 49%. The society has developed the resources necessary to place and maintain the majority of children within society operated care.
Eleven children (39.3%) were placed in outside paid resources with four children (14%) residing In staffed resources. Placing and maintaining children In family settings and placement with kin continued to be a primary goal for the society. At the time of this year's review, 23 children (82.1%) were living in family based settings. The 2009 provincial average is 76%. Efforts were made to keep siblings together when it was In their best interests to do so.
The permanency plan for 14 of the children reviewed (50.0%) was long-term foster care. For five youth (17.9%), the permanency plan was independence and three children (10.7%) were identified as remaining in long-term residential care. A transition to adult services was planned for one child. The Society was actively seeking adoption for one child (3.6%). The 2009 provincial average is 5% of children reviewed for whom adoption was planned. The society supported the development and maintenance, of positive long term relationships for children and youth with their foster family and/or family of origin. There were four cases where the permanency plan was unclear and the children and youth may benefit from increased clarity with regard to their future permanency goals. Two recommendations were made to review children's permanency plans. In these cases the goals may not have reflected that all permanency options to ensure enduring relationships for children were explored and documented in ongoing case planning.
During an average of 65.0 months of Grown wardship, changes in placement and caseworker assignments Were as follows:
TABLE 5 - Frequency of Placement Change
|Prince Edward Average: 2011||1 placement every 18.2 months|
|Ontario Average:2009||1 placement every 27 months|
As noted in Table 5, the average placement length of the children and youth reviewed was 18.2 months which was shorter than the previous year's average of 22.3 months. The 2009 provincial average is a placement change on average every 27 months.
TABLE 6 - Placements Since Grown Wardship
|1 placement since Crown wardship||7|
|2 placements since Crown wardship||6|
|3 or more placements since Crown wardship||15|
As noted in Table 6, seven children and youth (25.0%) experienced placement continuity since Crown wardship. The children had an average of 3.6 placements since Crown wardship. The 2009 provincial average was 43% of children who had one placement since Crown wardship.
TABLE 7 Frequency of Caseworker Change
|Prince Edward Average: 2011||1 caseworker every 20.9 months|
|Ontario Average:2009||1 caseworker every 21.1 months|
As seen in Table 7, the children and youth reviewed experienced a change in caseworker on average every 20.9 months. The average length of caseworker assignment for the society's 2010 review was 22.9 months. Children and youth experienced less caseworker continuity on average over the last year and caseworker continuity was slightly below the provincial average of 21.1 months. The average number of caseworkers since Grown wardship was 3.1.
TABLE 8 - Caseworkers Since Crown Wardship
|1 caseworker since Grown wardship||8|
|2 caseworkers since Grown wardship||2|
|3 or more caseworkers since Crown wardship||20|
The average caseworker contact with children was 15.8 times in the past 12 months, which is greater than the 2009 provincial average, of 11.9 visits and consistent with the society's 2010 average of 15.7 visits. The society is to be commended for their accomplishment in. maintaining a high level of caseworker contact with children.
TABLE 9a - Access
|Court ordered access||19||87.9%|
|Court order no access||8||28.6%|
|Court order silent||1||3.6%|
|Court order - cannot determine||0||0.0%|
TABLE 9b - Access Exercised
|Mother only exercises||7||25.0%|
|Father only exercises||1||3.6%|
|Both parents exercise||8||28.6%|
|other family members exercise||10||35.7%|
As noted In Table 9a, of the 28 children reviewed, access was court ordered for 19 children (67.9%) and eight children (28.6%) had orders of no access. If in the child's best interests, efforts were made to preserve family connections for children. In many cases, children and youth were supported in their relationships with family members both by the society and their foster parents. Children's wishes were addressed and overall, appropriate action was taken by the society to assist the child with any difficulties arising from the access. There were cases where further documentation was required to address updated information about the family's current situation and cases where the children appeared to require additional support during visits. Two recommendations were made to review the access arrangements.
Table 9b notes that access was exercised by mothers in 25% of the cases reviewed. Access was exercised by fathers In 3.6% of the cases reviewed. Both parents exercised access in 28.6% of the cases. Other family members exercised access with children in 35.7% of the cases. Proactive efforts on the part of the society to ensure meaningful and active sibling contact were evident in case documentation. Access between siblings occurred frequently (85.7%). Nineteen of the 28 children reviewed had siblings in care.
RESPONSES FROM CHILDREN
TABLE 10 - Questionnaires and interviews
|Prince Edward 2011||Ontario 2007|
|Number of cases reviewed||28||5,548|
|Number of questionnaires submitted||22||2,742 (49%)|
|Number of interviews requested||1||289 (5%)|
As seen in Table 10, 22 children and youth completed confidential questionnaires. One child reviewed requested £n interview. Responses from the children and youth indicated that the majority were pleased with their placements, felt cared for, and trusted their caseworkers. The concerns expressed by children and youth included worries about their parents and siblings, being unhappy, getting along with their foster parents and other children in their foster homes, school, health, and what would happen to them when they turned 18 years of age and their wardship terminated.
None of the children and youth reviewed this year were placed on adoption probation.
SUMMARY OF FINDINGS: SYSTEMS
Table 11 indicates comparative figures for the past three years and the 2009 provincial average.
TABLE 11 - Overall Compliance
|Prince Edward 2009||Prince Edward 2010||Prince Edward 2011||Ontario 2009|
|Directives per Case Reviewed||0.41||0.48||1.18||0.50|
Seventeen files were in full legislative compliance. Thirty-three directives were issued in 11 cases. Two directives were issued for late minimum three month visits and two directives were issued for missed private visits. Twelve directives were issued for late plans of care, including four directives for a review within 30 days if a child moves, four directives for a late review of the plan of care and four directives for late supervisory endorsements of the plans of care. Five directives were issued for lack of timely AAR completion and five directives were issued for lack of timely update of a social history. Three directives were Issued for late medical and dental examinations. Four directives were issued to develop a plan of care to address a child's specific needs, Please refer to Appendix I for a complete list of directives issued in the current review.
The society's 2011 legislative compliance rate was 60.7%, a decrease over last year's rate of 69.0% and lower than the 2009 provincial average of 66%.
Areas Requiring Further Attention:
17 Cases in full legislative compliance 33 Directives Issued in 11 cases. 0 Cases not in compliance - no directives Issued.
Summary of Directives
0 7 day visit - 0 30 day visit 2 Minimum three month visits by social worker 2 Private visits 5 Child's family history 2 Annual medical exam 1 Annual dental exam 4 Review of plan of care 4 Review within 30 days if child moves 4 Review of plan by Supervisor 4 POC address specific needs 0 Annual school report 0 Discussion of rights 0 Plan of care residential resources 0 File Serious Occurrence Report 0 Comply Court Order 0 Status review 0 File to be reviewed by Program Supervisor 0 File to be reviewed by senior management 5 Assessment and Action Record
14 Cases required no service recommendations 25 Service recommendations were issued in 14 cases, as follows:
The recommendations are identified in the following themes:
A plan to address the above noted themes that emerged during the review can be provided to the Service Review and Compliance Unit as opposed to a response to individual recommendations made at the case level.
Summary of Recommendations
Compliance with Standards
|Standards||Cases where Applicable||Cases in Compliance||Level of Compliance|
|7 day visit||12||12.0||100.0%|
|30 day visit||12||12.0||100.0%|
|Minimum three month visits by social worker||28||26.0||92.9%|
|Child's family history||28||23.0||82.1%|
|Annual medical exam||28||25.0||89.3%|
|Annual dental exam||28||27.0||96.4%|
|Review of plan of care||18||14.0||77.8%|
|Review of plan within 30 days if child moves||12||8.0||66.7%|
|Review of plan by Supervisor||18||14.0||77.8%|
|POC address specific needs||28||24.0||85.7%|
|Annual school report||27||27.0||100.0%|
|Discussion of rights||28||28.0||100.0%|
|Plan of care residential resources||11||11.0||100.0%|
|Assessment and Action Record||28||23||82.1%|
Table 11 previously identified the overall compliance rate for The Children's Aid Society of the County of Prince Edward in 2011 as 60.7%. The overall compliance rate is calculated by determining the number of cases in full compliance. In this case, of the 28 cases reviewed, 17 of the cases were fully compliant.