News Releases
Government Home Search Sitemap Contact Us  

Child, Youth and Family Services
May 13, 2009

Minister Releases Clinical Services Review

Citing the need for change, the Honourable Joan Burke, Minister of Child, Youth and Family Services, today released a report highlighting serious systemic weaknesses within the child and youth protection system in Newfoundland and Labrador.

"The issues outlined in the report underscore why a new department has been created to focus solely on the needs of children, youth and their families," said Minister Burke. "This government is committed to a transformation from the ground up. We are determined to make the necessary changes to ensure the safety of our children."

The Clinical Services Review is an evaluation of the clinical social work and management practices within the child, youth and family services program. The report is based on a review of 400 files (active between April 1, 2007 to March 31, 2008) from across seven program areas (Protective Intervention, Family Services, Child Welfare Allowance, Children in Care, Caregiver Homes, Youth Services, Cases Screened Out of Service). It was commissioned by the Provincial Government after the release of the Turner Review and Investigation, which was the first child death review in the province.

Authored by external consultant and child protection expert, Susan Abell, the clinical review found that work is stronger at the outset of assessment and intervention but decreases with time. It also found that significant improvements are needed in the areas of case planning and documentation, social worker contact, policies and standards and risk management.

The report recommends the establishment of a leadership team to drive change and a revision of current legislation to provide a more child-centred focus. In addition, the report stresses the need to stabilize the workforce, implement mandatory professional training, create a new system for managing complex cases and institute consistent procedures and quality controls.

"I accept in full all of the recommendations in the report," said Minister Burke. "I am appointing a leadership team to ensure the recommendations are carried out. The clinical review will be used as a guiding document as we move forward to a new era in child protection. In the interim, we are addressing any immediate risk by reviewing all files within the protective intervention program and following up with the appropriate action required. I would like to thank Susan Abell and her team for their diligence and thoroughness in producing this extremely valuable report."

Since 2006, government has invested $24 million to support child, youth and family services in this province. Two hundred and twenty-three new positions have been created since 2006 and $1.3 million will be invested this year to increase foster care rates in the province.

"We must now make sure that the new resources and investments are utilized to their greatest potential," said Minister Burke. "The creation of a new department gives us the opportunity to review all our existing programs and services and to focus on addressing the gaps and shortcomings. This is not about a series of quick fixes. We have a long way go. There are major systemic issues and we need to ensure frontline staff have the tools and supports they need to protect our most vulnerable children."

Announced under Budget 2009, the creation of the new Department of Child, Youth and Family Services signals the Provincial Government�s commitment to building a revitalized system that is responsive to the priority needs of children and that operates within a culture of accountability and excellence.

"I truly believe that we can create the best child and youth protection system in the country," said Minister Burke. "As the Clinical Services Review notes, the lives of the children of Newfoundland and Labrador depend on it."

The Clinical Services Review is available online at

- 30 -

Media contact:
Susanne Hiller
Director of Communications
Department of Child, Youth and Family Services
709-729-5148, 697-3760


Key recommendations from the Clinical Services Review:

Leadership: Appoint a mandated leadership team with sufficient resources and time within which to undertake the necessary reform of the child protection system.

Legislative Reform: The current legislation requires review and updating in several areas in order to achieve greater clarity of purpose with a more child-centred focus.

Stabilization of the Workforce: There is an urgent need to stabilize the province�s workforce through the development of a coordinated, province-wide recruitment and retention program.

Training and Development: The development of a comprehensive training and development program which includes both mandatory and specialized components.

Management of Complex Cases: A system for the management of complex cases is needed.

Policy and Procedure: Work already undertaken to develop the Child, Youth and Family Services Policy and Standards Manual should be continued in order to develop greater clarity regarding requirements and expectations for service delivery.

Workload: An accurate picture of the workload and the current work needs to be ascertained. From this, workload benchmarks must be developed and implemented to direct staff recruitment, management and assignment of work.

Documentation: Current standards of documentation need to be reviewed. Attention needs to be given to the implementation of formats, file organization and timeliness for the system.

Infrastructure and Information Technology: Accurate, timely information and training on how it is to be utilized to set targets, monitor and evaluate service goals.


Program Areas

Protective Intervention Program

The protection of children under the age of 16 who have suffered or are at risk of suffering harm or maltreatment. The Protective Intervention Program is mandated under the Child Youth and Family Services Act to intervene, assess and secure the safety, health and well-being of children in accordance the legislation.

Family Services Program

The Family Services Program is designed to provide a continuum of direct and community services that are preventive and aimed at early intervention. Services are delivered using contracts with families and or community service providers. The goal is to provide services to support children at risk and their families.

Referrals Screened Out of Service

Child, Youth and Family Services provide an intake service to receive reports about child maltreatment and requests for services from the community and to assess eligibility for its services.

Children in Care

This refers to all forms of substitute care provided under the authority of the Child, Youth and Family Services Act. This includes children in care and custody under the terms of a voluntary agreement, an order of interim care, temporary custody orders and continuous custody orders. Children in care and custody have placements with approved caregivers, in group homes and in other specialized settings.

Caregiver Homes (Foster Care)

This program refers to the approval and oversight of various placements that are provided by caregivers. Caregivers include relatives and significant others who are approved to provide substitute care for a child or youth in care and custody. It also includes non- custodial parents and non-relatives who are approved as caregivers.

Child Welfare Allowance

The Child Welfare Allowance Program provides support and financial services to relatives or significant others who are willing and capable of providing care to a child who is in need of protective intervention.

Youth Services Program

The goal of the Youth Services Program is to assist youth to make the transition to adulthood. Services are provided to youth up to the age of 21 who have been in care prior to age 16. The program provides supports to vulnerable youth between 16 and 18 years of age and who enter into a voluntary agreement.

2009 05 13                                                  9:40 a.m.

SearchHomeBack to GovernmentContact Us

All material copyright the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador. No unauthorized copying or redeployment permitted. The Government assumes no responsibility for the accuracy of any material deployed on an unauthorized server.
Disclaimer/Copyright/Privacy Statement