Child, Youth and Family Services
May 13, 2009
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
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
"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 www.gov.nl.ca/cyfs.
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Director of Communications
Department of Child, Youth and Family Services
Key recommendations from the Clinical
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
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
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
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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