Permanency for Children & Youth in Care
Case Data and Trends
Permanent, stable relationships are a major determinant of whether children feel safe and secure and therefore, of well-being overall. Permanency is achieved by leaving the care of the Director of Child Welfare through family reunification, adoption or permanent transfer of custody under the Child, Family & Community Service Act (CFCSA).
Children and youth may be in care through a court order for protection reasons or through either a Voluntary Care or Support Needs Agreement with parents. With 72% of all reasons for care indicated, neglect is the largest reason for care, particularly for Indigenous CYIC (74%) and Non-Indigenous CYIC (66%).
CYIC in Care for at least six months have a Care Plan that details specific aspects of care tailored for each CYIC. MCFD standards require this plan to be updated annually. The Care Plan Current & Complete Rate is the proportion of CYIC whose care plans meet this standard. MCFD is working towards higher Care Plan current and completion rates.
Rarely (in 2020/21, it was one day in every approximately 4,207 days of care) a CYIC is placed into a hotel. This is usually for emergency or travel reasons as noted below. For the twelve month period April 1, 2020 – March 31, 2021 there were 15 children placed into hotels. Placements by Service Delivery Area and Delegated Aboriginal Authority were:
Reasons for Hotel stay are:
Protocol Investigation (1 child)
Placement breakdown (9 children)
Emergency repairs to foster home (2 children)
Safety concerns in community requiring relocation (1 child)
COVID Quarantine (1 child)
Medical procedure (1 child)
Of the 21 hotel stays, 5 were for one night; 2 were for two nights; 1 for three nights; 2 were for four nights; 4 were over one week; 1 was over two weeks; 4 were over one month; 2 was over two months.
Of the 15 children and youth placed in hotels, 93% were indigenous.
Number of children and youth placed in hotel by age:
0-5: 1 child; 6-12: 2 children; 13-18: 12 children and youth
The number of CYIC in March 2021 was 5,259. This was the lowest since 1990, 30 years ago. The following chart shows that the number of CYIC has been falling steadily since its peak in June 2001 (10, 748). MCFD has strived to keep children safely with their families when possible, i.e. prevent admission into Care and, when a child needs to come into Care, MCFD works to reunify the family when safe to do so, or seek other forms of permanency such as living with extended family or adoption. MCFD is working to further reduce the number of CYIC, particularly for Indigenous CYIC.
Youth Agreements (YA)
Most youth aged 16 – 18 that need residential services from MCFD are appropriately served through a YA rather than being in care. In contrast to CYIC, most Youth Agreements are for Non-Indigenous youth, partially contributing to the over-representation of Indigenous CYIC.