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 Special Needs Agreement with parents. With 72% of all reasons for care indicated, neglect is the largest reason for care, particularly for Indigenous CYIC (75%) and Non-Indigenous CYIC (67%).
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 2018/19, it was one day in every approximately 3,000 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, 2018 – March 31, 2019 there were 20 children placed into hotels. Placements by Service Delivery Area and Delegated Aboriginal Authority were:
Reasons for Hotel stay are:
Police investigation(1 child)
Safety concern- police involved (2 children)
Safety concern-housing repair required (10 children)
Placement breakdown (2 children)
No placement available in area ( 2 children)
Family members displaced (3 children)
Of the 9 hotel stays, 2 were for one night, 2 were for two nights, 2 were for three nights, 1 was for six nights, 3 were for a week or more. Two children considered one placement but once child in hotel for two nights and other child for seven nights. See footnote.
Of the 20 children and youth placed in hotels, 85% were Indigenous.
Two lengthy stays of over one month due to housing repairs and placement breakdown.
One lengthy stay of almost 10 months due to planning for repatriation home to live with family.
Number of children and youth placed in hotel by age:
0-5: 3 children; 6-12: 7 children; 13-18: 10 children and youth.
The number of CYIC in December 2019 was 5,805. 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)
Younger children are more likely to be admitted into care. This is especially true for Indigenous children. Because younger CYIC are more likely to find permanency through adoption, return to parents or permanent transfer of guardianship, most CYIC are aged 0-12 and Indigenous CYIC are younger than Non-Indigenous CYIC.
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.