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 (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 2017/18, it was one day in every approximately 4,000 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, 2017 – March 31, 2018 there were 37 children placed into hotels. More than half of those children were displaced due to an emergency brought upon by the summer forest fires in the Thompson Cariboo Shuswap area. Placements by Service Delivery Area and Delegated Aboriginal Authority were:
In every hotel stay, children were accompanied by a caregiver.
Reasons for Hotel stay are:
Wildfire displacement (19 children)
Travel to placement delay/ due to flight delay (4 children)
Placement emergency (4 children)
Safety Issue: to maintain continuity with caregivers until housing is repaired following an emergency (3 children)
Caregiver continuity to support youth (3 children)
Placement breakdown (2 children)
Police Investigation (1 child)
No placement available in the area (1 child)
Of the 75 stays, 30 were for one night, 12 were for two nights, five were for three nights, six for four nights, five for five nights, two were for six nights and fifteen for a week or more.
Twelve of the 15 stays longer than 7 days were due to the forest fires in the Thompson-Cariboo-Shuswap region in the summer of 2017.
Of the 37 children and youth placed in hotels, 65% were Aboriginal
Two lengthy stays of 6 and 7 days were due to caregiver housing renovations following an emergency. The other lengthy stay of 12 days was due to a placement breakdown.
Number of children and youth placed in a hotel by age:
0 – 5 : 7 children; 6 – 12 : 10 children; 13 – 18 : 20 children & youth
The number of CYIC In March 2017, 6,950, was the lowest since April 1995, 22 years. 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.