Services to Children in Need of Protection
A response to a Child Protection report may include a Family Development Response (FDR), an investigation, a Youth Service Response, or a non-protective response such as offer of support services or referral to community agency. Over the past several years MCFD has increasingly focused on using FDR by working in collaboration with families to address child protection concerns and using investigations for situations when evidence is required to determine if a child needs protection. This report presents data and outcome indicators that support the appropriate use of FDR as an alternative to investigation.
4.00 Family Preservation Rates
Evidence has shown that children and youth have far better social, health, education, and economic outcomes when they live safely with a family – a parent, family member or extended family, or in a home with permanent caregivers – than they do in government care. The strategic direction of the ministry is to invest in supports to help preserve families, while continuing to ensure the safety of children and youth.
The percentage of Family Preservation shows the percentage of children who were not admitted into care within 12 months of Investigations and FDR. The March 2021 Family Preservation rate is based on children who had closed Investigations and FDR between April 2019 and March 2020.
There is a gap between Indigenous Family Preservation and Non-Indigenous Family Preservation. In March 2021, the Indigenous Family Preservation rate is 6 percentage points lower than the Non-Indigenous Family Preservation rate in the province. This gap has shrunk from 7.5% in March 2020 to 6.4% in March 2021. The ministry strives to improve Indigenous Family Preservation and reduce the over-representation of Indigenous children in the child welfare system.
4.16 Relative Use of Admissions into Care and Admissions to Out-of-Care (OCO)
When appropriate, OCOs are a best practice. The well-being of children and youth is, overall, better when children and youth can continue to live with their extended families. Sometimes children and youth can be placed in OCO options as a substitute for admission into Care.
OCO includes the following agreements and court orders:
Extended Family Program Agreements
Interim Custody with Other under Director’s Supervision – s. 35(2)(d)
Interim Custody with Other under Director’s Supervision – s. 35(2)(d) – Consent
Temporary Custody with Other under Director’s Supervision – s. 41(1)(b), 42.2(4)(c), 49(7)(b), 54.01(9)(b)
Temporary Custody with Other under Director’s Supervision – s. 41(1)(b), 42.2(4)(c), 49(7)(b), 54.01(9)(b) – Consent
Extension to Temporary Custody with Other under Director’s Supervision – s. 44(3)(b)
and Extension to Temporary Custody with Other under Director’s Supervision – s. 44(3)(b) - Consent.
Since September 2014, this performance indicator increased significantly from 389 to 533 in November 2015, followed by a decline to 458 in December 2017. The trend reverted since early 2018, to reach 1040 OCO Placements per 1,000 Admissions into In Care Placements in March 2021. The overall upward trend in this indicator is largely attributed to a significant drop in the number of Non-Indigenous children being admitted into Care and a relatively stable number of Non-Indigenous children being admitted into OCO over time (based on a rolling twelve month period).
For the province and the majority of SDAs, there was relatively greater use of OCO options for Indigenous children than for Non-Indigenous children in March 2021. The Admissions into OCO Placements per 1,000 Admissions into In Care Placements ranged from 402 in Vancouver/Richmond SDA to a high of 2313 in Northwest SDA, with the provincial average of 1040 in March 2021.
For the most recent reporting period, children and youth who had to leave their parental home in the Northwest SDA were more than twice as likely to go live with friends or relatives via an Out of Care placement than to come into MCFD care. The Vancouver-Richmond SDA had by far the lowest rate of children leaving their parental homes in the province, but when they did, they were more than twice as likely to go into care rather than in an Out of Care placement.