Family Foster Care and Kinship Care (CA-FKC) 18: Resource Family Assessment and Approval
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PurposeChildren in Family Foster Care and Kinship Care live in safe, stable, nurturing, and often temporary family settings that best provide the continuity of care to preserve relationships, promote well-being, and ensure permanency.
- Minor inconsistencies and not yet fully developed practices are noted; however, these do not significantly impact service quality; or
- Procedures need strengthening; or
- With few exceptions, procedures are understood by staff and are being used; or
- For the most part, established timeframes are met; or
- Proper documentation is the norm and any issues with individual staff members are being addressed through performance evaluations and training; or
- Active client participation occurs to a considerable extent.
- Procedures and/or case record documentation need significant strengthening; or
- Procedures are not well-understood or used appropriately; or
- Timeframes are often missed; or
- Several client records are missing important information; or
- Client participation is inconsistent.
- No written procedures, or procedures are clearly inadequate or not being used; or
- Documentation is routinely incomplete and/or missing.
|Self-Study Evidence||On-Site Evidence||On-Site Activities|
No On-Site Evidence
InterpretationWhile practice should be consistent with the program model, tools, and standards, decisions about how the assessment is conducted in each case are clinical decisions that should take into account the unique needs and circumstances of the prospective resource parents (and the child if the child is already identified or living in the home). Assessments may be structured differently if they are conducted for kin (as opposed to non-related prospective resource parents). The organization should have a system or approach that recognizes that there can be subjective aspects to assessment and decision making, and appropriate mechanisms to ensure that its determinations are well justified.
The resource family assessment process includes:
- the receipt of self-reported information and documents from the prospective resource parents;
- at least one individual in-person consultation with each prospective resource parent and one joint consultation for joint applicants;
- age and developmentally appropriate consultation with each child or adult child of the prospective resource parents living outside the home;
- at least two visits to the prospective resource family’s home, and during one or more of those visits a safety assessment of the home and an observation of family members interacting together;
- criminal background, child abuse and neglect, and sex offender registry checks for all adults living in the home in accordance with applicable law and regulation;
- a review of the information and documents related to any previous unfavorable resource family assessments, disruptions, dissolutions, or placement of other children out of the home; and
- references and interviews with individuals providing references, including at least one from an individual with direct knowledge of the prospective resource parents’ capacity to care for children.
InterpretationThe safety assessment of the home should include attention to potential concerns including:
- inadequate or unsafe heat, light, water, refrigeration, cooking, and toilet facilities;
- malfunctioning smoke detectors;
- unsanitary conditions;
- lack of phone service;
- unsafe doors, steps, and windows, or missing window guards where necessary;
- exposed wiring; access to hazardous substances, materials, or equipment;
- rodent or insect infestation;
- walls and ceilings with holes or lead; and
- insufficient space.
InterpretationThe organization should develop criteria for the review of criminal background checks that specify if, and when, checks are conducted on a multi-province or territory basis, and how the organization evaluates and responds to reports indicating criminal offenses. Prospective resource families should be informed at the beginning of the process about the organization’s policy regarding criminal convictions. Organizations may have more flexibility to make exceptions around certain non-violent criminal or civil background histories for kin who are otherwise determined to be appropriate caregivers. Each situation should be assessed on a case-by-case basis.
Workers collaborate with prospective resource families to explore factors that may impact their ability to provide effective care and offer experiences that enhance healthy development, including:
- motivation and expectations for providing resource family care and interest in adoption, if applicable;
- personal characteristics such as adaptability, reliability, and coping, communication, and problem solving skills;
- caregiving abilities and experiences, especially for children or adults with significant or complex needs;
- willingness to provide trauma-informed care;
- willingness to collaborate with birth parents and support children's ties to culture, family, peers, and community; an
- willingness and ability to work as a member of a team to support and facilitate permanency for children in care; and
- previous experiences with foster care, kinship care, or adoption.
InterpretationWhen the prospective resource family is known to the child, the assessment should also evaluate the relationship between the prospective resource family and the child, the child’s relationship to individuals already living in the home, and the prospective resource family’s commitment to the child.
Examples: Assessments may also include criteria for assessing prospective resource families’ willingness and ability to provide care for specific populations, such as:
- supporting the sexual orientation and gender identity of LGBTQ youth;
- meeting the developmental needs of older youth; and
- meeting the elevated social, behavioural, emotional, or medical needs of children in treatment foster care.
The assessment process explores each prospective resource parent’s:
- personal history of trauma, abuse or neglect;
- current status and history of physical and mental health, including substance use;
- social support systems;
- functional literacy and language skills;
- employment history, and financial status; and
- community and social environment.
Interpretation Regarding element (b), a written statement from a physician or other qualified health professional regarding the person’s health is acceptable to meet the intent of the standard. If the assessment indicates a mental health concern, the individual must also obtain a formal evaluation from a mental health professional. The organization should consult with the local public health authority to determine if a skin tuberculin test should be included in the assessment. Special circumstances, including the health needs of the resource parent, may indicate a need for re-assessment prior to the annual re-assessment. Prospective resource parents who are undergoing appropriate treatment or in recovery should not automatically be excluded from consideration or approval.
Interpretation When working with unlicensed kin, organizations in some provinces or territories may have the discretion to waive the assessment of certain factors (e.g. the health assessment) in an effort to encourage placement with relatives.
- use age-appropriate passenger restraint systems;
- provide adequate passenger supervision, as required by statute or regulation;
- properly maintain vehicles and obtain required registration and safety inspection;
- provide the organization with annual validation of their driving records; and
- provide the organization with regular validation of their licenses and appropriate insurance coverage.
InterpretationRegarding element (e), this information should be provided as frequently as necessary, based on the amount of time licenses and insurance are valid. The organization should determine what level of insurance coverage is considered appropriate and maintain a copy of each resource parent’s auto policy declaration to validate appropriate insurance coverage.
During the assessment process kinship caregivers have the opportunity to:
- discuss their families’ stories and the experiences that brought them to becoming or planning to become kinship caregivers;
- discuss their concerns with becoming licensed resource parents;
- discuss the impact of the kinship caregiver role on their relationship to the birth parents and the child; and
- learn how the program collaborates with kinship caregivers and supports relationships between kinship families, parents, and extended families.
- indicating whether the prospective resource family has the ability, willingness, and resources to meet the needs of children in care; and
- within timeframes established by the organization, and prior to a child joining the resource family.
- within two weeks of a reported change in the home composition; and
- at least once annually.