Family Foster Care and Kinship Care (CA-FKC) 7: Child Placement
Children are placed with resource families who can best meet their needs for safety, permanency, and well-being, and best support their ties to family and community.
InterpretationWhen placements are made by the court or another provider, the organization should collaborate with the court or placing agency to advocate for appropriate placement and promote placement stability, as emphasized throughout this core concept. An organization that provides emergency placements must document efforts made to meet the standards given the emergency nature of the placement.
NA The organization has no role in facilitating child placement
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VIEW THE STANDARDS
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.
All elements or requirements outlined in the standard are evident in practice, as indicated by full implementation of the practices outlined in the Practice Standards.
Practices are basically sound but there is room for improvement, as noted in the ratings for the Practice Standards; e.g.,
- 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.
Practice requires significant improvement, as noted in the ratings for the Practice Standards. Service quality or program functioning may be compromised; e.g.,
- 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.
Implementation of the standard is minimal or there is no evidence of implementation at all, as noted in the ratings for the Practice Standards; e.g.,
- 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|
Resource family homes are licensed, approved, or certified according to provincial, territorial, or local regulation and contain no more than five total children in the home, including no more than:
- two children under the age of two;
- four children over the age of 13; and
- two children in treatment foster care.
InterpretationWhen children are placed with kin on an emergency basis, the local child welfare agency may allow eligible kin a period of time to work towards certification or licensing as a resource family home. However, criminal and child abuse background checks and preliminary safety assessments must be conducted prior to placement
When the local child welfare agency is not assuming custody of a child, the kinship caregiver’s home may be approved as a temporary placement option while the family works towards stabilization.
InterpretationThe total number of children includes all children under the age of 18 residing with the family, and includes any children residing with the family for overnight respite care. Exceptions to the maximum capacity may be made on a case-by-case basis to keep siblings together, to place children with relatives, to keep parenting youth together with their children, for other extenuating reasons that directly support plans for children to be connected to relationships that are safe, nurturing, and intended to be enduring, or when the home is licensed by the province or territory to care for more children and demonstrates through the family assessment and home study that the needs of every child can be met.
InterpretationWhen resource family homes are routinely licensed, approved, or certified according to provincial, territorial, or local regulation to contain a total of six children in the home they may receive a rating of 2 when they can demonstrate they are meeting the needs of every child in the home. This can be demonstrated by a combination of factors, such as:
- strong performance on safety, permanency, and well-being outcomes, for instance, low placement change rates;
- strong performance in resource family satisfaction and retention;
- manageable caseload sizes for workers;.
- ensuring space sufficient to maintain a safe and homelike environment;
- increasing the number and frequency of visits by the worker to the home;
- offering additional respite or child care opportunities to resource families; and
- maintaining a lower capacity in homes where foster children and other dependents have higher needs.
InterpretationThe resource family maximum capacity limits in this standard are not applicable for unlicensed kinship caregivers.
The organization identifies the best placement for each child using all available information regarding children’s and resource families’ strengths, needs, supports, and resources, including:
- information obtained during initial and comprehensive assessments of children and families;
- information obtained during assessments and annual reviews of resource parents;
- information obtained during ongoing assessments and case reviews; and
- the needs of any children already residing with the resource family.
InterpretationNeeds to consider should include, but are not limited to: language, any risk of harm to self or others, number of previous placements, history of running away and other behaviours, and any history of human trafficking/exploitation/sexual abuse.The organization should also consider factors that would impact the resource family’s ability to collaborate with the birth family, including language, geographic proximity, and cultural background.
InterpretationBefore placing additional children with resource families who are already providing treatment foster care, the organization should prioritize the needs of the child already in the home and consult with the resource family and members of the child’s treatment team to assess and prepare for the impact of another child joining the family. Logistical as well as clinical factors should be considered, such as the frequency and location of specialized services.
Examples: Factors to consider when placing children with acute medical conditions or disabilities may include the accessibility of the resource family’s home, such as the ability to accommodate mobility aids or medical devices, and any necessary modifications.
In order to ensure children are in the most family-like and familiar setting possible, the organization makes reasonable efforts to ensure children are placed:
- with siblings;
- with kin; and
- with families that reside within reasonable proximity to their family and home community.
InterpretationPolicy must require that preference be given to kin and deviations from these placement preferences must be documented in the case record with justifications and plans for ongoing contact with siblings or kin.
NA The organization provides Kinship Care Services only.
The organization promotes the stability of children’s living environments and prevents the need for placement changes through coordinated placement planning that:
- ensures children, families, and resource families understand the steps involved in the process for a child joining a new family setting and receive support and information throughout;
- provides all legally permissible information about each child’s characteristics, behaviours, histories, physical and behavioural needs, and permanency goals to prospective resource families;
- ensures that resource families make an informed decision to accept children into their care;
- arranges opportunities for children and parents to meet prospective resource families when possible;
- responds proactively to challenges that arise by assessing needs and arranging necessary services, supports, or interventions to preserve the placement when in the best interests of the child;
- permits children transitioning from treatment foster care to remain in their living environment when possible and appropriate; and
- facilitates workers’ ability to spend more time with children, families, and/or resource parents after children first come into the home or when challenges arise.
InterpretationRegarding element (b), information related to children’s behaviours and behavioural health needs should be prepared or delivered by qualified personnel who can provide a clinical and developmental perspective, including information about the child’s previous living environments and trauma history, and their relevance to the child’s current and previous behaviours and functioning. This may also include consulting the child, when appropriate, about the appropriate level of detail to be shared with prospective resource families concerning the child’s traumatic experiences.
The appropriateness of children's placements is reviewed regularly, and changes occur to support children's best interests and permanency goals, as needed.
InterpretationIn treatment foster care, when placements are reviewed in connection to changes to the child’s assessed level of care, placement decisions should be based on the child’s treatment progress and present needs rather than length of stay, and organizations should explore strategies for maintaining placement stability when indicated.
Examples: Placement changes that support children’s best interests and permanency goals may include moving from a foster family to an adoptive family, moving from a foster family to a kinship family, or other changes that bring children closer to family or community.
Children, families, and resource families receive additional support during placement changes that includes:
- sufficient advanced notice provided at least 14 days prior to a placement change, when possible;
- formalized discussions of the reasons for a move or disruption, each party's feelings about the change, and as needed, interventions to address the reasons for the change;
- identification of a resource family or other placement setting that can best promote safety, well-being, and permanency;
- providing opportunities for children and resource families to meet with the new resource family and/or visit the new placement setting, when possible; and
- referral to additional services or supports.