Action stations

Last week, we reported the ministry of children and family development's draft action plan had been distributed to leadership team for discussion. But what does that plan - which has also been circulated to some members of the children and family development community - actually say. Good question. And we have the answer. The following is a complete copy of the text of that document, which was obtained by Public Eye.

MCFD
GOOD PRACTICE
ACTION PLAN
Final Draft: July 3, 2007

This document has been prepared by the MCFD leadership team and our Minister, Tom Christensen. The plan is in draft and will remain so for the next few months as we receive feedback from and hold discussions with MCFD staff and our various partners. The plan is based on discussion with hundreds of individuals and groups over the last year and now gives an overview of what we hope to achieve through transformation. It should be seen as a guideline or a "living document" which will be adapted as this process continues to unfold. The vision and principles will not change. While the goals and objectives are unlikely to change, the actions and activities will change over the next 4 years as we systematically move forward to accomplish our goals. This particular plan provides detail until the end of 2008.

We are happy to receive information to add to the plan should you feel strongly that an aspect of service important to children, youth, families and communities has been ignored. If you have a particular idea, or notice a gap in the plan, then please do let us know. Please do not send general comment on the plan. Be as specific as possible and relate your information to one or more of the goals.

As we continue to plan for the ministry we will now begin to introduce and implement a bottom up approach and you will begin to experience this in relation to our service planning, budget and the continued action plan associated with transformation.

Questions should be addressed to the general e-mail address in the Deputy Minister's Office: MCF.DeputyMinistersOffice@gov.bc.ca.

Information in relation to gaps should be sent to the Regional Executive Director (RED) for staff and organizations who are regional, and to the e-mail address above for provincial office staff and provincial organizations.

While much has already been accomplished and good practices continue, we look forward to moving from discussion to action with regard to the key areas of change. I will be allocating work within the action plan to RED's, ADM's and/or specific working groups.

Lesley du Toit
Deputy Minister

Chapter One: Vision, Principles and Overall Outcome

VISION

Children and youth in BC have their developmental needs met and are supported by healthy families and inclusive communities.

MCFD is a value-centred Ministry that is respected and trusted by the public, service providers, and those whom the ministry serves. Staff are confident, competent, valued and empowered. A respectful partnership relationship exists between regions and the provincial office, and between MCFD and partners (aboriginal and non-aboriginal)

Aboriginal peoples exercising their rights to jurisdiction over their children's well-being, through self-determination, have strong and healthy children, youth and families.

PRINCIPLES

Transparency:
To the extent that it is possible within Law, MCFD will be fully transparent with regard to plans, funding, and achievement of goals

Accountability for actions and services
Everyone who delivers services or specifically intervenes with young people, families and communities should be held accountable to their organizations, as well as children, youth, families and communities for an appropriate and quality service.

Value and respect for Aboriginal peoples' traditions, cultures, values and beliefs including existing authorities
Based on traditions, culture and beliefs, Aboriginal peoples have an inherently different perspective or world view of family and community from that of the mainstream western perspective. These influence the way child and family services are perceived and should be delivered. Policy and practice in child and family development services must reflect traditional ways of being and doing if they are to truly be effective in aboriginal communities and with aboriginal young people. The history with regard to residential schools has done significant harm to tradition and culture and thus to communities and families. Respect for traditions and culture now require that policy and practice include reconciliation in this regard. Traditional and cultural practices which provide evidence of child protection and/or child and family development and healing should be recognized as of equal value to those programs developed as western "good practices", and should receive support and resources on the same basis.

Consistency in the application of principles
It should be understood that these principles will consistently guide all policy, practice and quality assurance. While innovation and flexibility is encouraged, the principles remain constant and non-negotiable.

Building on strengths
The resourcefulness and strengths of each family, community and young person should be identified and promoted by providing opportunities to utilize and build their own support networks and to act on their own choices and sense of responsibility.

Continuum of integrated services
A continuum of integrated services ranging from the prevention, to least intrusive interventions, to more intrusive interventions should be available and accessible to vulnerable children, youth and families.

Diversity
Cultural and ethnic diversity is to be recognized and respected in community engagement and service delivery.

Continuity of care, support and/or treatment
Once in the care of the province, the changing social, emotional, physical, cognitive and cultural needs of the child, youth and family should be assessed and addressed throughout the intervention process. Support and resources should be available after disengagement.

Effective and efficient
All interactions and services to and with children, youth, families and communities should be tendered in the most effective and efficient way possible.

Child-rights.
The rights of children as established in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, and ratified by Canada and the Province of British Columbia, shall be protected.
The ministry will be remain aware of and respectful of the developing work by the UN on the Rights of Indigenous Children.

Fairness and equity
All children, youth and families in BC unequivocally should receive fair and equitable resources and services.

Non-discrimination
Any form of discrimination against children, youth, families and communities is unacceptable

Participation
In the context of child and family development children, youth, families and communities should be actively and meaningfully involved in all decisions which affect their well-being and development

Family Preservation
(Family includes relatives)
All services should prioritize the need to have young people remain within the family context wherever possible, or if placed in care, to return to their family in the shortest period possible. To this end family and community development and accessibility to a variety of resources, programs and supports should be a primary concern.

Permanency Planning
Every child should be provided with the opportunity to grow up in their family (or extended family) and where this is proven not to be in their best interests, or if not possible for good reason, to have a time-limited plan which provides for life-long relationships in their family (or an alternative family) and a community setting appropriate to their culture and traditions.

Responsive Governance and Service
The service system will be driven by a "bottom-up" approach where needs are identified at the child, family and community level, information is provided to regions, and regions respond with the appropriate support and resources. In turn, provincial governance in child and family development will seek to understand and respond in a supportive manner to the resource, program, and policy needs of the regions. All levels of governance will be held accountable for effective and efficient service delivery. Budgeting and planning will be developed and decided on the basis of thoroughly assessed need and prioritization with regard to desired response.

TARGET POPULATION

Vulnerable children and youth within the context of family and community.
[Outside MCFD's specific context, it is integral that government ministries responsible for service delivery to vulnerable people work together to ensure integration and effective transitioning.]

TRANSFORMATION

Transformation is the process whereby the child and family development service delivery system under MCFD will be thoroughly evaluated, and where needed, changed to reflect a more efficient, culturally relevant, and effective service based on international and local good practice.

The transformation (including the response to the 2005/6 external reviews) requires that existing practice and policy be examined and be re-aligned and/or developed according to the transformation vision, principles and purpose of MCFD and of communities.

The "transformation" work itself:

1. The work is about recognising and building on existing good practice regarding child and family development as well as addressing barriers or gaps in practice, policy and the system as a whole.
2. Where transformation involves barriers, problems or gaps in the structure and functioning of MCFD, practice, policy and/or the system as a whole, the work is about substantial change and not tweaking what exists.
3. There will not take a "one size fits all" approach. We will however maintain consistency and stability through the application of principles and values which are non-negotiable for the entire system.
4. All Aboriginal components of transformation work will be based on an Aboriginal perspective and lead by Aboriginal peoples working in partnership with MCFD.
5. Transformation work will ensure the widest possible consultation within required timeframes.
6. Accountability for sustained progress towards goals and timeframes is a fundamental component of the process.

OVERALL OUTCOME OF TRANSFORMATION:

The overall outcome is to have a child and family development service delivery system (related to the mandate of MCFD) which consistently and effectively responds to the basic and developmental needs of vulnerable children and youth in the context of family and communities, and strives towards preventing vulnerability. This in turn should result in stronger families and communities, and children and youth who have greater resilience and healthy development.

PURPOSE:

Our purpose is to assist and support children and youth people in meeting their basic and universal needs, thereby supporting their healthy development, building resilience and protecting them from further vulnerability.

Vulnerability is created when basic and universal needs of young people are not met and their healthy development and well-being is affected.

Basic needs include: shelter and clothing; food; social, emotional and physical safety; and health.

Universal needs include: Attachment/belonging based on secure relationships grounded in family and community; competence based on skill, knowledge and achievement; independence or personal power based on the learned ability to make decisions and wise choices; altruism based on the knowledge that they are part of a broader community and are capable of and willing to contribute to that broader community in the interests of others. The broader "community" may be a family, a small group of friends, a Nation or tribe, society or the community in which they live. Meeting the combination of these developmental needs ensures that physical, social, cognitive, emotional, psychological, and spiritual development is facilitated within the context of family, community and the broader society.

Attachment/belonging is fundamental to meeting any of the other universal needs and thus highlights the necessity to keep children within secure life-long relationships, particularly those developed within their family and community. Alternatives should be used only where absolutely necessary and based on a thorough assessment of risk and developmental/therapeutic needs. The development and support of families and communities is thus a critical task of the ministry.

Vulnerability can be prevented through the strengthening of communities and families, both economically and socially and that is a core priority, but if that is not possible then the ministry has the responsibility to respond to the needs of vulnerable young people effectively.

All of the above challenges the ministry to increase capacity for families, communities and service providers to respond effectively to the needs of vulnerable children and youth. To do that the child and family development system has to keep children and youth at the centre and orientate itself and policy to consistently meet needs and protect the rights of children as appropriate to their culture and tradition. This is neither a child-centred or family-centred approach. Children and youth are served within the context of family and community and thus all are equally important. In order to stay true to our fundamental purpose we have to look through the eyes of the child at what we do and how we do it. As on key provider of services to vulnerable children and families the ministry and all staff regardless of their position and role have to be the strong advocates for the needs and rights of the vulnerable children and youth in BC. The ministry cannot be accountable to children, families and communities- as it should be- or hold integrity over time with regard to its purpose if it does not base its work on a set of values and principles which are non-negotiable and which guide all decisions regardless of where the decision originates.

While logically child protection work is an important component of our work, the ministry cannot be orientated around a child protection model. If the ministry truly wants to ensure the development of children and families within the context of family and community, as our title suggests, then the ministry has to take a developmental and ecological approach which includes both a range of integrated services (of which child protection is one), as well as community development work.

In achieving our purpose it goes without saying that the ministry must work closely with other ministries, preferably within a consistent framework for services to children and youth across ministries.

Certain approaches and programs will be strengthened, some will change, and others will be initiated.

A transformed service system will reflect international and local good practices in child welfare, family development and community development that embraces a strengths-based, developmental approach to service delivery and governance. This approach assumes that all communities, families, youth and children - regardless of the difficulties they face - have substantial strength and can contribute to the solution to their own problems. This approach requires that we work with communities, families, children and youth as partners to accomplish their developmental needs and goals. The approach assumes that the more communities, families and children are able to make-decisions and have control over their own well-being, the more effective services will be. Using this approach, the well-being of children and youth is considered in the context of family, community and society, requiring that services are integrated across various program areas in MCFD as well as across various ministries.

Chapter Two: Description Of Changes To Be Achieved Through Transformation By 2010

Service Delivery would change:
A strengths-based, development approach would be in place and would result in more prevention and early intervention work within communities and less emphasis on using extreme interventions such as removal of children. International practices demonstrate that early intervention strategies can protect many children identified at risk without the emotional trauma of removing them from family and community. This in turn would increase wellness in communities and families and lessen the dependence on alternative caregivers. This is particularly critical in aboriginal communities where the placement of children into care and away from community is seen as harmful to their community, traditions and their children.

Because of the strengths they bring, children, youth, families and communities will be recognized as a resource rather than people 'needing help'. Building their capacity will strengthen not only them, but human resources as a whole. This way there is less dependency on highly trained professionals who can be allocated to work on the most serious situations- particularly supporting children in care and their caregivers.

Instead of a concentrated focus on child protection in isolation of other important services, a continuum of services would be provided. Children and families would be connected to the best service on the basis of assessed strength, needs and risks. Programs and connecting children and youth to programs would thus be responsive to assessed need rather than a reaction to crisis and potential risk.

Governance and focus of resources would change:
A strong focus on regions and practitioners should be evident. The new approach would recognize that children are kept safe by healthy, effective, supported practitioners - more so than policy, monitoring, standards and compliance to procedures. This would include increasing the capacity, well-being, and accountability of the practitioners dealing directly with vulnerable children, youth and families. This means the ministry has to pay attention to case loads, training, unique needs in various regions, support from managers, encouragement of innovation, and salaries.

Regions would have increased decision-making over resources and planning for implementation of services based on the unique assessed needs of communities and the region as a whole. The provincial office has to eventually become smaller and focused on (a) support to regions and regional governance structures, (b) development of policy in partnerships with regions, and (c) monitoring of outcomes and finances. All other aspects need to be pushed down to the regions who are in the best position to work with communities as partners.

Within our mandate and scope of work, MCFD must respond positively to Aboriginal Peoples with regard to their desire and right to govern services and provide for the safety and well-being of their children. This requires that we proceed urgently with culturally appropriate options for administration and governance of service delivery and increase meaningful community engagement.

The organizational culture of MCFD would change:
The Ministry will change the silo approach and learn to work across programs according to integrated policy. This will require that staff understand and experience MCFD as ONE organization with various functions which addresses issues cooperatively and not as individual sections and individual regions. Staff will recognize that MCFD has one budget and one overall approach which must be supported. The uniqueness of regions must however be understood and given recognition in terms of resourcing. Regions must no longer experience a disconnect between the provincial office and themselves. If anything, regions must feel respected and empowered through increased participation, decision-making and innovation at a regional and community level.

The ministry should be strengthening partnerships and relationships of respect and trust with contracted service providers, agencies and with Aboriginal peoples. Increased and effective communication within the ministry is critical, as is strengthening the trust between staff.

The ministry will become driven by the needs of children, youth, families and communities and not by crises which bring media and political attention. Realistically MCFD, because of the nature of the work, will always have clients who may hurt one another or themselves. An expectation that there will be an absence of crises is unrealistic and destructive of a culture of confidence, pride, well-being, innovation and responsibility. Staff must be encouraged and supported to reach the point where they can respond to children, youth and families with the most effective service which is assessed to be in their best interests. Decisions should not be made in an atmosphere of fear.

Chapter Three: Goals & Objectives For 2007-2010

[Goals and objectives will remain consistent until 2010 unless there is good enough reason, in children's best interests, to change them. Actions will change as the plan is implemented. This first set of actions is for 2007 and 2008]

GOAL 1. To identify and strengthen, or develop, effective child, youth and family development services in B.C. within a strength-based, developmental approach.
Objectives:

1.1 To research good practices and build upon these to increase the effectiveness of the child and family development system

1.2 To improve developmental and therapeutic support to those children and youth in Care and provide a continuum of effective integrated services to all vulnerable children and youth which can be accessed and monitored on the basis of assessed need.

1.3 An effective information sharing and IT system which supports good practice.

1.4 Integrated policy, standards, legislation and quality assurance which support effective practice of the principles and shifts in service delivery in regions

GOAL 2. To support Aboriginal Peoples to achieve their vision and goals with regard to jurisdiction and delivery of services to their children, youth, families and communities.
Objectives:

2.1 To support Aboriginal Communities and Service providers in the shift towards self governance of service delivery

2.2 To improve services and outcomes for Aboriginal children, youth, families and communities in partnership with Aboriginal peoples.

GOAL 3. A fully regionalized model of service delivery.

Objectives:

3.1 Integration of MCFD provincial office.

3.2 Regionalization of MCFD

GOAL 4. To transform the Ministry of Children and Family Development as an organization, to support goals 1, 2 and 3.

Objectives

4.1 A value/principle-centred ministry that is respected and trusted by the public, service providers and those whom the ministry serves.
Objective

4.2 To implement a comprehensive human resource strategy that supports the implementation of the practice principles and meets the transformation goals.

4.3 An effective financial policy and budgeting process which supports the implementation of practice principles and ensures best use of resources.

Chapter Four: Action Plan For 2007 And 2008

GOAL 1. To identify and strengthen, or develop, effective child, youth and family development services in B.C. within a strength-based, developmental approach.

Special Note on Services to Aboriginal Children and Families:
Until such times as services are moved over to Aboriginal Governance and provision is made for improvements, MCFD will (in strong partnership with Aboriginal Peoples) undertake service improvements for vulnerable Aboriginal children, families and communities.

Objective
1.1 To research good practices and build upon these to increase the effectiveness of the child and family development system

Priority Action
1. Ensure that continuous research is undertaken to support MCFD as a learning organization and improve policy and practice.

Ouput
Establish a research function within the ministry to integrate research activities in MCFD and coordinate any research done on behalf on MCFD

March 08 or Dec 08 completion
March

Measures of success
* Co-ordinated approach established within MCFD and with Universities A research agenda for 2007-2010 is clearly set out

Output
Identify relevant new research available at Canadian Universities for all aspects of the continuum and create strong partnerships with schools of social work and CYC on access to research March

Measures of success
* Research is identified and informing decision-making and continued service improvements.

Priority Action
2. Establish pilot projects to test various approaches, ideas or concepts related to good practice with regard to priorities

Output
Work with regions, communities and the contracted sector to identify pilot work

March 08 or Dec 08 completion
March

Measures of success
* Relevant pilot projects are identified, designed and costed

Output
Implement and evaluate pilot projects

March 08 or Dec 08 completion
Dec 08

Measures of success
* Evaluated and documented practice research which can be applied within other parts of BC and which can inform the implementation of transformation principles.

Priority Action
3. Complete a situational analysis and cost analysis of service delivery, including gaps in service delivery and waitlist issues. Gather and collate information from 2006/7 consultations, data, and discussions.

Output
Assess the service system with regard to major gaps, barriers and waitlist issue

March 08 or Dec 08 completion
March

Measures of success
* Report
* Baseline information

Output
Document and show case existing good practice as part of continuous learning

March 08 or Dec 08 completion
March

Measures of success
* Documentation and showcasing of existing good practices completed

Output
Cost analysis of services in regions and provincial programs vs. impacts.

March 08 or Dec 08 completion
March

Measures of success
* Costing report

Priority Action
4. Conduct an analysis with regard to gaps in social development and poverty reduction in relation to the present and future role of MCFD

Output
Work with other ministries to undertake an analysis

March 08 or Dec 08 completion
Dec 08

Measures of success
* Report on role of MCFD in relation to social development and poverty reduction

Objective
1.2 To improve developmental and therapeutic support to those children and youth in Care and provide a continuum of effective integrated services to all vulnerable children and youth which can be accessed and monitored on the basis of assessed need.

Priority Action
5. Improve protection, therapeutic and developmental interventions, and family reunification and permanency planning for children in care.

Output
All children in Care have an appropriate plan including reunification and permanency, which is facilitated and monitored, and developmental/therapeutic plans begin to replace existing care plans

March 08 or Dec 08 completion
Dec 08

Measures of success
* Decreased number of foster placements per child
* Children in care are achieving therapeutic and developmental goals as indicated in plans.
* Cases of recidivism will be lower than 2006/7
* Increased success rate at school.
* Children and families have participated fully in developing their plan
* Improved medical, dental and optical benefits for children in care
* Permanency planning is effective and children are not remaining in care longer than necessary.

Output
Families and children in care are receiving reunification services according to their plan.

March 08 or Dec 08 completion
Dec 08

Measures of success
* Increase from 2006/7 in children returned to their family and community
* Increased well-being of biological and extended families of children in care.
* Fewer breakdowns of adoption placements

Priority Action
6. Improve approaches to recruiting and retaining foster parents and adoptive parents

Output
Improve direct support to foster parents, as well as ongoing skill development.

March 08 or Dec 08 completion
March

Measures of success
* Improved quality of care
* Greater retention of foster parents

Output
Foster parent rate increase

March 08 or Dec 08 completion
March

Measures of success
* Improved quality of care
* Greater retention of foster parents

Output
Address backlog in screening of adoptive parents and placement of children

March 08 or Dec 08 completion
March

Measures of success
* Children who have no option except adoption will be placed, with fewer children on waiting lists.

Output
Increase (in phases) numbers of adoptive parents

March 08 or Dec 08 completion
Dec 08

Measures of success
* Children who have no option except adoption will be placed, with fewer children on waiting lists.

Output
Improve post adoption support

March 08 or Dec 08 completion
Dec 08

Measures of success
* Improved quality of care

Priority Action
7. Review the existing model and establish the most effective case management and assessment model for child welfare based on a strengths-based and developmental approach.

Output
Review current reliance on risk assessment as child welfare case management model.

March 08 or Dec 08 completion
March

Measures of success
* Cross jurisdictional and literature review complete
* Consultations complete

Output
Realign or design the child welfare case management approach\

March 08 or Dec 08 completion
Dec 08

Measures of success
* New policy supporting strength based case management

Output
Design and draft assessment approach and tools

March 08 or Dec 08 completion
Dec 08

Measures of success
* Policy on assessment and Assessment tools are available

Output
Pilot the new assessment approach and plan for full implementation

March 08 or Dec 08 completion
Dec 08

Measures of success
* Training of practitioners and team leaders who will pilot the model has been completed and a draft training curriculum is available
* Strengths-based, developmental assessment has been piloted in at least 3 regions for a minimum of 6 months
* A plan for full implementation has been constructed.

Priority Action
8. Increase early intervention options in each region and/or enhance existing options

Output
Increased use of programs such as, mediation and FGC, community based planning and decision making processes, Family Development Response and new innovations

March 08 or Dec 08 completion
March

Measures of success
* Increase in proportion of case plans developed through mediation and FGC and similar processes
* Increased family, community, child participation in case planning, decision making, and care giving for vulnerable children
* Increase in satisfaction of mcfd services by children, youth, and families
* Decrease in court contested applications, orders, specifically cco's.

Output
Develop parent/caregiver training program addressing peak periods of crying for infants and links to SBS and other injuries.

March 08 or Dec 08 completion
March

Measures of success
* Mcfd caregivers provided with information
* Parents provided with information

Priority Action
9. Ensure an effective, culturally appropriate Kith and Kin (or similar) program within the continuum of services

Output
Thoroughly review and evaluate all aspects of Kith and Kin in the current service continuum and broader government

March 08 or Dec 08 completion
March

Measures of success
* Jurisdictional review and consultations completed and report is available

Output
Develop policy and strengthen practice to provide range of kinship based services and support for kin caregivers.

March 08 or Dec 08 completion
Dec 08

Measures of success
* Kith and kin policy is integrated into new policy and practice for the continuum.
* Families receiving enhanced kith and kin services;

Priority Action
10. Improve Prevention work

Output
Implement FASD prevention action plan continuum

March 08 or Dec 08 completion
Dec 08

Measures of success
* Reduction FASD births in BC in future years

Output
Evaluate existing prevention work across the system of services and identify gaps and potential opportunities - then plan for further development of prevention work.

March 08 or Dec 08 completion
Dec 08

Measures of success
* Evaluation of MCFD's community work is complete

Output
Implement more youth development programs in isolated/rural communities.

March 08 or Dec 08 completion
Dec 08

Measures of success
* At least 4 communities in each region have established youth development programs.

Output
Identify and implement youth crime prevention initiatives in collaboration with the Provincial Community Safety Steering Committee

March 08 or Dec 08 completion
Dec 08

Measures of success
* New youth crime prevention projects are implemented and evaluated.

Priority Action
11. Enhance CYSN cross-ministry initiative

Output
Develop inventory of existing cross government CYSN services and identify gaps or areas for improved co-ordination

March 08 or Dec 08 completion
March

Measures of success
* Inventory of services

Output
Assist in completion of the CYSN action plan and its implementation.

March 08 or Dec 08 completion
Dec 08

Measures of success
* Cross government action plan
* Enhanced services for children with special needs and their families

Priority Action
12. Evaluate the CYMH plan and services (including services to Aboriginal Children and Youth) and improve or adjust services as needed. Complete an evaluation of the effectiveness of the plan in aboriginal and non-aboriginal communities as well as gaps and barriers.

March 08 or Dec 08 completion
March

Measures of success
* Increase in youth identified as needing services who are able to access services
* Evaluation of the CYMH plan in relation to the continuum of services and a strengths-based/developmental approach is completed and available in a report, together with adjustments for the continued plan.

Output
Data match between MCFD and health for mental health and addictions youth to compile aggregate profile and demographics

March 08 or Dec 08 completion
Dec 08

Output
Inform regional discussions among MCFD, health authorities, and aboriginal authorities consistent with current evolution of CYMH plan and MCFD transformation agenda

March 08 or Dec 08 completion
Dec 08

Priority Action
13. Enhance Youth Services as part of the continuum.

Output
Develop and cost complete post majority plan for services

March 08 or Dec 08 completion
March

Measures of success
* Plan is completed

Output
Begin implementation of the plan as resources are allocated

March 08 or Dec 08 completion
Dec 08

Measures of success
* Increased numbers of young adults requiring support receive service
* Identified communities have increased transitional and emergency housing for youth

Output
Enhance youth agreements

March 08 or Dec 08 completion
March

Measures of success
* Youth with youth agreements receive more services and support

Priority Action
14. Strengthen Child Care services throughout the province as an effective prevention and early intervention program based on good practice.

Output
Analyse and evaluate the present service system, and develop and cost a comprehensive 5 year Strategic Child Care plan for BC.

March 08 or Dec 08 completion
March

Measures of success
* Through wide consultation, research and collaboration a multi-year plan is complete.
Initiate the implementation of the plan Dec 08
* Budgeting for the plan is established
* Implementation is initiated

Priority Action
15. Strengthen planning for all vulnerable children and youth.

Output
Increasing numbers of children and youth with whom we work have a strengths-based, developmental/therapeutic plan which is facilitated and monitored.

March 08 or Dec 08 completion
Dec 08

Measures of success
* Children are achieving therapeutic and developmental goals as indicated in plans.
* Cases of recidivism will be lower than 2006/7
* Children and families have participated fully in developing their plan

Objective
1.3 An effective information sharing and IT system which supports good practice.

Priority Action
15. Develop an integrated Information Management Framework for MCFD and service delivery partners

Output
Establish information management governance to include representation from delegated agencies, interim authorities, contract service providers and CLBC

March 08 or Dec 08 completion
March

Measures of success
* Information management approach is underway
* Improved information sharing is reported by those who use the system
* Information needs are clearly informing the ICM solution.

Output
Develop Information management principles, directions and procedures

March 08 or Dec 08 completion
March

Output
Identification of information needs and establish an action plan in relation to this

March 08 or Dec 08 completion
March

Output
Identify and reduce the barriers to information sharing

March 08 or Dec 08 completion
March

Priority Action
16. Develop an Integrated Case Management (ICM) Solution.

Output
Obtain funding approval

March 08 or Dec 08 completion
March

Measures of success
* Contract has been signed by the software vendor
* Contract for design signed with system integrator
* Implementation of ICM solution has commenced.

Output
ICM software package selected and software vendor engaged

March 08 or Dec 08 completion
March

Output
System Integrator selected and joint solution/design commences

March 08 or Dec 08 completion
March

Output
Solution supports transformation, practice shifts and social sector information management project

March 08 or Dec 08 completion
Dec 08

Objective
1.4 Integrated policy, standards, legislation and quality assurance which support effective practice of the principles and shifts in service delivery in regions

Priority Action
17. Systematic review of all MCFD policy according to principle based lens

Output
Develop an Integrated Policy framework which supports a strengths-based developmental approach across the continuum

March 08 or Dec 08 completion
March

Measures of success
* A principle based integrated policy framework is established

Output
Review existing policy according to priorities outlines in this plan.

March 08 or Dec 08 completion
Dec 08

Measures of success
* Policies are reviewed and new policies are under development

Priority Action
18. Develop an Integrated Quality Assurance system which supports strengths-based developmental good practice across the integrated continuum of services.

Output
Develop an Integrated Quality Assurance framework

March 08 or Dec 08 completion
March

Measures of success
* An integrated QA Framework is complete and can be used to establish QA policy and practice

Output
Review of standards and compliances in relation to an integrated continuum.

March 08 or Dec 08 completion
March

Measures of success
* Analysis of standards, compliances and procedures is complete.

Output
Program evaluation instruments and procedures are developed for both internal and external evaluation within the QA framework

March 08 or Dec 08 completion
Dec 08

Measures of success
* New Integrated QA has started to be applied to internal and external programs.

Output
Review accreditation procedures and practice and link to Quality assurance framework.

March 08 or Dec 08 completion
Dec 08

Measures of success
* Accreditation and QA are aligned and integrated where needed.

Output
Develop a comprehensive set of measures to determine the impacts of programs and services on children, youth and families, which will be monitored within quality assurance and other monitoring mechanisms.

March 08 or Dec 08 completion
Dec 08

Measures of success
* Set of measures has been established and necessary monitoring mechanisms are in place.

GOAL 2. To support Aboriginal Peoples to achieve their vision and goals with regard to jurisdiction and delivery of services to their children, youth, families and communities.

Objective
2.1 To support Aboriginal Communities and Service providers in the shift towards self governance of service delivery

Priority Action
19. Support the ACC and regional planning teams on achieving authority status where Aboriginal peoples in a region support this approach to governance.

Output
Assist regions in establishing interim-authority until authority legislation is available.

March 08 or Dec 08 completion
March

Measures of success
* Interim Authorities are established where needed

Output
Facilitate and support development of authority legislation

March 08 or Dec 08 completion
March

Measures of success
* Enabling legislation for Regional Aboriginal Authorities is approved in the legislature

Output
Interim Authorities and MCFD cost the establishment of an authority

March 08 or Dec 08 completion
March

Measures of success
* Disentanglement of resources and clarity with regard to costs, shared resources, and HR completed
* Full costing of authorities completed

Output
Assist regions in applying authority legislation and becoming aboriginal regional authorities.

March 08 or Dec 08 completion
Dec 08

Measures of success
* Authorities established as regions demonstrate they are ready and willing to go to authorities

Output
Begin to transfer authority and responsibility for service delivery once authorities are established.

March 08 or Dec 08 completion
Dec 08

Measures of success
* Transfer of authority and responsibility of service delivery has been initiated for each authority

Priority Action
20. Support the ACC, Aboriginal Leaders, Communities and Agencies on achieving agreement on Aboriginal regional authority where the approach is not supported.

Output
Assist regions, agencies, Nations and Aboriginal Leadership in resolving issues where disputes related to authorities and governance arise.

March 08 or Dec 08 completion
Dec 08

Measures of success
* Disputes are resolved in the best interests of children and families and with respect for Treaty and Traditions.

Priority Action
21. In consultation and partnership establish a comprehensive plan for the most appropriate and culturally relevant oversight of delegated services/agencies by MCFD in the short to medium term, and in the long term under self governance.

Output
Consider the appointment of Aboriginal Director/s of Child Welfare

March 08 or Dec 08 completion
March

Measures of success
* Appointment of Director/s

Output
Co-ordinate the development of a comprehensive plan March • Plan is established

Objective
2.2 To improve services and outcomes for Aboriginal children, youth, families and communities in partnership with Aboriginal peoples.

Priority Action
22. Support First Nations in obtaining funding for the full continuum of services on reserve and addressing social development needs in their communities.

Output
Work with First Nations Leadership, INAC and Agencies to develop and agree on and implement a new model for Federal Government funding

March 08 or Dec 08 completion
March

Measures of success
* Working group is established and a clear plan of action is in place for establishing a new model with INAC
* First Nations leadership are satisfied with regard to negotiations at the Federal level.

Output
Analyse and document the costs of delivering the full continuum (as well as costs to provincial government) to bring about equality until a new funding model is in place with federal government

March 08 or Dec 08 completion
March

Measures of success
* Equal service delivery on and off reserve had been costed and is under consideration by the provincial government

Priority Action
23. Support Aboriginal agencies in their recruitment and retention of staff and in developing their capacity.

Output
MCFD will provide support for an effective HR strategy and its implementation for agencies and aboriginal service providers to close the inequality gap between MCFD and Agencies in this respect

March 08 or Dec 08 completion
March

Measures of success
* Recruitment and retention strategy is operationalized in each agency with support from and in collaboration with MCFD
* Training and capacity building strategies are operationalized in each region between MCFD and agencies and aboriginal service providers.

Priority Action
24. Support a process of re-design by Aboriginal peoples of the child welfare service system for vulnerable Aboriginal children, youth and families as well as community development Aboriginal peoples document

Output
Indigenous good practices related to indigenous knowledge and the Indigenous World View, including good practices existing in services throughout BC and other jurisdictions

March 08 or Dec 08 completion
Dec 08

Measures of success
* Documentation and collation of Traditional knowledge on child protection has progressed substantially.

Output
Support the Directors Forum, Interim Authorities/authorities, Planning teams, Communities, Leadership, Elders and Youth Council to initiate and coordinate the redesign

March 08 or Dec 08 completion
Dec 08

Measures of success
* Directors Forum, Interim Authorities/authorities, Planning teams, Communities, Leadership, Elders and Youth Council are working on a re-design
* A draft redesign framework is complete

Priority Action
25. Review and revise, as required, Aboriginal youth justice programs, policies and practices in collaboration with Aboriginal partners and justice system partners

Output
Aboriginal youth justice programs, policies and practices- with particular focus on diversion, restorative justice, and community alternatives to custody- are reviewed and revised

March 08 or Dec 08 completion
March

Measures of success
* The per capita rates of Aboriginal youth under community youth justice supervision, and in youth custody begin to decrease from 2007/8 levels by 2009.

GOAL 3. A fully regionalized model of service delivery.

Objective
3.1 Integration and alignment of MCFD provincial office with service delivery approach.

Priority Action
26. Re design the provincial office to reflect a fully integrated organization that can support the shift to regionalization.

Output
Establish an integrated policy section and remove silos related to policy

March 08 or Dec 08 completion
March

Measures of success
* An integrated policy section has been fully established.

Output
Establish the provincial office operational side as supportive to regions and not direct operational decision-making

March 08 or Dec 08 completion
March

Measures of success
* The PO has been re-aligned to act in a supportive role to regions.

Output
Review provincial services and Child Care/ECD and move policy and operations as required, supporting an integrated ministry.

March 08 or Dec 08 completion
March

Measures of success
* Provincial Services and Child Care/ECD haves been re-aligned

Objective
3.2 Regionalization of MCFD

Priority Action
27. Empower MCFD regions with greater decision-making authority and resources (financial and human) related to planning, budgeting, service delivery design and delivery of services to meet the diverse and unique needs of children, youth, families and communities in each region.

Output
Move all service components or functions from the provincial office to the regional offices and establish the provincial office as a support to operations.

March 08 or Dec 08 completion
March

Measures of success
* Provincial Office no longer has any direct operational function
* Roles, functions and the relationships between the PO and Regions are clear and effective.
* The specific monitoring and QA role of PO in relation to regions is well-defined and implemented effectively.
* The methodology of work in the provincial office reflects an integrated team approach.
* An operational support function has been established at PO and is experienced by regions as helpful and effective.
* Regional staff (at all levels) clearly indicate that they have been consulted with regard to planning and budgeting related to service delivery.
* RED's function with greater management autonomy with regard to decision-making, planning, budgeting, service design and service delivery in their region.
* Roles and functions of regional staff, including RED's have been evaluated and clear job descriptions have been established.
* Any necessary restructuring in regions or more effective staffing has been completed.
* Regions play a major role in informing policy design.
* Mechanisms and processes are in place to ensure that the role and work of regions, the Director, agencies and Aboriginal services are aligned and constructively supportive of one another.

Output
Establish a bottom-up approach to planning, budgeting and service delivery which is driven by community needs and involves staff throughout the regions, coordinated and facilitated by the RED's.

March 08 or Dec 08 completion
Dec 08

Output
Ensure REDs and regional staff have appropriate job descriptions which capture new roles and functions

March 08 or Dec 08 completion
March

Output
Ensure regions are restructured and resourced to reflect regionalization

March 08 or Dec 08 completion
Dec 08

Output
Evaluate role and function of Team Leaders and CSM's and plan for any necessary changes within the HR strategy

March 08 or Dec 08 completion
March

Output
Review and if needed re-align the role of the Provincial and Regional Directors of Child Welfare, the delegation policy, and the relationship between the provincial office, regional directors and RED's, as well as aboriginal services and agencies in this regard.

March 08 or Dec 08 completion
Dec 08

Output
Establish the provincial office to be effective in monitoring, QA, corporate services, and policy development.

March 08 or Dec 08 completion
Dec 08

Output
Ensure that front-line staff and managers have the time and skill to deliver more direct services to CYF and communities and less time focused on procedure and paper work.

March 08 or Dec 08 completion
Dec 08

Output
Analyse amount of compliance and procedural work (paper and computer work) placed on front line staff and ensure that this is necessary, efficient and effective.

March 08 or Dec 08 completion
Dec 08

Output
Establish community tables in each region and engage them in needs assessment, planning and budgeting processes

March 08 or Dec 08 completion
March

Output
Training to community tables on needs assessment where required

March 08 or Dec 08 completion
Dec 08

Consult with the Youth Council and other youth with regard to planning and budgeting

March 08 or Dec 08 completion
March

Output
Engage contracted sector community and other stakeholders in needs assessment, planning and budgeting

March 08 or Dec 08 completion
Dec 08

GOAL 4. To transform the Ministry of Children and Family Development as an organization, to support goals 1, 2 and 3.

Objective
4.1 A value/principle-centred ministry that is respected and trusted by the public, service providers and those whom the ministry serves.

Priority Action
28. Establish a child rights and advocacy function within MCFD to monitor outcomes for children and youth served by MCFD, encourage and support MCFD staff to advocate for children and youth, monitor the ministries compliance with the UNCRC, and coordinate with and respond to the Representative's office

Output
Continuum of advocacy options inside MCFD for children, youth and families

March 08 or Dec 08 completion
Dec 08

Measures of success
* Increase in identified advocates in complaint resolution and planning processes
* Increase in settlement of disputes
* Policies and practices reflect implementation of the UNCRC
* Increase in child, youth and family satisfaction with services
* An advocacy function within the provincial office and regional offices

Output
Effective management of advocacy issues raised through Representative's office

March 08 or Dec 08 completion
March

Measures of success
* Effective exchange of information based on an established protocol
* Effective follow-up on advocacy issues

Priority Action
31. Establish child and youth participation in all components of MCFD's work

Output
Establish and sustain an active youth advisory council to MCFD (representative of all communities served by MCFD) who will interact with the leadership at PO and regions and will monitor participation

March 08 or Dec 08 completion
March

Measures of success
* Effective Youth Council is established, has a planned set of activities and is represented on the Leadership team

Priority Action
32. Ensure that the ministry receives and acts on advice about cultural and traditional values across all cultures within which the ministry works. Establish and sustain First Nations and Metis Elders Advisory Council

March 08 or Dec 08 completion
March

Measures of success
* Effective Council is established and has a planned set of activities which enable effective participation in MCFD work and an advisory role with regard to First nations and Metis services and traditions

Output
Identify and establish strong relationships with various cultural groups/advisors

March 08 or Dec 08 completion
Dec 08

Measures of success
* Various "Elders" or leadership groups representative of cultural/ethnic groups served by MCFD are identified and strong linkages have been established within which MCFD can receive advice and share information.

Priority Action
33. Design and implement an effective communication strategy for transformation A comprehensive strategy on all aspects of transformation captured in this plan is established and implemented

March 08 or Dec 08 completion
March

Measures of success
* MCFD staff experience effective communication and feel fully engaged in processes
* All interest groups, contracted service providers, Agencies and various partners, as well as communities are engaged in the process and receive (and can give) clear information.

Priority Action
34. Implement a monitoring and evaluation strategy for the transformation Design and implement an evaluation process, methodology and milestones, ensuring that the public, MCFD and partners, the Representative C&Y, the minister, and government are receiving regular progress reports and can give feedback.

March 08 or Dec 08 completion
March

Measures of success
* The transformation process and achievement of objectives is monitored and information is shared on progress on a regular basis.

Output
Ensure the evaluation includes the voice of young people, families and communities, Elders, as well as direct service providers.

March 08 or Dec 08 completion
March

Priority Action
35. An established organization change strategy which supports continued learning (this will be linked to HR strategy)

Output
Establish a cadre of leaders who are in continuous training and who will continue and manage change processes to ensure the system remains stable through continued learning.

March 08 or Dec 08 completion
Dec 08

Measures of success
* A cadre of leaders who will support each other and the systemic change over the long-term
* A transition action plan communicated and understood throughout the ministry
* An effective performance appraisal approach is implemented for all MCFD staff.
* At least 70% of managers are trained in change management and leadership during transformation and are supported to practice these skills
* New work-life balance and well-being initiatives have been successfully implemented in each region and the provincial office.

Output
Establish a clear transition plan which ensures that risk associated with change is well managed and both staff and clients are secure in knowing how the ministry will systematically manage the process of change.

March 08 or Dec 08 completion
March

Output
Review and establish an effective performance appraisal approach which supports staff through this particular period of change. The performance appraisal should support continued learning, achievement of transformation objectives, and well-being within MCFD and is in line with a developmental strengths-based approach.

March 08 or Dec 08 completion
March

Output
Teach managers how to lead during change and assist them in applying these skills from the point of training.

March 08 or Dec 08 completion
March

Output
A strong focus on and support for work-life balance and well being of staff, with a particular emphasis on front-line staff and managers.

March 08 or Dec 08 completion
March

Objective
4.2 To implement a comprehensive human resource strategy, which supports the implementation of the practice principles and meets the objectives and goals.

Priority Action
36. Implement a comprehensive HR framework and strategy for MCFD transformation Based on identified concerns already identified, establish a draft framework and plan

March 08 or Dec 08 completion
March

Measures of success
* A draft framework which can be used to do further analysis and consultation
* Identified competencies, roles and functions
* Streamlining of roles and functions.
* A thorough analysis of the system with regard to HR matters, including competencies, numbers of staff, roles and functions required and needs at provincial office vs. regional services.
* A comprehensive HR strategy is under implementation as will be demonstrated by recruitment and retention of staff, qualifications and training, alignment of provincial and regional roles and functions, and more effective support for front-line staff.

Output
Analyse practice principles and services with regard to desired competencies and functions

March 08 or Dec 08 completion
March

Output
Analyse existing roles and functions and define work that should be done at all levels of MCFD and then design roles, functions, and job descriptions which meet the identified work.

March 08 or Dec 08 completion
March

Output
Specifically review the role and function of team leaders and CSM's to see how these could be more effective

March 08 or Dec 08 completion
March

Output
Further identify and document HR gaps and barriers throughout the system which affect service delivery

March 08 or Dec 08 completion
March

Output
Establish a 3-4 year comprehensive HR strategy

March 08 or Dec 08 completion
March

Priority Action
37. Within the broader HR framework undertake an urgent and innovative recruitment and retention strategy which supports practice principles and the action plan goals

Output
Analyse and identify needs and recruitment and retention gaps, problems or barriers in each region and in the system more broadly (including Aboriginal Services).

March 08 or Dec 08 completion
Dec 08

Measures of success
* Sufficient staff in regions to support the unique needs of regions
* Front line staff are able to focus more on direct work with children and families.
* Reduction in administrative burden on front-line staff.
* Each front-line staff has a supportive, skilled supervisor

Output
Identify immediate steps which can be taken to improve recruitment and retention specific to the needs of each region.

March 08 or Dec 08 completion
March

Output
Detail a medium to long term plan (within broader HR plan) to innovatively address recruitment and retention issues in the system - including issues of qualification and delegation

March 08 or Dec 08 completion
March

Priority Action
38. Improve and/or align qualifications, competencies and training to support practice principles and the integrated continuum of services.

Output
Analyse and document all present training and qualifications supported, offered or required by MCFD

March 08 or Dec 08 completion
March

Measures of success
* Inventory of training and qualifications linked to desired competencies, roles and functions
* 3-4 year training and qualification strategy in line with principles and goals is under implementation.
* Registration of social workers is reviewed and if agreed upon, is moving forward to implementation.

Output
In line with competencies and new roles and functions, review training, curriculum and qualifications; and develop a training/qualification strategy to create desired competency and support recruitment and retention throughout the system over the next 3-4 years

March 08 or Dec 08 completion
Dec 08

Output
Review registration of social workers and work with the SW Registration Board, social workers, and service providers on a strategy to address registration on various levels. Draft a complete strategy

March 08 or Dec 08 completion
Dec 08

Output
Make policy changes if needed

March 08 or Dec 08 completion
Dec 08

Objective
4.3 An effective financial policy and budgeting process which supports the implementation of practice principles and ensures best use of resources.

Priority Action
39. Improve the planning and budgeting processes to support the practice principles.

Output
A well defined and integrated planning, budget development and monitoring process which is driven by community and regional needs

March 08 or Dec 08 completion
Dec 08

Measures of success
* Decisions for service delivery and allocation of resources are based identified needs
* Considerable movement to shared responsibility with regions and communities
* Funding formula is replaced with a more effective and relevant mechanism.

Output
A detailed mapping and gap analysis of existing resources against the continuum of care and aboriginal services is completed by MCFD and communities

March 08 or Dec 08 completion
Dec 08

Output
The existing funding formula is revised and replaced with an appropriate allocation procedure in line with needs-based service delivery.

March 08 or Dec 08 completion
March

Priority Action
40. MCFD financial and administrative policies and procedures are easy to understand, well communicated, based on principles of trust and accountability, are consistent with government's financial framework and are cost effective.

Output
Financial and administration policies and procedures are reviewed and revised to support good practice principles and reduce administrative burden.

March 08 or Dec 08 completion
March

Measures of success
* Those financial and administrative policies and procedures which are inefficient, costly and irrelevant are eliminated or revised
* All expense authorities are regularly trained on financial and administrative policies and procedures as evidences by data on who and how many people are trained ad their satisfaction with regard to outcomes of the training.
* Staff in regions, especially front-line staff confirm, that they are spending less time on financial and administrative procedures which are unnecessary and take them away from service delivery.
* Front-line staff and team leaders confirm that they can access funding for small items which support effective service to clients without administrative red-tape and unnecessary barriers

Output
Quality Assurance framework for finance and administration is developed in conjunction with regions.

March 08 or Dec 08 completion
March

11 Comments

Even Kafka would have been impressed with this tome!

You go girl!!

Unfortunately, nobody on the understaffed “front lines” in MCFD has the time to follow!!!

If you can't dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with BS

Full of wonderful words but this is NOT an Action Plan. There is absolutely no roadmap for HOW any of this is going to be accomplished. It's all very "high level". Really folks, isn't it time to acknowledge that the Leadership of mcfd doesn't have it to LEAD?

Unbelievable that the Premier and the Minister would approve this "plan".

"Best Practice"? Hardly!

'I will be allocating work within the action plan to RED's, ADM's and/or specific working groups.'

That will be the day.

I'll wish them luck with this one. They will need it.

Not impressed. Not impressed at all.

Luck is what one hopes for when buying a lottery ticket, not when the initiative is major change.

Wow Kevin Larsen can only "...wish them luck with this one"! Even he can't even find the words to defend this!! This must be really, really bad!!!

How does this "best practice action plan" mesh with the Service Plan? Has anyone checked?

Check it out. This is not called a "best" practice action plan; now it's "good" practice. What's next? -- "okay" practice?

I'm impressed - there's some good stuff in here and clearly much thought has gone into it -- they've tried to address many of the key complaints we hear repeatedly - staff morale, service gaps, etc. I really like the focus on fixing things at the front lines, inventories of what's working & what's missing, smashing silos, setting clear principles and expectations, etc. IMHO, they've learned a fair bit from the disastrous planning process for CLBC, where the expectation seemed to be that a new governance model would solve everything.

It's ambitious, though. And as with CLBC, the big question is whether there will be the $$ there to actually carry it out. And are they taking on too much by trying to do it all at once?

Some key questions are also left untouched, as others have pointed out. How are you actually going to integrated services across ministries and agencies or ensure that front line staff are well-equipped and supported to do what's needed?

And I still have qualms about the apartheid-style approach of an entirely separate Aboriginal child welfare system. If it's culturally appropriate for all BC's diverse families (as it should be) and you have local/community governance, shouldn't that cover all the bases without running the risks of the separate system being less equal than the other?

Then there are some oddly defeatist notes, such as merely aiming for "good" vs. "best" practice.

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