WHO IS ACCREDITED?

Private Organization Accreditation

Catholic Charities alleviates human suffering and improves the quality of life of 100,000 people annually, regardless of religious background. A staff of 600 provides support and services related to housing, food, mental health, children's services, addiction treatment, and domestic violence services.
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ORGANIZATION TESTIMONIAL

Holy Family Institute

Sister Linda Yankoski, President/CEO

The Council On Accreditation provides all stakeholders involved in the delivery of social services the assurance that the organization is credible, effective, and is committed to quality improvement. The COA process is an important tool for anyone involved in leading an organization to establish best practices and maintaining and updating these practices over time.
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Purpose

Children in Family Foster Care and Kinship Care live in safe, stable, nurturing, and typically temporary family settings that best provide the continuity of care to preserve relationships, promote well-being, and ensure permanency.

CA-FKC 6: 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.

Interpretation: When another provider is responsible for child placement, the organization must ensure the standard is met. An organization that provides emergency placements must document efforts made to meet the standards given the emergency nature of the placement.

Interpretation: COA’s standards utilize the term “placement” when referring to the organization’s role in facilitating changes in children’s living environments; however it is valuable to look at this process as children joining resource families. Conceptualizing the process in this way helps workers humanize children and account for the emotional and physical toll this process can have on children.

Note: Foster Care to Adoption programs will implement CA-FKC 6 and CA-AS 9.

NA The organization has no role in facilitating child placement.

NA The organization provides informal Kinship Care Services only.

Rating Indicators
1
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.
2
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 (CA-HR 6.02) and training (CA-TS 2.03); or
  • Active client participation occurs to a considerable extent.
3
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
  • A number of client records are missing important information  or
  • Client participation is inconsistent; or
  • One of the Fundamental Practice Standards received a rating of 3 or 4.
4
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; or  
  • Two or more Fundamental Practice Standards received a rating of 3 or 4.

Table of Evidence

Self-Study Evidence On-Site Evidence On-Site Activities
    • Placement procedures including: 
      1. matching children and resource families
      2. preventing and managing placement disruptions
    • A description of services to support placement changes
    • Policy for giving preference to kin
No On-Site Evidence
    • Interview:
      1. Program director
      2. Relevant personnel
      3. Resource parents
      4. Parents
      5. Children and youth
    • Review case records
    • Review resource parent records

  • FP
    CA-FKC 6.01

    Resource family homes are licenced, approved, or certified according to provincial, territorial, tribal, and/or local regulation and contain no more than five total children in the home, including: 
    1. no more than two children under the age of two or four children over the age of 13 in foster care: or
    2. no more than two children in treatment foster care.

    Interpretation: When children are placed with kin on an emergent basis, criminal and child abuse background checks and preliminary safety assessments are conducted prior to placement and the local child welfare agency may allow eligible kin a period of time to work towards certification or licencing as a resource family home.

    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.

    Interpretation: The 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, territory, or tribe to care for more children and demonstrates through the family assessment and home study that the needs of every child can be met.

    Note: This standard is not applicable for unlicensed kinship caregivers.

    Research Note: Provincial or territorial statutes and administrative policy may provide guidance regarding child welfare authority permission to waive non-safety licencing standards for kinship caregivers on a case-by-case basis. This could encourage organizations to be flexible in working with kinship caregivers in order to keep children with their families and to recognize that some non-safety standards that are appropriate for non-related resource parents may not be relevant to placements with kin. In addition to certain non-safety waivers, organizations may be able to grant exceptions on a time-limited basis to allow kin time to meet a requirement, especially when they are already caring for a child.


  • CA-FKC 6.02

    All available information is considered in order to identify the best living environment for each child and the process includes an assessment of children’s and potential caregivers’ strengths, needs, supports, and resources.

    Interpretation: The information to be considered includes information obtained during intake, initial and comprehensive assessments, and case review, including information about previous placements/living environments, as well as information obtained during assessments and annual reviews of resource parents. When children are separated from their families before comprehensive assessments are conducted the information available will obviously be more limited, but the organization should still consider all available information, including any information obtained at the time the children are separated from their families.

    Interpretation: The organization should ensure that the appropriateness of a potential living environment is assessed in line with the strengths, needs, and characteristics of each child. For example, when children pose a risk of harm to self or others, the organization must assess the level of risk when identifying a suitable family or treatment setting, and should develop plans for maintaining safety when necessary. Similarly, when children are victims of human trafficking or have a record of running away, potential caregivers or programs should be assessed for their capacities, competencies, resources, and willingness to provide effective care. The organization should also ensure that at least one primary caregiver can effectively communicate in a child’s language. When such a setting is not possible, assistance should be provided with translation and support and the agency should continue to identify a more suitable living environment. With regard to family settings, given that a potential caregiver’s ability to meet a child’s needs may be impacted if the caregiver is already caring for other children, the examination of characteristics and needs should also include attention to the needs of any other children currently residing in the potential caregivers’ home. Any prior relationship between children and caregivers should also be examined. 

    Research Note: Several studies have identified a “good fit” between children and resource parents as a predictor of placement stability. “Goodness of fit” typically refers to the totality of factors that are assessed, with particular attention to temperament and personality traits.


  • FP
    CA-FKC 6.03

    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: 
    1. with siblings; 
    2. with kin; and
    3. with families that reside within reasonable proximity to their family and home community.

    Interpretation: Organizational policy must require that preference be given to kin, and organizations are required to make reasonable efforts in accordance with applicable law and the requirements of the standard unless it is contrary to children’s well-being. If children are not in the most family-like and familiar setting possible, the reason must be documented in the case record. In the event that siblings cannot stay together, ongoing sibling contact will be critical.

    Note: See FKC 10.05 for more information regarding the importance of also helping children to maintain stability in their home schools, unless it is determined not to be in their best interest.

    NA The organization provides Kinship Care Services only.


  • CA-FKC 6.04

    Aboriginal children are placed according to the placement preferences specified in the Aboriginal  child welfare laws of the province or territory, as applicable.

    NA The organization provides Kinship Care Services only.

    NA The organization provides services for foreign-born children only.


  • CA-FKC 6.05

    The organization promotes the stability of children’s living environments and prevents the need for placement changes through coordinated placement planning that:

    1. ensures children, families, and resource families placement understand the steps involved in the process for a child joining a new family setting and receive support and information throughout; 
    2. provides all legally permissible information about children’s characteristics, behaviours, histories, and permanency goals to prospective resource families; 
    3. ensures that resource families make an informed decision to accept children into their care;
    4. arranges opportunities for children and parents to meet prospective resource families when possible; 
    5. responds proactively to challenges that arise by assessing the need for services and supports; and 
    6. facilitates workers’ ability to spend more time with children, families, and/or resource parents after a children first come into the home or when challenges arise.

    Research Note: The trauma of separating families, facilitating children joining a new family setting, and any subsequent changes in the living setting can be partially minimized through a sensitive and responsive matching and placement process. Effective placement planning requires sharing of information to promote equal involvement in the process and to allow all parties to do their job well. Birth and resource families need information about the process, visitation/family time, decision making timeframes and expectations for involvement in meetings and ongoing communication. 

    Research Note: Significant research has demonstrated the correlation between placement instability and negative child outcomes including poor academic performance and social and emotional difficulties. Regardless of children’s prior history of maltreatment or behavioural challenges, these negative outcomes increase following placement disruptions.
     


  • CA-FKC 6.06

    The appropriateness of children’s placements is reviewed regularly, and changes occur to support children’s best interests and permanency goals, as needed. 

    Interpretation: The organization should make every effort to prevent any placement change that is not in the best interest of the children and their permanency goals. Placement changes that support children’s best interests and permanency goals may include moving from a foster family to an adoptive family, moving from foster family to  a kinship family or other changes that bring children closer to family or community.


  • CA-FKC 6.07

    Children, families, and resource families receive additional support during placement changes that include: 
    1. sufficient advanced notice prior to a placement change; 
    2. formalized discussions of the reasons for a move or disruption, each parties’ feelings about the change, and as needed, interventions to address the reasons for the change;
    3. reassessment of children’s strengths and needs in advance or at the time of the change, and identification of a resource family or other placement setting that can best promote safety, well-being, and permanency; and
    4. referral to additional services or supports. 

    Interpretation: Whenever possible notice should be provided at least 14 days in advance of a placement move. 

    Interpretation: When the organization is working with Aboriginal children and families, tribal representatives must be involved in placement decisions and moves for Aboriginal children in care.

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