Family Foster Care and Kinship Care (CA-FKC) 12: Supports and Services for Expectant and Parenting Youth
The organization promotes the safety, permanency, and well-being of youth who are expectant or parenting, by providing resources and supports that empower youth to make informed decisions about pregnancy, experience healthy births, and develop the skills needed for personal functioning and parenthood.
The needs of expectant and parenting youth can be met through a continuum of care that includes “whole family” placements, specialized foster care, residential treatment, and supportive living arrangements. The organization should aim to meet the needs of expectant and parenting youth and their children in the most family-like setting that best meets their needs. Given that youths’ needs often go unmet, it is crucial that caseworkers provide close oversight and plan an active role in monitoring the receipt of services.
The terms “expectant youth” and “parenting youth” refer to both expectant mothers and fathers. The term “pregnant youth” refers exclusively to birth mothers.
NA The organization does not serve youth 14 or older.
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Children 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.
Procedures for referring youth and their children to services
Policy regarding youth's parenting rights
Parenting skills assessment tool
Table of contents for parenting education curricula
Procedures for developing parenting plans
Community resource and referral list
Contracts or service agreements with community providers for the provision of services to expectant and parenting youth
Informational materials provided to youth
Parenting education curricula
Interviews may include:
Youth served, and their children if appropriate
Review case records
Youth who are pregnant receive timely, ongoing, relevant, and accessible services appropriate to their needs that address:
nonjudgmental and nondirective pregnancy and birth options counselling;
prenatal health care;
diagnosis and treatment of health concerns, including sexually transmitted diseases;
genetic risk identification;
food and nutrition;
mental health care;
substance use conditions;
smoking cessation; and
labor and delivery.
Regarding element (h), a qualified mental health professional should re-evaluate pharmacological treatments for safety, risks, and benefits during pregnancy and make appropriate adjustments to the treatment plan, such as tapering or adjusting dosages or increasing monitoring of symptoms.
If an organization does not provide counselling or information related to termination, the organization should: (1) disclose this fact to youth, parents, and resource families and provide them with a comprehensive list of other community providers that offer pregnancy counselling, support, and education services; (2) demonstrate that it carefully considered its mission, capacity, resources, community’s needs, and youth’s needs in its decision to refrain from providing counselling on all pregnancy outcomes; and (3) respect the choices of youth, parents, and resource families even if they do not align with the values of the organization.
Following childbirth, the organization promotes child and maternal well-being, and prepares youth to recognize and respond to signs of problems in both themselves and their infants by ensuring youth receive timely postnatal care and support related to:
postpartum health care;
postpartum depression, including screening for and addressing changes in the new mother’s mood, emotional state, behaviour, and coping strategies;
breastfeeding education and assistance; and
pediatric care, including well-baby visits and immunizations.
Youth who are expectant or parenting are informed of their legal rights to custody of their children and are maintained together with their children unless a safety risk is identified.
Organization policy should clearly assert that youth should not be separated from their children solely due to the youth’s age or involvement with the child welfare system age, or as a means of obtaining services or financial support for the child.
Expectant and parenting youth are helped to develop skills and knowledge related to:
basic caregiving routines;
child growth and development;
meeting children’s social, emotional, and physical health needs;
environmental safety and injury prevention;
parent-child interactions and bonding;
age-appropriate behavioural expectations and appropriate discipline;
family planning; and
establishing a functioning support network of family members or caring adults.
Workers collaborate with youth who are expectant or parenting and their caregivers, co-parents, and other family members when appropriate, to develop individualized parenting plans that define:
the rights and responsibilities of the youth parents; and
each individual’s role and expectations for supporting the youth parents to care for their children.
Workers assist youth who are parenting to obtain or enroll in assistance that will support them to care for their children and work towards financial independence, including:
maternal and child health programs;
affordable and quality child care;
community resources, such as free clinics;
educational or vocational programs that support and accommodate the circumstances of expectant and parenting youth.
The organization promotes responsible fatherhood and paternal engagement by:
indicating in the case record when youth in care become fathers;
identifying the relationship between expectant youth parents;
linking young fathers to services that help them understand their legal rights and responsibilities, establish legal paternity, and adjust to the parenting role; and
assisting youth who are pregnant to notify birth fathers and engage them in service planning, when appropriate.