Standards for Canadian organizations

2020 Edition

Family Foster Care and Kinship Care (CA-FKC) 8: Developing and Maintaining Connections

The organization promotes the development of social and emotional well-being and positive support systems for all children by facilitating connections with family, peers, and community.
 

Interpretation

If the organization does not facilitate or supervise in-person contact it should maintain documentation of all in-person contact between children and families, children’s response to contact with family, and all efforts to support other forms of contact between children and their families and networks of support.
NA The organization does not provide case management services for children.
2020 Edition

Currently viewing: FAMILY FOSTER CARE AND KINSHIP CARE (CA-FKC)

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Purpose

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.
Note: COA uses the term “family time” rather than “visitation” to emphasize that children belong with their families, and highlight the importance of the time families spend together when children are in out-of-home care.
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 and training; 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
  • Several client records are missing important information; or
  • Client participation is inconsistent. 
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.      
Self-Study EvidenceOn-Site EvidenceOn-Site Activities
  • Procedures for ensuring ongoing, meaningful contact
  • Procedures for family time planning and implementation
  • Family time plan template or sample
  • Policy prohibiting restriction of in-person contact as a disciplinary action
No On-Site Evidence
  • Interviews may include:
    1. Program director
    2. Relevant personnel
    3. Foster parents
    4. Parents
    5. Children and youth
  • Review case records

Fundamental Practice

CA-FKC 8.01

Unless contraindicated, planned, ongoing contact between children, parents, and siblings occurs as frequently as possible based on children’s ages and developmental needs, and at a minimum in-person contact occurs:
  1. weekly between children and parents; and
  2. monthly between siblings.

Interpretation

Children and parents are entitled to in-person contact unless parental rights are terminated and in some cases after termination, and incarcerated or detained parents are entitled to in-person contact unless restricted.

In addition to in-person contact children can maintain contact in other ways, such as through web-based technologies and other electronic communications.
NA By virtue of law or contract, the organization does not develop or facilitate the implementation of family time plans.
Examples: Very young children, in particular, may need in-person contact as frequently as possible in order to develop and maintain strong attachments with their parental figures and promote developmental progress. Infants may benefit from daily contact and toddlers may benefit from contact at least every two to three days.

CA-FKC 8.02

The organization offers a continuum of family time options, and written family time plans are: 
  1. developed in collaboration with parents, resource parents, and children;
  2. informed by assessment information; 
  3. focused on relationship-building; 
  4. determined by permanency goals modified in accordance with permanency planning; and
  5.  in compliance with all court orders.

Interpretation

The organization should encourage unsupervised contact in normative community settings when possible and appropriate, and should only require supervised family time (i.e. supervised visitation) when assessments indicate safety concerns or the need for coached family time. 
NA By virtue of law or contract, the organization does not develop or facilitate the implementation of family time plans.

CA-FKC 8.03

Written family time plans include:  
  1. start dates, frequency, time, length, and location of in-person contacts; 
  2. participants; 
  3. transportation arrangements;  
  4. supervision or monitoring requirements, if any; 
  5. developmentally-appropriate  and interactive activities, including caregiving for young children when possible and appropriate;
  6. cancellation arrangements; and
  7. preparation and debriefing arrangements. 
NA By virtue of law or contract, the organization does not develop or facilitate the implementation of family time plans.
Examples: Plans may involve appropriate extended family and friends to support regular contact and maintain families’ support systems. For example, these supports might provide transport, offer their homes for parents and children to spend time together, involve children in cultural or community events, or provide respite for resource parents. 

CA-FKC 8.04

Workers or designees promote meaningful and constructive contact by:
  1. helping children, parents, and resource families prepare for and transition to and from in-person contact;
  2. following-up with children, parents, and resource families after in-person contact to process what occurred, ascertain progress, and assess for concerns that may indicate the need to modify plans or services; and
  3. documenting the activities that occurred and behaviourally-specific observations that pertain to family relationships and parenting to be considered in assessing case progress.
Examples: Workers can help children, parents, and resource families prepare for and transition to and from in-person contact by, for example:
  1. helping parents and children prepare for relationship-building activities related to service or family time plans;
  2. helping resource parents understand issues surrounding family time and their role in supporting both the child and the family time process; and
  3. helping all parties understand that when a child has a negative reaction to family time, this may be a normal response to a challenging experience rather than a sign that the family time plan or services should be changed.

Fundamental Practice

CA-FKC 8.05

Organization policy prohibits cancellation or restriction of in-person contact as a disciplinary action for either parents or children.

CA-FKC 8.06

Children are assisted to develop social support networks by identifying, building, and sustaining relationships with caring individuals of their choosing, including: 
  1. extended family; 
  2. peers;
  3. other individuals with whom they had a prior relationship; and 
  4. members of their community, ethnic group, faith group, clan, or tribe.

Interpretation

In situations with known or suspected concerns about human trafficking, organizations should be aware that traffickers may pose as a boyfriend or older relative, or communicate through another individual and utilize in-person contact to continue the exploitation of the victim.