A Stronger, Safer Tomorrow provides a pathway to a stronger, safer child intervention system that better protects children and youth, and supports families.
This action plan is the Government of Alberta’s response to all of the final recommendations made by the Ministerial Panel on Child Intervention.
It outlines 39 actions that we are taking to improve services for Indigenous families, increase supports for children, youth and all caregivers, and address the funding gap on-reserve.
The action plan was developed with Indigenous leaders and communities, as well as community partners across Alberta. Children’s Services is now working with Indigenous partners and others to implement these important actions and improve the lives of children, youth and families.
To address urgent needs, 16 of the 39 actions are being implemented immediately. These include a number of key deliverables to improve supports for children and families, including:
- An Act For Strong Families Building Stronger Communities
- A first of its kind agreement to fully implement Jordan’s Principle
- An Indigenous Cultural Understanding Framework
- Building Strength, Inspiring Hope: A Provincial Action Plan for Youth Suicide Prevention 2019-2024
Some actions need more collaboration with our partners or require legislative, regulatory or policy changes. All 39 actions will be completed by 2022.
- 16 immediate actions – on track to be completed by April 2019
- 9 short-term actions – to be completed by 2020
- 14 long-term actions – to be completed by 2022
Specific measures for each action are outlined in the action plan. Progress on these actions will be shared through annual reporting and other public reports.
Important legislative changes
An Act for Strong Families Building Stronger Communities was passed by the Alberta legislature on December 5, 2018 to improve supports for children in and out of care.
This legislation expanded court access for First Nations and closed a loophole that allows private guardianships without home studies and cultural plans. It also expanded financial supports for permanency, among other changes.
- Fact sheet (PDF, 136 KB)
- Overview of key shifts (PDF, 130 KB)
- Child safety and well-being: Guiding principles (PDF, 140 KB)
- Child safety and well-being: Matters to be considered (PDF, 124 KB)
This legislation was the first in a three-phase review of the Child, Youth and Family Enhancement Act (CYFEA).
Actions we are taking
The following are high-level actions we are also taking to improve the child intervention system.
Embedding an Indigenous world view in legislation, policy and programs
The following actions are helping create stronger, safer and more supportive legislation, policy and programs.
Amend the Child, Youth and Family Enhancement Act - Phase One
|Establish three new advisory bodies, including an Indigenous advisory body to oversee implementation||Immediate (2018/19)|
|Implement the Indigenous Cultural Understanding Framework for staff||Immediate (2018/19)|
|Work with Education and other government ministries to address racism||Immediate (2018/19)|
|Amend the Child, Youth and Family Enhancement Act - Phase Three||Long-term (2022)|
|Develop additional partnerships with the Government of Canada and Indigenous communities to develop programs and services, including addressing equitable funding on- and off- reserve||Long-term (2022)|
Building capacity of children, youth and families
The following actions are assisting and empowering youth and families.
|Jointly develop Indigenous parenting, culture and social connectedness programs||Immediate (2018/19)|
|Address social inequalities with new funding prevention and early intervention programs||Immediate (2018/19)|
Fully implement Jordan’s Principle
|Support Indigenous communities in developing cultural mentoring and peer-support programs and services||Short-term (2020)|
|Improve trauma-informed programs and services for families||Short-term (2020)|
|Improve prevention and early intervention services by increasing accountability for coordinated cross-ministry funding and outcomes||Long-term (2022)|
|Increase access to trauma-informed supports and treatment for children, youth and families||Long-term (2022)|
|Support staff in developing additional skills to better serve families with children with disabilities||Long-term (2022)|
Supporting and empowering our youth
The following actions are helping assist young people across Alberta.
|Establish a Youth Advisory Committee to improve supports for youth transitioning into adulthood||Immediate (2018/19)|
Increase funding for youth suicide prevention programs and services
|Improve post-secondary opportunities for youth involved in the child intervention system||Short-term (2020)|
Reducing the number of Indigenous children in care
The following actions are working towards strengthening and healing Indigenous children, youth and families.
|Pilot a holistic kinship assessment tool to increase the number of safe providers and ensure the safety and well-being of children||Immediate (2018/19)|
|Provide kinship caregivers with more supports when needed for successful placements and stability for children and youth||Immediate (2018/19)|
|Clarify the First Nation Band Designate role to support children and families receiving services||Immediate (2018/19)|
|Establish a long-term funding model for Alberta’s Child Advocacy Centres||Immediate (2018/19)|
|Amend the Child, Youth and Family Enhancement Act - Phase Two||Short-term (2020)|
|Increase family involvement in decision-making||Short-term (2020)|
|Increase placement options and access for children and youth with complex needs||Short-term (2020)|
|Improve service delivery for children and youth with disabilities and their families||Short-term (2020)|
|Improve mental health and addiction services, prioritizing the Valuing Mental Health report||Short-term (2020)|
Improving our Child Intervention System
The following actions are helping improve the cultural competency of the system and the health and well-being of children and youth receiving services.
|Establish a client feedback and reporting system to empower the voices of children and families||Immediate (2018/19)|
|Establish and fund an Indigenous Research Committee||Immediate (2018/19)|
|Improve Children’s Services workplace culture through mentoring and support, and Indigenous programs||Immediate (2018/19)|
|Develop more culturally focused practice, policy and legislation||Long-term (2022)|
|Provide equitable funding to First Nations, both on- and off-reserve, and Métis communities for child intervention services||Long-term (2022)|
|Improve procurement requirements to better include cultural competencies||Long-term (2022)|
|Strengthen service delivery through ongoing program evaluation||Long-term (2022)|
|Improve policy and programs through longitudinal research, and jointly developing strength-based outcomes and measures||Long-term (2022)|
Strengthening the child intervention workforce
The following actions are helping service-delivery staff better meet the needs of children, youth and families.
|Improve Children's Services workplace culture through mentoring, support and Indigenous programs||Immediate (2018/19)|
|Increase the cultural understanding and competency of service delivery staff||Short-term (2020)|
|Increase service delivery staff in rural and remote communities||Long-term (2022)|
|Recruit and retain service delivery staff to reflect the populations served||Long-term (2022)|
|Provide restorative-practice education and training to service-delivery staff and foster and kinship caregivers||Long-term (2022)|
|Increase Indigenous peoples’ enrolment in social work programs||Long-term (2022)|
We are working with Indigenous peoples to put this plan into action and to develop solutions that meet the needs specific to their communities. All 16 immediate actions are on track to be completed by April 2019.
An advisory body of Indigenous advisors, including Indigenous caregivers, is helping guide implementation and ensure the public action plan improves the safety and well-being of children and families, including those in First Nation, Inuit and Métis communities.