The Alberta government listened to feedback from frontline staff in developing new and innovative ways to serving at-risk children, youth and families. The Child Intervention Practice Framework is the foundation of one of these innovations – ensuring workers are supported, trained and provided with development opportunities.
The Alberta government is accelerating the implementation of the Framework. The Framework is a set of principles and core elements of leading practice to guide efforts in the system. These principles will help support an environment where family strengths are recognized, and children and youth are respected and supported.
The Framework is a foundation for Outcomes-Based Service Delivery and Signs of Safety. Practice initiatives such as these ensure child intervention staff are supported in making decisions in a manner consistent with the ministry’s organizational values and principles, and that they have tools and approaches that will provide the right kinds of services and supports.
Working with service delivery, government, agency and research partners, Human Services is supporting evidence-based improvements in child intervention policy and practice. This will provide additional support for child intervention workers in their day-to-day interactions and decision making with children and families.
In addition, an Implementation Oversight Committee of professionals appointed to prioritize responses to previous recommendations for improving the child intervention system. The committee will also use the final report from the child intervention roundtable to support its work.
Vision and mission
An environment where family strengths are recognized and where all children and youth are respected, valued and supported within the communities in which they live.
Ensure the safety and well-being of children and youth by working together with families and communities to develop nurturing and safe environments for children, youth and individuals.
What are the principles developed under the Framework?
The Child Intervention Practice Framework guides casework through six principles:
Indigenous Experience – Indigenous peoples have always had their own ways of ensuring that vulnerable members, including children, are safe, protected and nurtured. We honour this by recognizing their expertise in matters concerning their children, youth and families.
Preserve Family – We believe children and youth should be safe, healthy and live with their families, therefore we focus on preserving and reuniting families and building on the capacity of extended family and communities to support children, youth and families.
Strengths-based – Our approach is reflective, culturally responsive and strengths-based. Because all families have strengths and resources, we recognize and support the right and responsibility of parents to share in the decision-making process for them and their children.
Connection – Children and youth are supported to maintain relationships that are important to them, be connected to their own culture, practice their religious or spiritual beliefs and, for those with involvement, have a plan for their care where they are included in the decision-making process.
Collaboration – We are child-focused and family-centred. We collaborate with families, community agencies, and other stakeholders in building positive, respectful partnerships across integrated multidisciplinary teams and providing individualized, flexible and timely services to support these efforts.
Continuous Improvement – Our casework is transparent and we share information appropriately. Our approach is outcome oriented and evidence-based therefore we support innovative practice, evaluate our performance and strive for continuous improvement.
Collaborative Service Delivery
What is Collaborative Service Delivery
Alberta’s Collaborative Service Delivery (previously OBSD) began in 2009 as a way to shift the focus of serving at-risk children and families from what services are provided to what the result of the services should be.
It is helping children and families involved with the child intervention system make positive changes by providing more flexible, creative, collaborative, and community-based services to address their needs.
Both agency and Child and Family Services Authority staff collaborate with parents to set goals and identify friends, relatives and community members who can support the family in achieving these goals.
Collaborative Service Delivery uses a new funding approach where there is increased flexibility for agencies in identifying what services they provide and how they will work with children and families.
Collaborative Service Delivery tracks five key outcomes:
- Supporting vulnerable children to live successfully in the community
- Children in temporary care will be reunited quickly with their family
- Children in permanent care will be placed in permanent homes as quickly as possible
- Youth will be transitioned to adulthood successfully
- Indigenous children will live in culturally appropriate placements and receive culturally appropriate services.
At this time, results indicate more children are able to be served at home with their families than would have been typical in the past and more children are able to safely return to their home after services have been provided.
- ALIGN Association of Community Services (formerly AASCF)
- PolicyWise for Children & Families
- Alberta Foster Parents Association
Signs of Safety approach
What is Signs of Safety (SOS)
The SOS model guides work in partnership with families and children to increase safety and reduce risk and danger by focusing on strengths, resources and networks the family have.
What improvements have been seen since starting SOS
- Overall improvement in the level of skill, morale and satisfaction of workers
- Increase in family satisfaction
- Significant reduction of the number of children entering care
- Reduction in recidivism rates
- Reduction in number of matters taken before the courts
Note: Significant changes in case data are not measurable until the third year of implementation.
What is the current state of implementation in Alberta
- Regions and agencies in Alberta began learning about the approach and adopting some of the tools. There were early indications of the success of this program. Alberta is currently undergoing a five-year implementation of SOS practice across the province.
- Over $2 million will be invested over the next two years to implement SOS in Alberta.
- Estimated percentage of staff who have attended basic SOS training:
- Child and Family Services Delivery Areas: 57%
- Delegated First Nations Agencies: 25%
- OBSD Partner Agencies: 73%
- Approximately 15 more training sessions will be hosted in 2015, in addition to the 21 sessions already planned for the remainder of 2014.
What is the purpose of the MOU with the State of Western Australia
Reflects the shared commitment of Human Services and the Western Australia Department of Child Protection to:
- Exchange policies and procedures, learning strategies, and resource materials,
- Collaborate on SOS research and evaluation, and
- Develop a program and formal agreement for staff to spend time working in both jurisdictions.
- “…time is spent recognizing abilities (of the families) as opposed to seeking evidence”
- “Kids have a voice in what they want and what works. They define what is safe and what their goals are.”
Parents have commented:
- They feel like they are working in collaboration with the worker.
- They are thankful for the case team and even asked to hug them as did not expect to be listened to, have their family and friends allowed to be present and part of planning.
What a Child Intervention Practice Framework is
A practice framework is a set of agreed upon principles and core elements of leading practice that are intended to be infused throughout the child intervention system – including hiring, training and supporting child intervention workers. Regardless of which tools or approaches are used in working with children and families, the basic principles that guide good work should be the same for all child intervention workers. A practice framework is being developed that will provide this guide and help staff connect philosophy, legislation and best practice with their day-to-day interactions and support of children, youth and families.
What a Child Intervention Practice Framework does
The framework brings together the people, knowledge and ideas that make a difference in improving child intervention services provided to children, youth and families. It enhances support of children and their families, breaks down barriers and helps create positive outcomes for children.
What a Child Intervention Practice Framework means for Albertans
The framework is not a change in direction of child intervention in Alberta. It is a natural and evolutionary next step that helps child intervention workers to make good decisions in serving children and families that are based on solid training and having tools and approaches that will provide the right kinds of services and supports.
Recent initiatives such as Outcomes-Based Service Delivery continue to highlight the importance of clearly articulated and applied values and guiding principles to this work.