Ministry 2002/03 Annual Service Plan Report -- Government of British Columbia.
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2002/03 Annual Service Plan Report
Ministry of Children and Family Development
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Year-at-a-Glance Highlights

Adult Community Living Services

  • Appointed the Community Living Transition Steering Committee, whose work included a final report regarding the transfer of community living services to a new provincial authority. This work included extensive community input on how best to serve clients with supports for a better quality of life, while meeting reduced budgets in the coming years.
  • Created the Interim Authority for Community Living British Columbia (ICLBC) once enabling legislation was passed. ICLBC will plan for a permanent authority that will assume service delivery to adults with developmental disabilities. To ensure high-quality services are maintained and enhanced, family care and individualized funding will be emphasized.
  • Completed, in collaboration with ICLBC, extensive community information/feedback sessions about the findings of the above-noted committee's report, to ensure ministry and ICLBC planning activities reflect local communities' needs across the province.
  • Provided a letter of instruction from the Minister to the Chair of ICLBC in March 2003, setting out next steps to complete to meet readiness criteria and assume service delivery as a permanent authority.

Youth Justice, Child and Youth Mental Health, and Youth Services

Youth Justice

  • Continued to be a national leader in many youth justice service areas such as alternative programs and intensive support and supervision, to help youth turn their lives around.
  • Provided custody alternatives that helped support positive results for youth and communities as B.C.'s youth custody population reached its lowest level in 18 years, and the lowest per capita rate in the country. Influences on the lower population included the availability of results-oriented custody alternatives, and overall decreased youth crime rates.
  • Opened the new Victoria Youth Custody Centre in June, replacing a severely outmoded facility. The new centre provides enhanced mental health assessment and counselling, special education, alcohol and drug counselling, life skills, and violence prevention programs, all geared to help keep communities safe while helping youth in the custody system develop skills for healthier, productive lifestyles.
  • Prepared for changes resulting from the new federal Youth Criminal Justice Act, to be in force in 2003/04, including increased use of restorative justice conferences that bring together an adjudicated youth and person harmed by the offence, families and others. The conferences aim to lessen the effects of the harm while helping youth understand the consequences of their actions.

Child and Youth Mental Health Services

  • Received Cabinet approval for the Child and Youth Mental Health Plan, with input from staff, community partners, parents, children and youth. The plan, to be implemented over five years, will enable an increase of community-based services for children and youth with mental disorders, to provide them assistance needed to function better and achieve positive outcomes in their lives.
  • Significantly improved data management for service types and quantity, and on the largest contracted agency service providers, for child and youth mental health client information. The improvements will allow better service planning and implementation of the Child and Youth Mental Health Plan, to the benefit of those receiving services.
  • Established a joint working group that recommended ways to manage seamless service transitions for children and youth with mental illnesses in key areas including acute and community care, and bridging older youth from ministry services to the Ministry of Health Services and its authorities' adult services.
  • Began new work to identify the best evidence-based practices most recommended to treat key mental illnesses in young people.
  • Collaborated with the BC Coroner's Service on a data project on child and youth suicide, for analyses and reports to inform preventative work.
  • Held suicide prevention demonstration projects in six B.C. communities as part of Putting Best Practices into Action (Phase Two).

Youth Services

  • Reviewed the Youth Supported Independent Living Program to assess effective areas and those needing adjustment through a BC STATS-produced evaluation. It was found that the program is helpful in facilitating youth to achieve more positive outcomes in transitioning to independent adulthood.
  • Audited/reviewed 12 community sites' child and youth mental health services, to assess and enable improvement of program delivery, with a final report due in 2003/04.
  • Continued providing Youth Services programs to help at-risk and sexually exploited youth leave harmful situations and develop healthier, more positive lives. Services ranged from support workers, prevention and promotion services, to youth agreements and just under 40 safe house beds.
  • Created two reports to help regional staff support high-risk youth in the community as well as assist in service transitions to regional governance. The reports outline the best known ways to plan and deliver services for at-risk to high-risk youth, and identify best practices to help youth leave harmful situations and achieve positive independence.
  • Participated in the inter-ministry Assistant Deputy Ministers' Committee on Prostitution and Sexual Exploitation of Youth to address sexual exploitation of youth, to realize government's promise to fight child prostitution and youth crime with legislation protecting children at risk. Key projects included:
    • ongoing development of a plan to reduce the violence youth experience in the sex trade and help sexually exploited youth exit harmful situations.
    • the fourth year of issuing a Community Grants Fund and an Aboriginal High Risk Youth Grants Fund. Inter-ministry cost-shared grants up to $5,000 help community action teams, Aboriginal communities and others address youth sexual exploitation and prostitution-related issues.
    • developing, distributing and posting online new safe house standards to promote quality services.
    • evaluating the effectiveness of youth agreements, an alternative to coming into care. In March 2003, there were 161 agreements, slightly more than in March 2002. The 2003/04 count is expected to increase via greater emphasis on alternatives to guardianship to effectively support older youth.
    • conducting a survey of outreach and support services to identify how services are delivered to high-risk youth across the province, with resulting recommendations to help staff enhance positive outcomes for youth as they plan for regional governance services.

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Early Childhood Development (ECD) and Children and Youth with Special Needs

Early Childhood Development

  • Established new community-based Aboriginal ECD projects province-wide, for a total of 30. These comprehensive, integrated and culturally relevant Aboriginal ECD programs focus on fetal alcohol syndrome disorder (FASD) prevention; healthy pregnancy, birth and infancy; parenting and family support; and community supports to enhance ECD for Aboriginal children under six and their families.
  • Established 14 new Make Children First learning sites. Learning sites, which are located in all five regions, enable communities to come together, partnerships to develop and new insight to be gained on how communities can work together to bolster opportunities for children and families to enhance their life skills development and prevent future issues requiring more intensive interventions.
  • Developed or expanded grants for 122 new and existing Family Resource Programs across B.C., totalling nearly $1.5 million. Programs support families and communities by fostering positive relationships between and within families, and provide supportive services such as parent and tot drop-ins, community kitchens, toy-lending libraries and connections to other resources like public health professionals, to promote family health, well-being and capacity to safely stay together.
  • Promoted new knowledge regarding B.C. kindergarten-aged children's "readiness to learn", with 36 school districts completing the early development instrument (EDI) in February and March. "Readiness to learn" helps assess physical health and well-being, social competence, emotional maturity, language and cognitive development, and communication skills and general knowledge.
  • Held FASD prevention training in communities across each region of the province to service providers working with women at risk for prenatal alcohol consumption, to provide participants with increased skills to identify women at risk and use intervention strategies to prevent FASD.
  • Distributed copies of the parent education publications, Baby's Best Chance and Toddlers First Step, to health units across the province in partnership with the Ministry of Health Services, to improve public access to information on healthy pregnancy and parenting choices.
  • Established the Office of the Provincial Aboriginal Infant Development Program (IDP) Advisor, to support Aboriginal IDP consultants and programs as well as non-Aboriginal IDP consultants working with Aboriginal families to promote healthy behaviours and skill development. In 2002/03, government announced an increase in the overall Infant Development Program's budget of just over $2 million, for a total of $9.8 million annually. Infant Development Programs serve families whose children are up to age three and have or are at risk of developmental delay.

Children and Youth with Special Needs

  • Continued building B.C.'s capacity to better serve children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) through interventions that foster their well-being and independence.
  • Completed a training needs report for behavioural interventionists to increase the number of trained interventionists in B.C. and enhance service quality for children and families; recommendations will be implemented in 2003/04.
  • Established a framework to coordinate services among four ministries on behalf of children with ASD and their families, to increase smooth transitions and access to services between organizations.
  • Contracted a three-year evaluation of the effectiveness of early intervention services for children with ASD. UBC completed the second year of this study, for which results will be posted online.
  • Provided contracted early intensive behavioural intervention services for children under age six with ASD in eight communities: Greater Victoria, Surrey, Delta, Langley, Kelowna, Penticton, Vernon and Kamloops.
  • Introduced a new direct funding option for children with ASD up to age six years in June. As of January 2003, the interim early intensive intervention program provided eligible children and their families up to $1,667 monthly to apply to the cost of specialized behavioural treatment for children with ASD.
  • Through the At-Home program, provided:
    • medical and/or respite benefits for about 2,900 B.C. children with severe disabilities.
    • a new web site with program information for families and health professionals (
    • regional training in five communities for members of regional eligibility committees and assessors, to educate about At-Home eligibility and administration of benefits.
  • Provided community services for children with special needs, including:
    • family support services for about 8,000 families across the province.
    • a survey on service figures and waitlist information, results of which showed no significant variations between 2001 and 2002/03.
  • Prepared to administer, for eligible families with children with ASD aged six to 18, new direct funding up to $6,000 a year for autism intervention during out-of-school hours. The new program will build on a range of services already provided by the ministry such as respite, supported child care, family support and child care workers. It is a joint initiative of the Ministries of Health Services, Health Planning (diagnosis and assessment), Education (educational programs), and MCFD (intervention funding).
  • Joined the Prairie Northern Pacific Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Disorder (FASD) partnership of provinces and territories to promote awareness and prevention of FASD.

Child and Family Development

  • Passed legislative amendments to the Child, Family and Community Service Act (CFCSA) enabling a child to be returned to someone other than a parent that the child knows shortly after removal, such as extended family or close friends. Changes also enable a child in continuing care to consent to being returned to someone other than a parent; and clarify legal duty to report suspected child abuse or neglect.
  • Brought into force and put in place existing provisions of the CFCSA to support parents to enter into alternate care arrangements with family or close others when their child needs protection. The use of kin and other agreements has steadily increased, with 63 agreements in March 2003, compared to only four in July 2002 when legislative changes enabling them came into force.
  • Implemented family group conferences and trained ministry family group conference coordinators, to support families to make plans to care for a child needing protection.
  • Completed reviews of practice standards for child protection, family development, guardianship, resources and, and consulted with staff and communities, to enable regions to adapt more flexible and innovative practice while maintaining accountability and responsiveness.
  • Administered a $5 million Youth Educational Assistance Fund (YEAF), increased by $3 million over the previous year, to assist young people between ages 19–24 formerly in permanent care to reach their educational goals. Bursaries are provided up to $2,500/year, to a $10,000 maximum over five years.
  • Refocused the role of the B.C. Federation of Foster Parent Associations (BCFFPA) to support regional governance. BCFFPA will play a key role in supporting new regional chapters of foster parent associations and continue to centrally administer foster parent insurance.
  • Increased adoption placements, from 243 in 2001/02 to 328 in 2002/03, due to greater promotions, awareness, dedicated regional efforts and permanency planning.
  • Supported the extensive work in preparation for community-based governance conducted by the provincial child and family development steering committee and regional planning committees, which included consultations with communities across the province.
  • Devolved responsibility and authority for the Director, under the Child, Family and Community Service Act, by establishing designated Directors in each region.
  • Developed a new audit tool for guardianship and child protection, and devolved responsibility for case practice reviews and audits to the ministry's five regions.
  • Regionalized the foster care support program, with advice, consultation and training for foster parents to be provided by a local and regional organization.
  • Supported a memorandum of understanding between government and the province's Aboriginal leaders which led to a new partnership through the Joint Aboriginal Management Committee (JAMC) to improve Aboriginal child and family welfare. Also, created five Aboriginal transition groups to plan for five regional Aboriginal child and family development authorities to serve their own communities.

Corporate Services, Program and Regional Management

  • The Community Services Interim Authorities Act was passed, facilitating the future creation of an interim community living authority, five interim regional child and family development authorities, and five Aboriginal interim regional authorities, and a potential interim common services authority.
  • Established a client call service within the Customer Service Centre, to provide the public with direct access to information regarding ministry services for more open, transparent and immediate communications to the public. The centre responded to over 2,500 calls from May 2002 through end-March 2003.
  • Finalized and posted the Corporate Accountability and Performance Framework on the ministry's website, to guide collaborative work between staff and the authorities to ensure high-quality services.
  • On the request of the Chair of Treasury Board, reviewed school-based programs and concluded that they improve educational outcomes for vulnerable students; then prepared to commit $35 million for CommunityLINK in 2003/04 and future school years as a new, more equitable approach to supporting vulnerable students from socio-economically-challenged situations.
  • Developed readiness criteria for new service delivery authorities and the ministry.
  • Initiated the revision of service delivery standards to be consistent with accreditation standards.
  • Continued reviewing contracted services to ensure they are efficient, effective and evidence-based and focus on client needs. In 2002/03, the ministry held about 14,750 service contracts, slightly less than in 2001/02.
  • Reduced regulations by over 4,500, as part of government's commitment to cut "red tape" burden and help front-line staff focus more on clients rather than excessive paperwork.
  • Prepared to increase and maintain efficiencies by planning for a common services approach to infrastructure services.
  • Released the external review of the now-defunct Woodland's institution and funded two independent consultation processes for families and former residents to ensure they knew of the report and had opportunities to respond.
  • Appointed five Interim Chief Executive Officers to plan community-based services with advice from regional planning committees.


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