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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Ministry Role and Services

Ministry Vision, Mission and Values

The principles contained within the ministry's vision, mission and values guide all ministry service delivery, to ensure high-quality services that promote and advance the functioning and well being of vulnerable children, adults with developmental disabilities and families.


The Ministry of Children and Family Development envisions a province of healthy children and responsible families living in safe, caring and inclusive communities.


Our mission is to promote and develop the capacity of families and communities to:

  • Care for and protect vulnerable children and youth.
  • Support adults with developmental disabilities.


The following principles guide the ministry in its work:

  • We believe in the right and primary responsibility of families to protect and support the growth and development of children and youth.
  • We believe that government must acknowledge and reinforce the capacity of communities to support and enhance the resilience of children and families.
  • We believe that this ministry should provide the minimal intervention necessary to ensure the safety and well-being of our most vulnerable community members.

Role and Mandate

The ministry's role and mandate is to:

  • Advance the safety and well being of vulnerable children, youth and adults.
  • Advance early childhood development through strategic investments.
  • Advance and support a community-based system of family services that promotes innovation, equity and accountability.


Through legislation, MCFD is responsible for the child welfare system and permanency planning (adoption) for children in continuing care. In 2002/03, MCFD administered the Adoption Act; Correction Act (sections pertaining to youth justice services only); Child, Family and Community Service Act; Community Services Interim Authorities Act; Human and Social Services Delivery Improvement Act (Part 3); Human Resource Facility Act; Secure Care Act (not proclaimed); and the Social Workers Act.

The following legislation also guided delivery of MCFD services in 2002/03: BC Benefits (Child Care Subsidy) Act; Community Care Facility Act; Family Relations Act; Mental Health Act; Youth Criminal Justice Act (Canada), and Young Offenders (British Columbia) Act.

Update on New Era Commitments

New Era Commitment Ministry Progress in 2002/03
Stop the endless bureaucratic restructuring that has drained resources from child and family services.

• Underway. The ministry's three-year Service Plan establishes stability and focuses on community-based governance to improve local, front-line services to children, families and adults with developmental disabilities.

Enhance training, resources and authority for front-line social workers, to protect children at risk and improve services to families.

• Underway. In 2002/03, approximately 20 new post-secondary social work and child welfare spaces were added.

• In 2002/03, the Child Welfare Specialization program was fully implemented at universities. 117 students finished practicums and graduated in B.C. universities' Schools of Social Work and Child and Youth Care. MCFD hires such graduates, who have knowledge and skills needed to begin practice.

• The Child, Family and Community Service Amendment Act 2002 was passed, clarifying and strengthening the Act and providing front-line workers with more options than removal.

• Over 4,500 regulatory requirements were omitted to help cut "red tape".

Work with foster parents to help them improve care and placements of foster children.

• Underway. In 2002/03, the ministry has been developing new regional foster parent training and support contracts, to move supports and education to future permanent authorities and increase local support for foster parents.

• In partnership with the BCFFPA, staff prepared a fostering survey to identify support areas to enhance.

Focus on early identification of at-risk children and measures aimed at preventing crisis situations before they arise.

• Underway. Family development and early childhood development programs expanded in 2002/03 to prevent and/or address issues earlier.

• The ministry also formed an Interim Joint Policy Directorate to ensure seamless service transitions for children and youth with special needs.

• In 2002/03, about 600 children under six with autism received either early intensive behavioural intervention or the new interim early intensive intervention autism treatments.

With the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General, fight child prostitution and youth crime with specific legislation aimed at providing greater protection to children at risk, and greater parental responsibility for children who commit crimes.

• Underway. In 2002/03, the ministry made plans to conduct focused consultations in 2003 towards new legislation called the Safe Care Act, planned for introduction in 2004/05. New safe care services would follow in 2005/06 for sexually exploited youth at severe risk, to help them leave harmful situations and turn their lives around.

• The ministry continued working with the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General on related initiatives, and co-chaired an Assistant Deputy Ministers' Committee on Sexually Exploited Children.

Increase emphasis on early childhood intervention programs for families with special needs children.

• Underway. In 2002/03, government added $20 million to its budget for early childhood and family development service introduction and expansion across the province. The ministry also provided funding to establish two research chairs in early childhood development, in cooperation with the Ministry of Advanced Education.

Ministry Operating Context

Demographic and social trends, the condition of the provincial economy, as well as internal challenges and opportunities, greatly influence the demand and provision of ministry programs and services.

Budget targets and refocusing to evidence-based services

Between 2002/03 and 2005/06, the ministry's budget will decline by 19 per cent, or $305 million. The ministry must meet its legislated budget targets while preserving services to vulnerable children and youth, adults with developmental disabilities and their families with greatest need. Finding efficiencies through realigning and reducing headquarters administration, refocusing contracts to evidence-based services, using family care over costly residential care where possible, and introducing individualized funding were some key ways planned to meet targets. The ministry also continued refocusing contracts to ensure they represented services that are evidence-based and produce measurable results, to help ensure that future services are available for the most vulnerable clients and their families. The shift will help meet budget targets, improve services and ensure the enhanced health and well-being of clients and their families. In 2002/03, the ministry had about 14,750 contracts for family care services, a reduction of approximately 250 from 2001/02.

Families coping with various challenges

In B.C., there are over 900,000 children and youth. The percentage of children in the care of the ministry, who came from families receiving income assistance, was about 65 per cent over the past decade. While about 14 per cent of all families with children at home are headed by single parents, approximately 60 per cent of children in care come from lone-parent families. The 2001 Census showed that nearly 20 per cent of B.C.'s children live below the Low Income Cut Off (LICO).

Reducing the need to take children into care

After years of growth in the number of children in the care of the ministry, the total number of children in care declined in 2002/03, following a trend begun since June 2001. From 1996/97 to 2001/02, the rate of children in care increased by approximately one-third, although the growth started in early 1994. In March 2002/03, it decreased to about 10.4 per 1,000, down from 10.7 per 1,000 at the start of the fiscal. Factors contributing towards a decline included legislated changes for more options than removal, emphasis on adoption for children in permanent care and greater use of family development tools to keep families safely together.

However, the Aboriginal population of children in care did not notably change in 2002/03 and continued to represent about 45 per cent of all children in care at the end of March, 2003. This significantly contributed to the child in care rate stabilizing in the last four months of the fiscal and not declining to the degree the ministry had hoped and planned for. The ministry anticipates that the five Aboriginal child and family development authorities, anticipated for 2005/06, will enable more Aboriginal children and communities to be served within their own cultures, for better outcomes. Other means for better outcomes for Aboriginal children and families include more Aboriginal foster homes and Aboriginal caregivers, new or expanded delegation agreements, and more university spaces for Aboriginal social workers. Also, for 2003/04, the ministry will implement new projects with Aboriginal communities, to reconnect more Aboriginal children in care with their families and communities.

Attaining better outcomes for children in continuing care

Children in continuing care may significantly benefit from a plan to build on strengths and address issues. The ministry is furthering strategies to improve outcomes for these children, such as front-line use of a B.C. version of the Looking After Children (LAC) program. In 2002/03, over 150 workers completed LAC training, which assesses a child's situation, to help address difficulties, promote strengths, and plan for more positive outcomes for the child.

Preventing and stopping abuse and neglect of children

The 24/7 After Hours and Help Line for Children (toll free in B.C., 310-1234), received nearly 22,000 calls in 2002/03 that were related to a variety of child welfare issues such as suspected abuse or neglect. This was a slight decrease over 2001/02, with about 24,000 Help Line calls concerning those kinds of issues.

Increasing adoptions for children in permanent care

Adoption continued to be a regional priority to provide children in permanent care stability as well as contain in-care costs. Adoptions increased to 328 in 2002/03 compared to 243 in 2001/02 and only 163 in 2000/01, assisted by awareness campaigns, increased permanency planning, new staff training, regional recruitment positions, and contracts with licensed adoption agencies for homestudies. Community-based partnerships further helped promote adoption.

Planning for more children and youth to receive mental health services

Ministry records showed no significant change in staff-provided mental health service delivery to children and youth with mental disorders between 2001/02 and 2002/03, with about 10,400 clients served by staff each fiscal. Contracted service providers, accounting for half that program's budget, served thousands more. In 2002/03, improvements in data management led to an adjustment in statistics that, while lower than previously reported, was not indicative of any service reduction. In B.C., over 140,000 children and youth are estimated to have mental disorders that impair functioning. In 2002/03, government approved the ministry's Child and Youth Mental Health Plan, to improve and enhance these services across the province in the coming years.

Managing youth justice

Youth custody counts continued to decline in 2002/03, reflecting a national trend and reaching its lowest point in 18 years. In 2001/02, an average of 257 youth were in custody in a given period and about 2,670 were on probation. In 2002/03, about 219 youth were in custody and just over 2,450 were on probation. B.C. continued to provide nationally-recognized community-based custody alternatives, restorative justice, intensive support and supervision, which can contribute to productive outcomes for youth in the justice system.

Managing increasing demand for services to adults with developmental disabilities and their families

Improvements in medical technology have enabled persons with developmental disabilities to live longer, adding pressure to the lifelong services that the ministry provides these clients. Also, as aged parents are less able to care for their adult children, and as special needs children mature, caseloads may increase. The overall number of adults accessing community living services increased slightly in March 2003 to nearly 8,950 compared to March 2002 with over 8,650 clients. Between 1996/97 and January 2003, this client group grew by about 23 per cent; if that trend continues, caseloads will grow. To manage demand and budgets, the ministry and interim community living authority planned for more options around family care and direct funding, over costly residential resources, where possible.

Ensuring services for those children and youth with special needs with the greatest needs

The ministry provided services to about 16,000 children with special needs and their families in both 2001/02 and 2002/03. Services ranged from infant development, autism spectrum disorder (ASD) interventions, respite, child and youth care workers, to supported child care, school-aged therapy, nursing support, respite and at home assistance. In 2002/03, the number of children under age six with ASD and their families accessing autism supports increased by several hundred, due to the introduction of interim early intensive intervention programs. Plans were also announced for direct funding for eligible school-aged children and youth with ASD.

Managing service transitions to community-based governance

In the ministry's transition of services to community-based governance, work continued to ensure service continuity and quality and a risk management approach, to ensure mitigation of controllable risks in transition. The ministry began establishing an accountability framework with its foundations in accreditation, an outcomes approach for child and family development services, performance agreements, and readiness criteria for authorities to meet prior to assuming service delivery. The legislation that enabled establishment of the interim authority focused on a turnkey operation as part of an overall risk management strategy.

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Strategic Shifts

As part of a response to the results of the Core Services Review in 2001/02, the ministry developed six strategic shifts as a guiding philosophy for service delivery and foundational context for the transition to community-based governance. The shifts are to:

  • Open, accountable and transparent relationships.
  • Enabling communities to develop and deliver services within a consolidated, coherent, community-based service delivery system.
  • Making strategic investments in capacity and resilience-building, and providing funding for programs and services known to work.
  • Promoting family and community capacity to protect children and support child and family development.
  • A community-based service delivery system that promotes choice, innovation and shared responsibility.
  • Building capacity within Aboriginal communities to deliver a full range of services with emphasis on early child and family development.

Ministry Structure

Each year, the Ministry of Children and Family Development's programs serve thousands of the province's most vulnerable children, youth, adults with developmental disabilities, and families with a broad variety of supports aimed at enhancing their health, safety, well-being and overall functioning. Services are provided directly by professional staff located throughout the ministry's five regions province-wide, and through contracted service providers, and emphasize strategic investments in evidence-based supports.

Key areas of ministry services include:

  • community supports for adults with developmental disabilities to promote their well-being, and enhance independence and community participation.
  • child and family development programs to ensure children's safety and well-being, and help families develop positive skills and abilities to keep them safely and healthfully together, including school-based programs (planned within the new CommunityLINK program in 2003/04).
  • child and youth mental health services to support children and young people with significant mental disorders to help them improve their functioning and well-being.
  • youth justice services to promote rehabilitation and productive, positive functioning in society.
  • youth services to help teens at serious risk leave harmful, high-risk situations and transition to healthy adulthood.
  • early childhood development services for children under age six, to promote their healthy development and well-being, to prevent later issues requiring more intensive interventions, and ensure a lifetime of benefits.
  • supports for children and youth with special needs and their families, to help them participate more fully in their communities and help families positively manage their challenges.

Key priorities in 2002/03 involved activities to devolve most ministry services to 10 regional authorities, one provincial authority and planning for a potential common services entity. Five interim chief executive officers were appointed to lead regional transition activities. The new community-based service delivery structure flowed from the results of the Core Services Review, and recommendations of four provincial steering committees. Extensive input was also obtained through consultations with clients, stakeholders, staff, contracted service providers and others. It is the ministry's primary plan to ensure all services and activities meet government's broad goal of ensuring a supportive social infrastructure by providing better services for vulnerable children, families, adults with developmental disabilities, and Aboriginal communities.


In 2002/03, plans continued for the streamlining of headquarters. Led by the Deputy Minister, headquarters provides central support for ministry operations and will support permanent regional and provincial authorities when established.

The functions of headquarters include leadership by establishing provincial legislation policies and standards; performance management of service delivery including establishment of outcome-based objectives and evaluation criteria; audits, policies and outcomes; advice and support; monitoring for quality assurance and administrative fairness; determining best practices; and maintaining strategic partnerships.

Management Organizational Structure
Ministry of Children and Family Development

Link to Management Organizational Structure. Link to Management Organizational Structure.


Ministry Organization Structure


Services are delivered through five regions by staff and contracted service providers. Each region is led by an interim chief executive officer. The five regions are the Fraser, Interior, North, Vancouver Coastal and Vancouver Island. Most community-based services will be transferred to the permanent provincial and regional authorities.

The regions' major functions include ensuring seamless service transitions to permanent authorities; managing staff or contractor-provided service delivery; conducting regional needs assessments, conducting regional planning, evaluation and reporting; and allocating and managing funding. The regions also ensure public accountability through front-line complaint processes; equitable services for a diverse population; collaborative stakeholder and community relationships; and by establishing mandatory advisory committees with families, youth and adults with developmental disabilities.

Ministry services are delivered province-wide throughout the five regions shown below.

Ministry of Children and Family Development Regions

Ministry of Children and Family Development Regions.


Core Business Areas

Five core business areas supported the ministry's goals and objectives in 2002/03 as highlighted below. Services are provided across the province, either directly by professional staff or contracted service providers.

Adult Community Living Services

Expenditures in 2002/03: $555.7 million

Key Goal: To promote an environment where adults with developmental disabilities can participate in and contribute to their communities and live a full and valued life.

At the end of March 2003, this area was providing residential and day program support to 8,941 adults with developmental disabilities and their families. Services promote the increased well-being and functioning of clients in communities province-wide. Residential programs, which provide places to live while promoting greater independence and care, cover a continuum up to intensive levels, depending on need. Training and support (day) programs include self-help skills, home support, supported work, and professional support services.

In 2002/03, preparations were underway to introduce individualized funding for greater client options and program sustainability. An interim community living authority was established in Fall 2002, to plan for the permanent transition of community living services for adults with developmental disabilities, and for some children and youth with special needs and their families, to the permanent community living service authority anticipated for late 2003.

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

Expenditures in 2002/03: $159.3 million

Key Goal: To promote an environment that supports the health and safety of our highest risk youth.

This area serves youth involved in the justice system, children and youth with serious mental disorders, and youth at risk, to promote positive skills development and healthy, independent functioning. Youth justice services include probation, custody, day programs, intensive supervision, rehabilitation, restorative justice and other measures. In 2002/03, just under 219 youth were in custody a day and about 2,450 were on probation, an overall decline from 2001/02.

Child and Youth Mental Health services assist young people with significant mental disorders that can impair their functioning. Services include operation of the Maples Adolescent Treatment Centre for intensive treatment, youth forensic psychiatric services to the courts and clients, and community-based staff and contractor provided mental health resources ranging from prevention to intensive support and treatment. In both 2001/02 and 2002/03, mental health staff served about 10,400 clients and contracted service providers, accounting for about half the area's budget, served thousands more.

Youth Services provides programs for at-risk and sexually exploited youth to help guide them to healthier, safer futures through a variety of services such as professional support workers, safe houses, and youth agreements.

In 2002/03, most of this area's community-based services were being prepared for transfer to the future permanent regional authorities, with the ministry planning to retain administration of youth custody and provincial services such as the Maples Adolescent Centre and Youth Forensic Psychiatric Services.

Early Childhood Development and Children and Youth with Special Needs

Expenditures in 2002/03: $174.0 million

Key Goal: To improve family capacity and improve readiness to learn for children under six, including children with special needs.

Early Childhood Development programs encourage the development of healthy children up to age six, to prevent further problems that would subsequently require more intensive interventions. Special needs services provide child and youth focused, and family support programs and interventions promote healthy development and functioning, to enhance functioning and help families together. Throughout 2002/03, staff and contractors provided services for early childhood development as a priority of the ministry, with specific attention paid to building more culturally appropriate services for Aboriginal communities to enhance their outcomes. Services include infant development, behavioural autism supports and therapies, supported child care, school-aged therapy, preventative and early intervention resources, at home support and respite, child and youth workers, and other developmental and supportive services.

In 2002/03, about 600 children under age six years with autism spectrum disorder received the new interim early intensive intervention (IEII) services or the previously established early intensive behavioural intervention (EIBI) services. This compared to about 75 children receiving EIBI in the previous year. Over 6,500 families received supported child care services in 2002/03, which assists eligible children who need supports to participate in the broader child care system. Over 3,000 children received infant development services to provide them a better start in life, and about 8,000 families received special needs family support services to help them care for their child with special needs. Overall, about 16,000 children and youth with special needs and their families received ministry services in 2002/03, similar to the previous fiscal.

Most services in this area will be transferred to community-based governance authorities when established.

Child and Family Development

Expenditures in 2002/03: $583.5 million

Key Goal: To promote an environment where the most vulnerable children and youth are protected and supported by families and communities.

Child welfare programs carry out the province's responsibilities under the Child, Family and Community Service Act, to ensure that children at risk of harm are protected from further abuse and neglect, and to promote the capacity of families and communities to support children. Programs include the children in care residential program, including foster care, contracted facilities, and independent living, and adoption services for children permanently in the care of the province. Family development services are used to preserve children's safety and well-being while keeping families positively together. New measures were put in place to reduce the average number and cost of children in care while ensuring their safety and well-being, including kin and other agreements and promoting family care over residential group homes, and greater promotion of adoption.

In 2002/03, the rate of children in care continued to decline, to 10.4 per 1,000 children, compared to 10.7 per 1,000 at the end of the previous fiscal year, due to the increased use of alternatives to removal and greater emphasis on family development. As well, due to increased promotions and targeted efforts, adoptions increased to 328 compared to 243 the previous fiscal. Approximately 90 protection reports were received a day, and about 3,150 foster parents provided caring homes for many children in care.

In 2002/03, plans were underway to transfer most child and family development services to five regional authorities in 2004, and to five subsequent Aboriginal regional authorities, anticipated for 2005/06.

Corporate Services, Program and Regional Management

Expenditures in 2002/03: $96.4 million

Key Goal: To plan and deliver services in the most efficient and effective manner.

This area provides overall direction, development and support for ministry programs, including support for all regional operations and transition activities. Functions include policy and legislative support, intergovernmental relations, audit, accountability, performance management and related research functions, and financial and decision support services.

The transition to community-based governance progressed in 2002/03, facilitated by the passing of interim authority enabling legislation in Fall 2002, and work towards introducing legislation in 2003/04 to enable permanent authorities. In 2002/03, this area has been planning for a future downsizing of headquarters, and its future role in implementing and monitoring accountabilities and performances among the authorities.

The five core business areas described above existed throughout 2002/03. However, for 2003/04, the ministry will realign to four core business areas, to be of maximum utility to the future community-based governance authorities, which the future ministry will support. The realignment was structural; it was not associated with any service reductions. The 2003/04 core business areas will be Community Living Services, Child and Family Development, Provincial Services, and Executive and Support Services.


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