Though the standard applies to programs and services for children, youth, and families, the population of primary concern for high-quality care are the children and youth, from newborns (0 years) to young adults transitioning out of the system (21 years).
The standard for Child, Youth and Family Services requires that services are provided by and coordinated across all relevant agencies, including mental health specialists, social workers, and investigation agencies. An integrated approach to provision of services is necessary to improve the quality of services and care provided to the children, youth and families.
The types of services included in this standard are those designed to address the following; child/youth maltreatment, child/youth mental health, child developmental risk, violence in the home, intergenerational trauma, child/youth rights, family dysfunction, family-community connections, psycho-social functioning, youth justice, and substance abuse.
Overseeing and providing child welfare programs are tasks that involve many different disciplines. Some of the main facilitators are;
- Social workers
- Child protection specialists
- Family case workers
- Community health workers
- Therapists and counsellors
All of these individuals and more are responsible for respecting the client’s rights, dignity, autonomy, comfort, and safety when they are using child, youth and family services. This standard will assist in improving the effectiveness, experience, and outcomes for individuals involved in the child welfare system by directing workers to helpful tools and resources.
The Child, Youth and Family Services Standard, provides clients and families with a framework for safe and respectful services and includes the following clauses:
- Services are designed collaboratively to meet the needs of clients and the community.
- Sufficient resources are available to provide safe, high-quality, and client-centred services.
- Team members are qualified and have relevant competencies.
- Services are provided within a collaborative team environment.
- Well-being and work-life balance is promoted within the team.
- Access to services for current and potential clients, families, teams, and referring organizations is provided in a timely and coordinated manner.
- Investigations are performed in suspected cases of child maltreatment.
- Clients and families are partners in service delivery.
- Service plans are developed in partnership with the client and family, and based on a comprehensive assessment.
- Service plans are implemented in partnership with clients and families.
- Alternative care for children and youth who are unable to remain safely in their homes is provided.
- Services for child protection, family support, and justice are integrated in the community.
- Clients and families are partners in planning and preparing for transition to another service or setting.
- Client records are kept accurate, up-to-date, and secure.
- Information is managed to support the effective delivery of services.
- Current research, evidence-informed guidelines, and best practice information is used to improve the quality of services.
- Client and team safety is promoted within the service environment.
- Indicator data is collected and used to guide quality improvement activities.
Who this standard is for
Child welfare services provide support and programs for children, youth and families. Programs and services may include family development support programs, child/youth protection services and services for youth in conflict with the law. Organizations using the Child, Youth and Family Services Standard may provide oversight and/or provide supportive programs and services for this population. The Child, Youth and Family Services Standard has been informed by literature and developed by a Technical Committee of experts. This standard provides guidelines of excellence to help organizations assist children and families in managing their lives and achieving positive outcomes.