This section covers the case management assessment process. It
contains assessment standards for services provided by mandated
child and family services agencies and licensed adoption agencies.
The Child and Family Services
The following provisions in The Child and Family Services Act and the Child
Abuse Regulation referred to in Section 1.1.1, Intake,
apply to this section of the manual.
18.4 of the Act, an agency must:
- immediately investigate a report that a child might be in
need of protection
- take such further steps as required by the Act and regulations
or as the agency considers necessary for the protection of the
- report the conclusion of a child protection investigation
to persons listed in these provisions
19 of the Act requires that an agency establish a child abuse
committee to review cases of suspected abuse of a child and to advise
the agency. Under section 25, an agency may authorize a medical examination for an apprehended child less than 16 years of age. An agency may also apply to court for an order authorizing a medical examination of an apprehended child 16 years of age or older who refuses to consent to an examination. Subsection
27(1) and subsection
29(1) set out the time lines for proceeding to court in child
Clause 2(a) of the Child
Abuse Regulation sets out requirements for consultation with
a duly qualified medical practitioner and a medical examination
when necessary and appropriate.
The Adoption Act
Under section 7 of the Adoption
Regulation, agencies must provide counselling to birth parents
that includes assistance in identifying the characteristics of an
adoption family acceptable to or preferred by the birth parent.
Under subsection 10(1), an agency must carry out a thorough assessment
with respect to a child to be placed for adoption, in a form and
manner required by the director. Under subsection 17(1), an agency
must conduct a thorough homestudy of an adoptive applicant.
Children in Need of Protection
Children in Care
Assessment begins at the first contact and is ongoing. It involves
gathering and analyzing information on the strengths, needs, and
resources of a person or family including extended family and community
resources. It determines what is needed to build a family's ability
to care for children. Workers should encourage individuals, families
and children to take an active part in identifying both the issues
and the resources to meet their needs.
A thorough assessment identifies key family members, their individual
characteristics, how they relate to one another and how their environment
affects them. An assessment must be updated regularly
as circumstances change or more information becomes available, to
help predict and avoid situations that may lead to abuse or neglect
Assessment is the basis for case management planning. A comprehensive
assessment is more likely to lead to the development of a plan that
is relevant, timely and ultimately successful. All factors must
be assessed regardless of the services required or requested (for
example, family support, child protection, adoption or post-adoption
Children in Need of Protection
As required under section
17 of The Child and Family Services Act, priority must
be given to assessing potential risk to the life, health or emotional
well-being of a child.
Risk assessment is an integral and ongoing part of the case management process. It identifies factors that pose a risk to children and assigning priority to a case. Risk assessment begins at intake when a worker gathers information, identifies issues and conducts a Safety Assessment as part of the Intake Module. It continues in the assessment phase through a more in-depth assessment and in the evaluation process when reviewing cases.
Manitoba does not require or use a standardized risk assessment
tool to determine the level of risk to children. However, agencies
must ensure that staff receive appropriate training in assessing
and documenting risk factors either through the provincial core
competency-based training program or a recognized equivalent.
Children in Care
When a child is taken into care, additional information is required
to understand and provide support to the child, the caregiver and
the family, and to support a child's sense of continuity and need
for permanency. Children in care have all the normal developmental,
emotional, social, health, educational, cultural and spiritual needs
of growing children. In addition, the impact of separation, loss
and reunification may require services beyond what is normally provided
to a child of the same age.
Regular assessments identify issues that may impact on a child
in the longer-term as well as the short-term and help to plan for
the normal transitions in a child's life (for example, between home
and school, childhood and adolescence, care and independence).
The case management decisions at the assessment stage are:
- What information is needed to:
- determine the level of risk to any children?
- ensure the ongoing safety of any children?
- determine the family's needs?
- determine the special needs of any child?
- identify strengths within the individual, family or community?
- match the individual or family to appropriate, effective
- determine if abuse has occurred?
- return a child to the care of a parent or guardian?
- develop a permanency plan for a child?
- What conclusions does the information support?
- What priority for service does the information support?
The assessment stage may have three parts depending on whether
a child is in need of protection or has come into care:
Family Assessment – an assessment
to determine the family's ability to care for its children and the
level of service required. The worker assesses key family members,
their individual characteristics and strengths, how they relate
to one another and how their environment affects them.
Child Assessment – a specialized assessment
of any child to determine individual needs separate from the family
and the permanency plan for the child.
Child Protection Investigation – a specialized assessment to determine whether a child is in need
of protection. The investigation may contribute to but does not
replace the family assessment.
The family assessment is required on all open cases. The other
two assessments are made depending on the situation and contribute
to the family assessment.
- Family Assessment Process - The case
manager makes at least four contacts with the family to complete
a family assessment. At least one of the contacts must be with
key family members in the family's home.
- Participation in Family Assessment –
Through the family assessment, the case manager and the family
identify those individuals who need to participate in the planning
process. Excluding children 12 or over from the planning process
requires supervisory approval.
- Completion of Assessments and Updates - The case manager completes the family assessment and updates,
forwarding them to the supervisor:
- within one month of:
- a Safety Assessment that
determined the children were unsafe
- an application to adopt a specific child
- a request to place a child for adoption
- within two months of an intake when there were no protection
concerns or a Safety Assessment that determined that the children were safe
- at least 10 days before any time frame established by a
- Updating Family Assessments – The worker
updates a family assessment:
- when there is significant change in circumstances such as
- an out-of-home placement is required
- a child is returning to the family
- a minor applies for income assistance or makes a request
to live independently
- a family requests more services or wishes to end services
- adoptive applicants advise of changes that require updates
to a homestudy
- at least every six months when a high
or medium risk has been assigned to a case
- at least annually when a low risk is assigned to a case
- when a review shows no positive changes after three months
- Reviews of Family Assessments – The
supervisor reviews the family assessment and updates to it within
five working days of receiving it to ensures that all necessary
information is included and conclusions are appropriate, particularly
the priority given to the case.
- When Child Assessment Required - The
worker does an individual child assessment:
- within 30 days of the placement of a child
- prior to returning a child to the family
- within one month of a family assessment that suggests a
- has needs that cannot be managed by the family
- is likely to be in care for more than six months and
in need of permanency planning
- Updating Child Assessments - The worker
updates a child assessment at least annually and more frequently
- monitoring suggests
the need for a change in services to the child there (for
example, before returning a child to the family, or a change
- a review shows no positive
changes after three months
- a review indicates a need
to revise a child's permanency plan (for example, that reunification
with the child's family must be postponed or reassessed)
- Contact with Parents of Permanent Wards - At least once a year, the case manager attempts to contact the
parents or former guardians of a permanent ward to assess the
potential for reunification or re-involvement when this is in
the best interests of the child and contact is possible.
- Medical Examination of Abused Child - When physical abuse, or sexual abuse involving physical contact
of a child is alleged or suspected, the case manager arranges
for the child to be medically examined within 24 hours when:
- the child has a physical injury or appears to be in pain
- sexual abuse was alleged to have occurred within the previous
- a medical practitioner believes an examination to be necessary
- Client Contact in Child Protection Investigation - Within five working days receiving a report of abuse, the
- has face-to-face contact with:
- the child alleged to be in need of protection
- any other children living in the household
- any caregiver, custodial parent or guardian (other than
an alleged offender)
- the alleged offender if authorized by the police or
if there is no plan for police involvement
- completes a Safety Assessment when it is not certain that all children in the situation
- identifies all persons involved in the investigation and
the case (for example, police, medical system, school, other
- establishes and documents a process for sharing information
on the current incident
- completes a report on the investigation and forwards it
to his or her supervisor within five working days of the initial
contact with the child or family
- Reviews of Child Protection Investigation
Reports - The supervisor:
- reviews and approves child protection investigation reports
as to their completeness and the appropriateness of the conclusions
- ensures that all reports pertaining to an investigation
of alleged child abuse are referred to the agency child abuse
coordinator within 10 working days of receiving the referral
- provides the Child Protection Branch with copies of all
reports where an alleged abuser is a person who provides work
for or services to the agency (for example, a social worker,
foster parent or child care worker) as required under section
18.6 of The Child and Family Services Act.
- Duties of Child Abuse Coordinators - The abuse coordinator:
- reviews all reports of alleged abuse,
- confirms unsubstantiated reports and returns them to the
case manager to share with the alleged offender as required
18.4(2.1) of The Child and Family Services Act,
- within 30 days of the initial report, ensures that all
substantiated or inconclusive reports are scheduled for review
by the agency child abuse committee at its next meeting as
required under subsection 7(1) of the Child
- provides consultation in the investigation and management
of the case as directed by the agency child abuse committee,
- within five working days, advises the case manager of a child abuse committee’s decisions made pursuant to subsection 19(3) of the Act.