1.5.5 Support and Respite

 

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Volume 1: Agency Standards
Chapter 5: Foster Homes
Section 5: Support and Respite
Approved: 2008/07/02
Last revised:

 

This section covers support and respite for children in care in foster homes and family or agency staff residences used as a place of safety.

Legislation
Policy
Standards

 

Legislation

General Requirements
Licensed Foster Homes
Places of Safety

 

General Requirements

Child and family services agencies have a duty under clause 7(l) of The Child and Family Services Act to develop and maintain child care resources. Child and family services authorities have a duty under clause 19(l) of The Child and Family Services Authorities Act to ensure the development of appropriate placement resources for children.

 

Licensed Foster Homes

Section 2 of the Foster Homes Licensing Regulation defines a respite foster home as a foster home that provides residential care and supervision of children for four or more days a month on a regular monthly basis or 15 or more consecutive days in any year.

Section 18 of the regulation applies to persons other than foster parents who work directly with foster children. Subsections (1) through (3) list the duties of a licensing agency in screening and assessing a person who works directly with foster children for more than 10 hours a week. Subsection (3.1) pertains to the transferring of records about a person to a new licensing agency with the consent of the person. Subsection (4) requires a placing agency to approve a casual worker, that is, a person who works directly with foster children for less than 10 hours per week.

 

Places of Safety

Section 3 of the Child and Family Services Regulation applies to persons who provide support or respite services for a child an agency places or leaves in a place of safety.

 

Policy

Direct Agency Support
Child Care Support
Respite in Home Where Child Resides
Licensed Out-of-Home Respite
Casual Out-of-Home Respite
Foster Parent Training and Development
Foster Parent Meetings and Groups
Foster Parent Recognition
Foster Family Programs

Agencies and service organizations involved in the development and use of foster homes have a responsibility to ensure foster and place-of-safety parents receive the support and respite they need. Support and respite involves a wide range of activities beginning with direct agency support.

 

Direct Agency Support

Direct agency support pertains to availability of agency staff, frequency of contact and working relationships. These responsibilities are shared by licensing and placing agencies and, when applicable, managing agencies as follows:

Licensing agencies are responsible for informing foster home applicants and parents about agency support services and for coordinating and monitoring the level of direct agency support provided to a licensed foster home when agencies other than the licensing agency have placed a child in the home.

Placing agencies provide direct support for the placement of a child including pre-placement visits, detailed information about the child, placement arrangements, development and review of a care plan, and discharge or removal of the child.

Managing agencies provide direct support to foster homes they manage on behalf of licensing and placing agencies.

 

Child Care Support

Child care support includes babysitting to assist caregivers in the care of children and additional child-focused services provided by an individual service provider (alternative caregiver) based on a child’s needs and service or care plan. It is not to be confused with respite (see below).

Funding for babysitting is provided through a babysitting/child care allowance given to foster and place-of-safety parents as part of basic maintenance. The allowance is for the care of a child placed by an agency while foster or place-of-safety parents are out of the home on child related business such as:

  • an emergency in the foster home or place of safety such as hospitalization of the child in care and the need to be with the child
  • taking a child in care for medical/special appointments while other children are in the home
  • attending parent-teacher interviews about a child in care while other children are in the home
  • attending orientation and training workshops or conferences and seminars required in their development as foster parents

Special needs funding is intended to pay for additional child care support for children who require a level of care beyond what a foster parent or place-of-safety parent can provide. It may also be used for emergency situations such as sudden illness or death in the foster home or place of safety. The maintenance payment and rates policy in Section 1.4.2 applies to the provision of additional child care support for a child in a place of safety.

 

Respite in Home Where Child Resides

Respite is a service component that allows foster and place-of-safety parents short intervals of time off from their day-to-day care of children in agency care. Respite may be provided in the home where the child resides or in the home of a respite provider (out-of-home respite).

The respite allowance in basic maintenance is in addition to the babysitting/child care allowance noted above. Foster and place-of-safety parents may use this allowance to arrange for alternate caregivers (for example, babysitters) to give them time off out of the home. Additional funding may be required for a child with special needs. The maintenance payment and rates policy in Section 1.4.2 applies to the provision of additional respite for a child in a place of safety.

 

Licensed Out-of-Home Respite

Persons or families who provide respite in their place of residence for four or more days a month on a regular basis or for 15 or more consecutive days in any year must be licensed (see section 2 of the Foster Homes Licensing Regulation). Licensing agencies have overall responsibility for the use of these homes.

 

Casual Out-of-Home Respite

Persons or families who provide respite in their place of residence for less than four days a month or 15 consecutive days in any year and not licensed as a foster home fall into one of two categories:

  • members of the immediate or extended family of the foster or place-of-safety parents or known to the child

  • families that have no relationship or previous contact with the foster home or place of safety or the child

Standard 5 in this section applies to the screening of casual out-of-home respite homes.

 

Foster Parent Training and Development

Agencies and service organizations have a responsibility to provide foster home applicants and parents with opportunities to acquire practical, relevant information on such matters as:

  • child development
  • impact of child abuse and neglect on child development
  • behavioural management
  • a child’s cultural and religious heritage

This responsibility is shared as follows:

Licensing Agencies – They are responsible for orientation of foster home applicants and for ongoing training and development of foster parents using funds in their central support grants.

Placing Agencies – They may initiate special training for a foster parent to better care for a child with special needs using child maintenance funds allocated for special costs.

Managing Agencies – Licensing and placing agencies may rely on managing agencies to provide training and development for foster parents.

Manitoba Foster Family Network – The goals of MFFN include:

  • assisting in the development and delivery of a province-wide comprehensive competency-based training program for foster parents
  • supporting foster parents involved in dispute, disagreement or conflict with an agency
  • providing development opportunities for foster parents who wish to acquire new knowledge and upgrade their skills beyond what is available in the competency-based training program

 

Foster Parent Meetings and Groups

Agencies should encourage and facilitate both foster parent meetings and foster parent involvement in the Manitoba Foster Family Network or regional support groups. These activities provide an opportunity for foster parents to share their experiences and to learn from the experiences of other foster parents. They may be done in conjunction with training and development.

 

Foster Parent Recognition

Recognition of valuable services provided by foster parents can take many forms including certificates, letters of appreciation and recognition events. In addition, agencies and workers may show their appreciation for an individual foster family’s contribution. Again, agencies should also encourage and facilitate the involvement of Manitoba Foster Family Network in this type of support.

 

Foster Family Programs

The following programs are described in detail in the Foster Family Manual completed and distributed in 2002 with the help and cooperation of the Manitoba Foster Family Network:

Third Party Liability Coverage – Foster and place-of-safety parents may be covered for third party liability either under an agency’s third party liability insurance policy or the province’s general liability policy. Third party liability refers to action taken by a third party as a result of the actions of a child in care.

Foster Parent Intentional Damage Compensation Plan – This plan provides coverage for intentional property damage occurring in foster homes and family or agency staff residences used as a place of safety. Coverage applies to the property of home operators or to the property of others in the care, custody and control of the home. Features of the plan include the following:

  • Each claim is subject to a $100 deductible. Basic maintenance includes an allowance to cover this cost
  • Claims exceeding $10,000 will be subject to individual approval by Treasury Board and are not eligible for the plan’s appeal process.
  • Claims involving theft must be reported to the police.
  • Claims must be reported in writing and submitted within one year of the date of loss. They must be submitted according to procedures established for the plan.

All claims must be reported in writing to:

Kernaghan Adjusters
203-90 Garry Street
Winnipeg MB R3C RH1
Tel: (204) 956-2550
Fax: (204) 943-5760

 

Legal Aid Assistance Program – Manitoba has an agreement with Legal Aid Manitoba for the provision of legal services to foster families (including homes approved as places of safety) offers a 24-hour on-call service in Winnipeg at telephone 985-8570. Outside Winnipeg, police are provided with a list of legal aid lawyers.

Parents and their children living in the home alleged to have abused a child placed in the home may be eligible for services. Section 1.3.3, Provincial Child Abuse Investigations and Section 26 of the Foster Family Manual contain details as to eligibility, services provided and how services are accessed.

Regular legal aid services are also available for minor children (under 18 years of age) charged with a criminal offence under the Criminal Code (Canada).

 

Standards

  1. Assessing Support and Respite Requirements – The case manager or foster care coordinator responsible for a child in care ensures that the need for support and respite services are assessed and reviewed as part of and consistent with:
  2. These responsibilities may be shared between a placing agency and a managing agency.

  3. Coordinating Support and Respite Services – The assessment and approval of support and respite services for a child in care are coordinated through the agency that is managing a foster home or place of safety. The managing agency:

    • decides on the total level of support and respite to be provided based on a review of overall requirements and subject to funding available from placing agencies

    • maintains a current record of support and respite service provided to a foster home or place of safety including review dates and funding levels


  4. Screening Support and Respite Workers – A licensing agency or, when applicable, a managing agency completes the assessment and screening requirements in section 18 of the Foster Homes Licensing Regulation before approving a person to work directly with a child for 10 or more hours per week.

  5. Screening Casual Workers – Pursuant to subsection 18(4) of the Foster Homes Licensing Regulation, before approving a person to work directly with a child placed in a foster home or place of safety for less than 10 hours per week, a placing agency assesses the suitability of the person and whether the person might pose a risk to a child as follows:

    • Person Known to Foster or Place-of-Safety Parents – Foster parents confirm they know the person and are confident the person will take good care of the child.

    • Minors not Known to Foster or Place-of-Safety Parents – The agency ensures the person has completed a recognized babysitting course if available and has been interviewed by the foster or place-of-safety parent or the agency.

    • Adults Not Known to Foster or Place-of-Safety Parents – The agency completes a criminal record and child abuse registry and, with the written consent of the person, a prior contact check within three months prior to the date the person begins providing care of the child.

    • Additional Requirements – The agency reviews the needs of the child and determines what additional qualifications, if any, may be required.
  6. The placing agency may rely on a managing agency to screen casual workers.

  7. Approving Casual Out-of-Home Respite – When approving out-of-home respite for less than four days a month or 15 consecutive days in a year, a placing agency

    • conducts a preliminary assessment of the home (see No. 2 under Family Residences in Section 1.4.2, Place of Safety) if the proposed caregiver is not known to foster or place-of-safety parents or the child,

    • inspects the residence within two working days to assess whether such factors as the physical environment and sleeping arrangements are satisfactory (see No. 3 under Family Residences in Section 1.4.2, Place of Safety), and

    • completes a criminal record and child abuse registry check and, with the written consent of the person, a prior contact check prior to the placement of the child in the respite home.
  8. When a managing agency completes the inspection and checks on behalf of a placing agency, the managing agency advises the placing agency in writing within two weeks of the results.

  9. Emergency Respite Arrangements – A foster parent advises the licensing agency soon as possible when an emergency situation creates a need for an alternative caregiver.