What Do Children Experience & What Are Their Needs Regarding Permanency
Every child’s journey through care will be different, depending on a range of factors, including the age they came into care; if they were placed in the care of the ministry or a Delegated Aboriginal Agency (DAA) or in an out-of-care placement; how present and engaged their parents, family, and community are; if they are Indigenous; what type of home they are placed in and who their foster caregivers are; and how long they remain in care and if they age out of the care system, among others. That being said, there are policies and procedures that guide every child’s journey through the care system and determines aspects of their life such as where a child is placed when coming into care, how long they remain in the care system, and if and when they move from temporary custody to continuing custody.
Journeying through Care
Children can come into care for a variety of reasons determined through provincial policy – the Child and Family Community Services Act (CFCSA). Section 13 of the CFCSA outlines concerns a child could be experiencing in a home that would warrant the removal of the child, including physical abuse, sexual abuse, and neglect, among others, or through a voluntary agreement with the child’s parents. There are a number of pathways to permanency for children who have come into contact with the care system (as shown in Figure 1 and outlined below).
A pathway to permanency is a practice pathway that leads to all four dimensions of permanency – physical, relational, legal, and cultural – being secured for a child. Different pathways to permanency are available at points along the continuum of planning for a child. Pathways to permanency before a Continuing Custody Order (CCO) include:
- Family Preservation: the child stays at home in the care of their parent(s).
- Family Reunification: the child returns home to the custody of their parent(s) after temporarily living away from the home.
- The child moves into the custody of a person with whom they have a relational or cultural connection and who will uphold their rights to relational, cultural and physical permanency.
Pathways to Permanency
Pathways to permanency after a CCO include:
- Family Reunification by Cancellation of a CCO: the child returns home to the custody of their parent(s), after living in care under a Continuing Custody Order.
- Transfer of Custody (Section 54.1): the child for whom a Continuing Custody Order has been made moves into the custody of a person with whom they have a relational or a cultural connection and who will uphold their rights to relational, cultural, and physical permanency.
- Kinship Adoption: the child for whom a Continuing Custody Order has been made is adopted under the Adoption Act by a person with whom they have a relational or cultural connection, who will uphold their rights to relational, cultural, and physical permanency and whose application to adopt was made for that specific child.
- Custom Adoption: this is a community-specific and community-led process by which the child is adopted by a person with whom they have a relational or cultural connection, in accordance with the cultural practices of their Indigenous community and subject to the consent of the child’s parent(s).
- Adoption by Invitation to the Child’s Circle: the child for whom a Continuing Custody Order has been made is adopted under the Adoption Act by a person who does not have pre-existing relationships with the child and their circle, but who is committed to developing these and who will uphold the child’s rights to relational, cultural, and physical permanency.
Click here to learn more about permanency, including the four dimensions of permanency.