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Out of Home Care Standards in Canada, Ireland and the United Kingdom Iain Matheson ACWA Conference 2-4 August 2010 Sydney.

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Presentation on theme: "Out of Home Care Standards in Canada, Ireland and the United Kingdom Iain Matheson ACWA Conference 2-4 August 2010 Sydney."— Presentation transcript:

1 Out of Home Care Standards in Canada, Ireland and the United Kingdom Iain Matheson ACWA Conference 2-4 August 2010 Sydney

2 Presentation Overview  Three contexts  Findings from international research into foster care standards  Discussion of some issues in relation to the UK, Canada, and Ireland:  OOHC system  Sets of foster care and residential care standards  Key features of standards

3 Context One Matheson, I. (2009). Foster care standards: A four county study. Wellington, New Zealand: New Zealand Child and Foster Care Federation  Selection of Aus., Can., Ire. and UK  Mixed methods approach  Literature review  Analysis of 31 sets of standards in 18 jurisdictions  38 telephone interviews across 12 jurisdictions  Sampling  Jurisdictions - national/state/provincial/territorial

4 Context Two  Quality4Children standards for out-of-home child care in Europe  Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children (formerly UN Guidelines for the Appropriate Use and Conditions of Alternative Care for Children)  National Framework for Protecting Australia’s Children 2009-2020 and development of National Standards for Out of Home Care

5 Context three standard /'stænded/ n. & adj. —n. 1 an object or quality or measure serving as a basis or example or principle to which others conform or should conform or by which the accuracy or quality of others is judged (by present-day standards). 2 a the degree of excellence etc. required for a particular purpose (not up to standard), b average quality (of a low standard). 3 the ordinary procedure, or quality or design of a product, without added or novel features. 4 a distinctive flag, esp. the flag of a cavalry regiment as distinct from the colours of an infantry regiment. 5 a an upright support, b an upright water or gas pipe. 6 a a tree or shrub that stands alone without support. b a shrub grafted on an upright stem and trained in tree form (standard rose). 7 a document specifying nationally or internationally agreed properties for manufactured goods etc. (British Standard). 8 a thing recognized as a model for imitation etc. 9 a tune or song of established popularity. 10 a system by which the value of a currency is denned in terms of gold or silver or both. b the prescribed proportion of the weight of fine metal in gold or silver coins. 11 a measure for timber, equivalent to 165 cu. ft. (4.7 cubic metres). 12 Brit. hist. a grade of classification in elementary schools, — adj. 1 serving or used as a standard (a standard size). 2 of a normal or prescribed quality or size etc. 3 having recognized and permanent value; authoritative (the standard book on the subject). 4 (of language) conforming to established educated usage (Standard English). multiple standard a standard of value obtained by averaging the prices of a number of products. raise a standard take up arms; rally support (raised the standard of revolt), standard-bearer 1 a soldier who carries a standard. 2 a prominent leader in a cause (Oxford English Dictionary).

6 Foster care standards: A four county study findings 1: Almost all jurisdictions in the study had published foster care standards - some had more than one set. 2: In most jurisdictions, the publishing of sets of foster care standards was a very recent development. 3: There were considerable differences across the sets of standards. 4: The context in each jurisdiction was critically important to how the standards were shaped.

7 Foster care standards: A four county study findings...continued 5: Six types of standards identified:  Best Practice  Expected Practice  Minimum Practice  Practice Principles  Ambiguous  Mixed 6: Interviewees saw standards as a positive development but...

8 UK OOHC Systems England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland Local authorities provide care and also purchase from NGOs and a large private sector Very strong central government involvement Some current practice and policy issues –Professionalisation of foster care –Kin care levels traditionally low but growing fast in some areas –Strong ‘current’ focus upon integrated working, leaving care and education –Rights of children and young people –Current budget cuts

9 UK Standards First Key standards in leaving care, 1996 (England & Wales) UK national standards for foster care, 1999 (UK) National care standards: Foster care and family placement services, 2002 (Eng.) Children’s Homes: National Minimum Standards. Children's Homes Regulations, 2002 (England) Fostering services: National minimum standards of foster care, 2003 (Wales) National care standards: Foster care and family placement services, 2005 (Scotland) National standards in leaving care, 2007 (England) Training, support & development standards for foster care, 2007 (England) National care standards: care homes for children and young people, 2005 (Scotland)

10 Characteristics of UK Standards Wide range and mix Includes statutory standards and comprehensive registration and inspection regime Different bodies in each country, for example the Office for Standards in Education, Children's Services and Skills in Eng. Statutory standards are minimum standards although grading systems have recently been introduced. Statutory foster care standards focus upon the fostering service as an organisation – written in first person to children and young people. UK national standards for foster care (1999) still in use?

11 Republic of Ireland OOHS system Recently re-structured Care delivered by central government (Health Services Executive), NGO sector and a very small private sector Central government (HIQA) inspects residential facilities and fostering services Historically more reliant on residential care Some current practice and policy issues –The Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse (Ryan report) –Budgets –Kin care –Asylum seekers

12 Republic of Ireland Standards National Standards for Children's Residential Centres (2001) National standards for special care units (n.d.) National minimum standards for fostering services (2003) Draft national quality standards for residential and foster care services for children and young people (2010)

13 Characteristics of Republic of Ireland Standards Current (2003) fostering standards have a lot off strengths but there were some implementation issues New draft standards have integrated residential and foster care New draft standards strike a balance between articulating high level standards and outcomes, and providing clear, detailed and substantive criteria. Awaiting outcome of the consultation exercise

14 Canadian OOHC systems 13 Provinces and Territories – significant diversity Care delivered by Ministries/Depts., Health Boards, Children’s Aid Societies and First Nations agencies. Very limited Central government role in OOHC Strong role for third party accreditation bodies for residential and foster care Some current practice and policy issues –Professionalization of foster care –Growth in kin care –Foster family recruitment –Care of aboriginal children and young people

15 Canadian standards Standards of Excellence for Family Foster Care Services, 1995 (CWLA). Provincial and territorial standards - various External accreditation standards (including): Canadian Accreditation Council accreditation process & standards manual, (2008) Council on Accreditation standards, (2010)

16 Characteristics of Standards Provincial foster care standards tend to: –Have developed incrementally and be relatively ‘low key’ –be integrated into the government organisation –foster family practise management tools and –have limited aggregated monitoring and reporting in place. External accreditation –Includes Council on Accreditation and Canadian Accreditation Council –British Columbia and Alberta require that any agency contracted by the government to offer services to children be accredited Others –Licensing standards –Residential complaint standards, for example as developed by the Office of the Child and Youth Advocate in Ontario

17 Ten personal thoughts on good OOHC standards 1: Focus on improving outcomes in a way that engages workers and carers. A continuous improvement/management of change/learning approach. 2: Part of a package of integrated measures. 3: Indigenous children central. 4: Develop collaboratively. 5: Recognise some differences between residential and foster care and also foster care and kin care. 6 : Include aftercare. 7: Support with funding and associated infrastructure. 8: Clear logic model and monitoring/evaluation framework. 9: Build upon our evidence base and what we know as practitioners, managers and researchers. 10: Don’t duck the hard issues i.e. relationships and warmth.

18 Thanks! For further information, a copy of this presentation or a copy of Foster care standards: A four country, please contact Iain Matheson at

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