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Decision making delay

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Ministry of Children and Family Development

Kaylie was nine years old and living with her mother when her mother unexpectedly died. Although Kaylie’s father was unable to take care of her, Kaylie had a number of people within her extended family who wanted to care for her. The Ministry of Children and Family Development placed Kaylie with a foster family until a permanent placement decision was made. The ministry did not make a placement decision for nearly one year, eventually deciding to place Kaylie with her maternal aunt and uncle, Beth and Henry.

Beth was concerned about the length of time it took the ministry to make a placement decision, so she contacted the Ombudsperson. Our review indicated that one of the reasons the ministry delayed making a decision was because the ministry office that had Kaylie’s file intended to transfer it to another office within a month or two. In practice, that meant neither office was prepared to make a placement decision during that period. We also found that the ministry was initially planning to do safe home studies on two potential homes for Kaylie, but owing to resource issues, decided to do file reviews instead. Several months later, the ministry decided it was necessary to complete safe home studies after all because one of the prospective parents had a criminal record.

The ministry agreed that it took too long to make a placement decision for Kaylie, and said that in retrospect, they could have conducted assessments earlier. The ministry acknowledged Kaylie could have been placed with Beth and Henry on a restricted foster home basis. The ministry agreed to provide training for staff about safe home studies and restricted foster home placements, and wrote to Beth to acknowledge that Kaylie should have been placed with her earlier.

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