ARCHIVED - Evaluation of the Income Assistance, National Child Benefit Reinvestment and Assisted Living Programs - Follow-up Report Status Update as of March 31, 2010

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Action Plan Implementation Status Update Report to the Evaluation, Performance Measurement and Review Committee - As of March 31, 2010

Education and Social Development Programs and Partnerships - Social Policy and Program Branch

Evaluation of the Income Assistance, National Child Benefit Reinvestment and Assisted Living Programs (200812)
AEC Approval Date: 26/Feb/2009

Project
Recommendations
Action Plan Expected
Completion Date
Program
Response
Overall Recommendations
1. Create an Evaluation working group of INAC Audit and Evaluation Sector and Program Staff and First Nations representatives to develop outcome indicators for all three programs that will be meaningful and acceptable at the community level. The Program, in consultation with regions, developed an RMAF which outlined program objectives, expected results and evaluation criteria.

The Program, in collaboration with regions is developing an integrated Performance Measurement and Risk Management Strategy which will include the following components: program profile, logic model, risk profile, performance measurement framework and evaluation strategy. Once an initial draft is completed it will be shared with First Nations with a view to seeking their input.
31/03/2010 Status: In progress

Update/Rationale:
As of 31/03/2010:


INAC continues development of a Performance Measurement (PM) Strategy for the programs covered by the evaluation. Logic models for the Income Assistance (IA), National Child Benefit Reinvestment (NCBR), and Assisted Living (AL) programs have been drafted and shared with regional program representatives and the Audit and Evaluation sector for comment. The PM Strategy is expected to be completed in advance of program authority renewal in March 2011.

Comment: And key indicators will be integrated in the Umbrella Social Development PM Strategy to be approved by EPMRC in December 2010.

AES: Underway
2. Develop a standard data system and standardization of indicators for all regions to facilitate comparability. As part of the Performance Measurement Strategy presently under development, the Program will identify standard outcomes and indicators, as well as support the implementation of a renewed data collection and management process. 31/12/2010 Status: In progress

Update/Rationale:
As of 31/03/2010:


INAC is assessing how data may be refined and better managed through work on the Performance Measurement Strategy. For example, in the case of National Child Benefit Reinvestment, INAC drafted and is now piloting new application and annual report forms, including fields to forecast and collect data on outputs, outcomes and indicators. Intradepartmental collaboration on the development of better indicators and systems to support more effective measurement of program results continues. INAC is also exploring opportunities for collaboration with provinces in order to secure better Income Assistance data or purchase their systems.

AES: Underway
3. The Working Group created should have a discussion of OCAP principles regarding program data. While INAC needs to manage data for program design and accountability purposes, it will ensure that program data is publicly available. Ongoing Status:  In progress

Update/Rationale:
As of 31/03/2010:


Response unchanged from last update in November 2009.

- INAC is complying with requirements for transparency and public access to internal data and information.

AES: Underway
Income Assistance Recommendations
1. Develop, in partnership with relevant bodies such as HRSDC, AFN, and provincial ministries, an integrated strategy to address on-reserve labour and employment needs. The strategy would recognize the complex and unique needs of the on-reserve unemployed, such as restricted access to labour markets; multiple employability barriers; transportation needs; and the need for child care and other necessary supports while in training or educational upgrading programs. As part of the social program and policy reform, INAC is working with willing provinces and First Nations in a tripartite process that is unique to each jurisdiction. This process focuses on Active Measures to help a larger number of income assistance recipients to transition to the labour force.

More specifically, INAC is working with provincial governments to develop and implement approaches for active measures using provincial expertise and services to encourage youth to pursue employment rather than income assistance. These approaches will take into account the need to coordinate and integrate related programming, as well as supports necessary to pursue training, education and employment.

Program redesign and authority renewal will be based on best practices and will be moved out nationally.
Ongoing Status: In progress

Update/Rationale:
As of 31/03/2010:


The response remains unchanged.

- INAC is moving toward active measures-based programming for the Income Assistance (IA) program. This programming is designed to support First Nation individuals' transition from Income Assistance to employment in a manner reflecting local needs and within the reference provincial/territorial framework. INAC has established links and has regular ongoing discussions with INAC regions, Human Resources and Skills Development Canada, provinces and First Nation organizations to leverage resources and develop a more coordinated approach for delivery of the IA program to First Nation clients.

- INAC is working collaboratively with several provinces starting with Saskatchewan and Alberta, and relevant partners to develop and implement active measures programming.

- As it relates to youth specifically, the Department is presently allocating internal resources to fund several regional innovative active measures projects that target First Nation youth, with a view to increasing this group's ability to access employment.

AES: Underway
2. In the near term, until a strategy to address the causes of welfare dependency is in place, and achieving the desired outcomes; and to provide better support for basic needs: review the 2% funding increase policy to assess whether it is meeting First Nations Income Assistance costs. See response to Recommendation No. 1 (Income Assistance)

The 2 per cent funding cap was imposed on INAC by the Treasury Board in 1998. With the growth in First Nation demographics, the two per cent is a constraint in delivering the program. However, it is not within the control of the department to remove the funding cap. The Program is trying to reduce funding pressures through a renewed focus on both compliance and Active Measures in order to reduce income assistance dependency and encourage transition to employment.
31/03/2011 Status: In progress

Update/Rationale:
As of 31/03/2010:


A review of regional program manuals and associated compliance regimes has been initiated to inform revisions to the national program management framework, which INAC will undertake as part of the authority renewal process. It is expected to be completed by summer 2011, as authorities are renewed.

AES: Underway
3. In the near term, address INAC staffing shortages and training needs at the national and regional levels. Once the Performance Management Strategy has been developed, revisions to the National Manual, First Nations National Reporting Guide and training guides will be undertaken and subsequently provided to regional staff and First Nations. 31/12/2010 Status:  In Progress

Update/Rationale:
As of 31/03/2010:


INAC reviews its HR requirements annually, taking into account the government environment and constraints.

AES: Underway
4. In the near term, fund a representative sample of community needs assessments that will provide meaningful cost measures for items such as shelter, utilities and transportation. As opposed to funding a representative sample of community needs assessments, INAC will undertake research to identify characteristics and needs of income assistance recipients and service delivery models. This will support the development of policy options aimed at reducing dependency and supporting transition into the workforce. 31/03/2010 Status: In Progress

Update/Rationale:
As of 31/03/2010:


Research into the characteristics and needs of IA recipients continues to be a component of the program reform work plan. Regional assessment initiatives that have been undertaken in Saskatchewan and Manitoba may provide additional insight into client needs.

AES: Underway
5. In the longer term, create a working group of INAC, First Nations and Provincial representatives to develop a strategy for addressing IA jurisdictional and funding issues, including a discussion of the costs of needs in rural/remote communities. See response to Recommendation No. 1 (Income Assistance).

The approach of working with provinces on an incremental basis will help to ensure that the geographic and community-specific needs of First Nations are taken into account.
Ongoing Status:  In Progress

Update/Rationale:
As of 31/03/2010:


- INAC is engaging provincial partners in relation to active measures, particularly in Saskatchewan, where the provincial government has agreed to collaborate with the Department to help First Nation recipients transition from dependence to participation in education, training and regionally relevant employment initiatives.

- Saskatchewan Region has engaged First Nations leadership directly in regard to the expansion of Active Measures on reserve through the implementation of a Tribal Council champions forum, which represents a significant proportion of the on-reserve population in the province

- In British Columbia, INAC is working with provincial representatives as part of a multi-jurisdictional Active Measures Working Group aimed at enhancing employment opportunities and reducing dependence on Income Assistance by First Nation members.

- INAC and the Province of Alberta are working in partnership, whereby the Province provides access to its social development resources, including the provision of advice and allowing First Nation program administrators to participate in provincial training.

- In Ontario, INAC and the province are working collaboratively with First Nations to expand access to Ontario Works active measures programming to an additional 4 communities by April 1, 2010, for a total of 40 communities province-wide (1 as of November 1, 2009, the other 3 as of April 1, 2010). INAC and the province also jointly support the Ontario Native Welfare Administrators Association (ONWAA), which aims to increase the capacity of income assistance administrators in the province, including their ability to incorporate active measures programming on reserve.

AES: Underway
6. Take the lead in initiating an integrated education and training strategy with HRSDC, Aboriginal organizations, and relevant provincial ministries, to address the education needs of First Nation youth in particular, as a way of reducing the number of youths who choose welfare over further education and/or employment. See response to Recommendation No. 1 (Income Assistance)

INAC will undertake research to identify the characteristics and needs of income assistance recipients that will help identify the scope of the education and pre-employment needs of First Nation youth.
March 2010 Status:  In Progress

Update/Rationale:
As of 31/03/2010:


- Research into the characteristics and needs of IA recipients continues to be a component of the program reform work plan. Regional assessment initiatives that have been undertaken in Saskatchewan and Manitoba may provide additional insight into client needs.

- The Department is presently allocating internal resources to fund regional active measures projects that target First Nation youth, to prevent and reduce this group's reliance on income assistance.

- In Saskatchewan, the focus of INAC's work is on integrated services, both within the federal government and with the province, in the areas of education and pre-employment training services.

AES: Underway

INAC will work with HRSDC and provinces to develop approaches to encourage youth to pursue educational opportunities rather than applying for income assistance.

March 2011
7. Strengthen links with other relevant departments such as HRSDC to enhance information sharing so that long term employment outcomes can be measured, and develop more refined outcome indicators for future evaluation activities. INAC is developing a Performance Measurement Strategy with clear program outcomes and measurable indicators to improve capacity to monitor program effectiveness.

INAC will work with HRSDC, Health Canada, provinces and First Nations as it transforms its income assistance program so that it can measure employment outcomes from a "passive" to "active measures" approach.
31/03/2010 Status: In Progress

Update/Rationale:
As of 31/03/2010:


- Preliminary work has begun on a program logic model, which is to provide a basis for clearer program outcomes and more measurable indicators.

- INAC has established links and has regular ongoing discussions with Human Resources and Skills Development Canada, provinces and relevant First Nation organizations to leverage resources and develop a more coordinated new approach for delivery of the IA program to First Nation clients.

AES: Underway
National Child Benefit Reinvestment Recommendations
1. Initiate a formal discussion with First Nation organizations and INAC regional staff on the most effective way to address reporting issues so that meaningful outcomes can be measured. INAC will work with its regional offices and First Nations to identify performance outcomes and indicators as well as the development of appropriate data collection tools, to be pilot tested prior to full implementation. September 2010 Status: In Progress

Update/Rationale:
As of 31/03/2010:


- Program has developed new National Child Benefit Reinvestment (NCBR) Application and Annual Report forms, which include fields to forecast and collect data on outputs, outcomes, and indicators. The new forms are currently being pilot-tested by INAC Regional staff; the pilot-testing includes discussion with First Nation organizations.

- The INAC NCBR Working Group was reinstated in the 2008-09 fiscal year. Program holds regular INAC NCBR Working Group meetings (monthly teleconferences) to achieve the objectives as stated.

- INAC is looking at ways to improve reporting, communication of program expectations and complementarily of NCBR with other programs such as Income Assistance/Active Measures. For example, the Saskatchewan Region is putting more emphasis on the transition-to-work component of NCBR to support Active Measures, and its approach and best practices have been shared with other Regions.

AES: Underway
INAC's NCBR program will reinstate the HQ/Regional INAC NCBR Working Group, which will focus on evaluation of NCB/NCBR impacts, data, reporting, outcomes, strategic research, best practices, and improving collaborative working relationships with relevant partners. Fall 2009
2. Recommend to regions that they adopt a management regime similar to Saskatchewan region, which does the following:

- Outlines clear expectations;

- Sets targets in collaboration with First Nations;

- Communicates the intent of NCBR;

- Provide project proposal support.
Regions are expected to adopt a management regime similar to the Saskatchewan model. Management practices with respect to NCBR will be on the agenda of an INAC NCBR national meeting (late summer 2009). August 2009 Status: In Progress

Update/Rationale:
As of 31/03/2010:


- Program holds regular INAC NCBR Working Group meetings at which management regimes and supports are discussed; work is ongoing.

- Participants of the NCBR National Meeting held in early Fall 2009, discussed management regimes/supports; the meeting report includes a summary of discussions and recommended action items.

AES: Underway
As per the design of the National Child Benefit Initiative, of which NCBR is one component, NCBR management and programming must be in the context of P/T/regional regimes; HQ will work with/support each region to strengthen its management regime and supports within the reference P/T/regional social development context. Ongoing
3. Revise reporting mechanisms to avoid multiple counting of program participants. INAC will work with its regional offices, First Nations, HRSDC (NCB Initiative) to develop an improved project proposal template and reporting tool for collecting more accurate information regarding NCBR activities and beneficiaries and provide better information for evaluating outcomes, with a view to pilot testing and implementation of the new tool. September 2010 Status: On target

Update/Rationale:
As of 31/03/2010:


- Program has developed new Application and Annual Report forms, in collaboration with INAC Regions (in discussion with First Nations organizations), and HRSDC. The new forms are expected to yield higher quality data, reduce multiple counting of program participants, collect more accurate information, and provide better information for evaluating outcomes while simultaneously reducing the reporting burden. INAC Regional staff are pilot-testing the forms. Results of pilot-testing will inform any proposed revisions to the NCBR Data Collection Instrument.

- Pilot-testing of the NCBR Application and Annual Report tools is underway; review and discussion regarding the pilot testing are ongoing during monthly INAC NCBR Working Group teleconference meetings.

AES: Underway
A national meeting is tentatively scheduled for August 2009 to strategize and move forward with improvements to NCBR outcomes / reporting. Fall 2009
Assisted Living Recommendations
1. Continue the initiative to devolve the funding and authority for the in-home component to the FNIHCC program. Overall Approach: In its broadest context the Assisted Living program is working towards a more integrated and coordinated First Nations continuing care system on reserve that is more responsive to the needs of seniors, and adults and children with disabilities or chronic illness.

The Options Analysis Paper (2008) prepared for the Joint Working Group on Continuing Care, as well as the Assisted Living Program Review (2008), are key documents that will assist in determining future directions for the program. The analysis will take into consideration the recommendations, including service requirements, such as improving access to services for First Nation recipients, greater alignment with provincial/territorial practices, and improving program efficiency and effectiveness.

INAC will continue to work with Health Canada to improve the delivery of home care services and better meet the needs of First Nation individuals (and Inuit) by exploring and advising on the options for federal home care services. The Options Analysis Paper presented to the Joint Working Group on Continuing Care in July 2008 had included integration of home care services in two of the three proposed options and noted that integration would improve access to home care services for First Nation recipients, allow greater alignment with provincial home care practices, and improve program efficiency and effectiveness.
To be determined Status:  In Progress

Update/Rationale:
As of 31/03/2010:


To support INAC's work with Health Canada on exploring a proposed transfer of the in-home care component of Assisted Living to Health Canada's First Nations and Inuit Home and Community Care (FNIHCC) Program and developing a strategy, an Impact Analysis study is being undertaken. It began in March 2010 and is expected to be completed in late spring or early summer. The study will include a review of:

- departmental (INAC) impacts, including human and financial costs of the proposed transfer;

- program impacts (impact on remaining program components: adult foster care and institutional care);

- impact on First Nations (e.g. Band Support Funding; block funded agreements, etc.);

- impact on reporting efficiencies; and

- impact on departmental authorities for the Assisted Living and Income Assistance programs.

AES: Underway
2. Secure Treasury Board funding for children's AL services, to resource the program authority in place since 2003. See response to Recommendation No. 1 (Assisted Living)

INAC will undertake needs assessments in the areas of foster care, including supportive living, and institutional care to inform decisions on the further direction of the program.
September 2009 Status:  In Progress

Update/Rationale:
As of 31/03/2010:


- INAC will undertake a national assessment of the Program more broadly, including consideration of the social (non-medical) needs of children, before end of fiscal 2010-11.

- A review of institutional care practices in Yukon has been completed. Recommendations based on this review will be developed in the spring of 2010.

AES: Underway
INAC will undertake analysis regarding the social, non-medical needs of children with disabilities and related costs to inform proposed options for future direction of the program for this population. April 2009
INAC is currently reviewing provincial and territorial funding practices related to institutional care clients on reserve and, based on this review, will develop a position paper clarifying roles and responsibilities with respect to the provision of funding. March 2010
3. Coordinate discussions at the Federal / Provincial / Territorial and First Nations level to address other AL service gaps, resolve jurisdictional issues and develop an integrated approach to a full continuum of care model. See response to Recommendation No. 1 (Assisted Living)

INAC will continue to participate in multi-stakeholder committees and working groups (i.e. Joint Working Group on Continuing Care and Home and Community Care Working Group of the Federal Healthcare Partnership Committee) to explore possible mechanisms to address assisted living gaps on reserve.
March 2010 Status:  In Progress

Update/Rationale:
As of 31/03/2010:


- INAC participates on and provides input into the Interdepartmental Committee for Seniors, organized by HRSDC. INAC will update the AFN and explore potential areas of joint work.

AES: Underway
4. Fund community-based AL needs assessments and uses the information as a basis for reviewing current funding levels. See response to Recommendation No. 1 (Assisted Living)

INAC's current assisted living allocations are based on a historical funding formula that allows for a 2% increase per year. Any proposed revisions to the funding formula would be based on needs assessments conducted on foster care and institutional care.
31/03/2010 Status: In Progress

Update/Rationale:
As of 31/03/2010:


- Community-based needs assessments remain a priority for the Assisted Living Program. The completed review of institutional care practices in Yukon and a national assessment study, which is expected to commence in summer 2010, will both contribute to the analysis of the Program, from which recommendations for future directions of the Program may be made.

AES: Underway
 
 
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