ARCHIVED - Evaluation of the Income Assistance, National Child Benefit Reinvestment and Assisted Living Programs - Follow-up Report Status Update as of September 30, 2010

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Action Plan Implementation Status Update Report to the Evaluation, Performance Measurement and Review Committee - As of September 30, 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 Update/Rationale:
As of 30/09/2010:


To be approved by EPMRC before March 2011.

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 Update/Rationale:
As of 30/09/2010:


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.

INAC is also exploring opportunities for collaboration with provinces in order to improve program management and performance reporting and reduce reporting burden.

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: Close

Update/Rationale:
As of 30/09/2010:


INAC complies with requirements for transparency and public access to internal data and information.

AES: Close - Fully Implemented
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 Update/Rationale:
As of 30/09/2010:


- 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 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.

INAC is working collaboratively with several provinces, including Saskatchewan, Alberta, Quebec and British Columbia and relevant parties. For instance, recently, a formal tripartite framework agreement was signed with the Government of Quebec and First Nations to identify and propose solutions to issues relating to the administration and delivery of income assistance benefits on reserve. In Saskatchewan, a draft Memorandum of Understanding has been developed with five Tribal Councils, the Province and HRSDC on how to increase labour market participation of Aboriginal people through active measures.

As it relates to youth specifically, the Department is presently allocating internal resources to fund more than several innovative active measures projects in each region that target First Nation youth.

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 Update/Rationale:
As of 30/09/2010:


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.

A broad reform strategy of the income assistance program has been developed by INAC Region in Saskatchewan. The reform includes: developing of broad-based partnerships; Initiating changes toward administrative reform to promote active measures that support transitions to the workforce, targeting youth; making strategic investments in pilot projects that demonstrate partnership opportunities with key stakeholders; and renewing the focus on compliance. Other regions will examine how elements of this reform strategy could be implemented in their regions.

AES: Underway
3. In the near term, address INAC staffing shortages and training needs at the national and regional levels. Once the Performance Measurement 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 Update/Rationale:
As of 30/09/2010:


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 Update/Rationale:
As of 30/09/2010:


Research into the characteristics and needs of 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.

Within the Performance Measurement Strategy work, we are also examining improvement to the type of information that should be collected. Expected to be completed 31/03/11.

AES: Underway
5. In the longer term, create a working group of INAC, First Nations and Provincial representatives to develop a strategy for addressing 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 Update/Rationale:
As of 30/09/2010:


In July 2010, a formal tripartite framework agreement was signed with the Government of Quebec to identify and propose solutions to issues relating to the administration and delivery of income assistance benefits on reserve. The Agreement creates working groups that will make concrete recommendations in six areas related to the management and delivery of the Income Assistance program: sharing of information on recipients' eligibility; relocation of recipients; data management system; inquiries; training to administrators; and actives measures.

Saskatchewan Region has engaged First Nations in the expansion of active measures and the provinces through the implementation of a Tribal Council Chiefs Forum. A result of this engagement, a draft Memorandum of Understanding has been developed involving five Tribal Councils, the Province and HRSDC.

In British Columbia, the Tripartite Active Measures Working Group was formed in 2006 as a response to the ongoing need to link resources and partners in the area of Active Measures. There is also the Tripartite Forum on Social Assistance Policy, which was created in 2005, to better coordinate social services so INAC's programs mirror provincial programs and standards.

In Ontario, the Province is a major partner since it delivers the program, in some cases, directly to First Nations. INAC also partakes in two Tripartite Tables on social assistance and employment with Ontario Works, Chiefs of Ontario Office, and social assistance coordinators from four provincial/territorial First Nation organizations; on child welfare with Min. of Children and Youth Services.

In Alberta, aside from the federal/provincial 1991 Arrangement for the Funding and Administration of Social Services, INAC is involved with the Province on a number of initiatives and working groups.

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 Update/Rationale:
As of 30/09/2010:


- Research into the characteristics and needs of 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.

INAC and HRSDC have agreed to carry out a mapping of programs gaps and overlaps.

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 Update/Rationale:
As of 30/09/2010:


- Preliminary work has begun on a program Performance Measurement Strategy, 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 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 Update/Rationale:
As of 30/09/2010:


- 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.

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 Update/Rationale:
As of 30/09/2010:


INAC is strengthening the NCBR guidelines to improve complementarity with other programs such as Income Assistance/Active Measures while respecting the community-driven nature of NCBR programming, and to provide sufficient guidance and support to communities to target key activities that help reduce poverty and attach people to the labour force. For example, the Saskatchewan Region is putting more emphasis on the transition to work component of NCBR where appropriate (e.g., where available employment opportunities exist); the Saskatchewan Region's approach has been shared with other regions.

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

As a component of the Branch-wide Management Control Framework project, the program has been participating and providing input into strengthening management tools such as the new project proposal and annual report tools, performance measurement tools, and progress toward revision of the NCBR National Manual.

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 Update/Rationale:
As of 30/09/2010:


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.

A national meeting took place in Halifax in October 2009.

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 Update/Rationale:
As of 30/09/2010:


An Impact Analysis study was undertaken in 2010 to assess the viability of the proposed transfer as well as investigate the potential impacts the proposed transfer may have on INAC, Health Canada, regional staff, First Nations, and on delivery of home care services on reserve.

Regional meetings were undertaken in Ontario (via teleconference), Quebec, Atlantic, Alberta and Manitoba to examine regional specific issues that could potentially impact on the proposed transfer. Visits in the remaining regions will be held before the end of the 2010-11 fiscal year.

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 Update/Rationale:
As of 30/09/2010:


A national assessment of the Program, which began in October 2010, will determine the types of supports and services, of a social (non-medical) nature, currently required for children with disabilities residing on reserve, including an estimate of the number of children who may benefit from these services and the funding requirements to enable First Nation communities to provide these services. This study will also focus on adults with chronic illness and/or disabilities who would benefit from supportive living arrangements.

Work is continuing to develop an approach to assess and to address institutional care costs for Status Indians resident in Yukon.

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 Update/Rationale:
As of 30/09/2010:


- 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 Update/Rationale:
As of 30/09/2010:


Community-based needs assessments remain a priority for the Assisted Living Program. The completed review of institutional care practices in Yukon and the results of the national assessment study 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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