ARCHIVED - Evaluation of the Enhanced Prevention Focused Approach in Alberta for the Child and Family Services - Follow-up Report Status Update as of September 30, 2011

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Action Plan Implementation Status Update Report to the Evaluation, Performance Measurement and Review Committee - As of September 30, 2011

Education and Social Development Programs and Partnerships

Evaluation of the Enhanced Prevention Focused Approach in Alberta for the Child and Family Services (1570-7/09059)
Approval Date: 24/09/10

Project
Recommendations
Action Plan Expected
Completion Date
Program
Response
1. Revisit the EPFA funding model within the next year to learn from the past two years of implementation and incorporate resources for things, such as a remoteness factor that may address some of the issues faced by rural and remote communities. As part of this review, INAC should also determine if the calculations that are based on an assumed population of children in care are relevant in achieving desired outcomes. Revisiting the EPFA funding model:

As the department transitions to the Enhanced Prevention Focused Approach province-by-province, costs such as remoteness are being incorporated into the funding formula (e.g. Saskatchewan, NS., PEI all have remoteness as a factor, as will all remaining provinces). In the case of Alberta, First Nations and the Province did not flag remoteness during the discussion to develop the formula; therefore, it was not included.

The introduction and implementation of an EPFA to child welfare on-reserve will not necessarily result in an overnight decrease of children in care. In fact, initially, the children in care rate will continue to grow until the full implementation of this model takes effect, which will probably be after a few years. Alberta found that, with implementation of the provincial response model, it was able to better contain costs over a number of years. It is therefore anticipated in FNCFS that there will be fewer children and youth requiring costly out of home placements in institutions and group homes, thereby reducing federal costs of maintaining children out of their parental home, while allowing for better outcomes from FN children, youth and families.

Based on this recommendation, INAC will determine if any modifications to the new model are required.
April 2012 Status: Underway

Update/Rationale:
As of 30/09/2011:

AANDC is exploring ways of addressing EPFA model concerns in Alberta, within the current environment of fiscal restraint. This work is underway and is expected to be completed by April 2012.

AANDC has repeatedly reviewed the relevancy of the assumed population of children in care and has determined that the only way to ensure the ongoing viability of FNCFS agencies; as well as eliminate the incentive to take more children into care for the purposes of obtaining more funding, is to base operational funding on a fixed rate.

AES: Agree

Discussions to resolve issues raised in Alberta continue to take place in light of the first 5-year cycle coming to an end in 2012. The program maintains that a fixed rate is most viable option for agencies, particularly for smaller agencies.
2. In partnership with the province and other federal agencies, if applicable, maximize the use of scarce capacity building funds to strategically invest in developing the capacity of FNCFS agencies, bearing in mind that some agencies have higher capacity needs than others. Assessing the use of scarce capacity resources:

INAC will review its distribution of capacity resources region-by-region within the FNCFS program.
March 2011 Status: Underway

Update/Rationale:
As of 30/09/2011

For those jurisdictions operating under the EPFA, capacity funding is made available and is administered by the regional offices to ensure the agencies' capacity development requirements are met.

AANDC has reviewed the distribution of capacity resources in Alberta. Capacity building funds for 2011/12 are being managed through the IT Service Improvement Initiative, a tripartite project with the Province, AANDC and the Technical Services Advisory Group (TSAG). TSAG will provide the required access and support including quality assurance and compliance monitoring. AANDC is seeking project proposals, until end of October 2011, from the FNCFS agencies to assist them with capacity building, (i.e. training, policy development, upgrading IT systems/connectivity, development work for opening of emergency placement homes and for group homes).

Moreover, an AANDC department wide capacity development initiative is currently being developed that will help identify ways in which the program can enhance capacity within First Nation communities.

AANDC will continue its review of the remaining EPFA regions with a planned completion date of December 2012.

AES: Need to understand review to be completed in December 2012. Progress will depend on both program and department wide factors.

Capacity development is a critical factor for success in FNCFS agencies. Successful implementation will depend on theresults of TSAG's work, project proposals for capacity building, and AANDC's departmental wide capacity development initiative. Further follow-up is required.
3. Ensure that First Nations agencies are sufficiently supported in the development of their business plans including establishing baseline data on common indicators for prevention in the start-up phase; that business plans are updated annually and adjusted based on the feasibility of indicators and targets; in collecting ongoing longitudinal research to report on effectiveness, and in reporting the results through one common format to the province and INAC. Indicator and Business Plan development:

Efforts are currently underway to further strengthen performance measures and collection of data through the development of a comprehensive Performance Measurement Strategy for the FNCFS Program. This Strategy will be informed by the National Child Welfare Outcomes Indicator Matrix (NOM), which is being adopted by provinces. As in the past, this work will continue to be undertaken in collaboration with key program stakeholders. This Strategy will ensure alignment with agency business plans, the policy on Evaluation and the Policy on Transfer Payments and is anticipated to be completed December 2010. INAC will support agencies in updating their business plans each year in collaboration with the province and will review progress in implementing their plans through meetings during the year.
December 2010 Status: Underway

Update/Rationale:
As of 30/09/2011

An umbrella Performance Measure Strategy with relevant indicators for the Social Policy & Programs Branch was approved on February 22, 2011 by the EPMRC.

Improvements to the collection and use of data will be made with the introduction of a CFS Information Management System (IMS) that is currently in the development stages with full implementation expected by fiscal year 2014/15.

Agencies have been updating business plans each year with the support of AANDC.

AES: Close.

Note: Development of the CFSIMS system is currently underway; it will be critical to assess whether the data collected is relevant, measurable and will assist in establishing baseline data.
4. Improve communication and awareness of the purpose, processes, procedures and inherent flexibility of the EPFA to FNCFS agencies to facilitate implementation and administration of the EPFA moving forward. Improved communication and awareness

INAC is aware that new program requirements need to be clearly articulated to all parties. INAC is currently updating existing material (program manual, reporting guides) and is expected to make these materials publically available by the end of fiscal year 2010-2011; it will be posted on the INAC website.
March 2011 Status: Underway

Update/Rationale:
As of 30/09/2011

AANDC has been developing and updating tools, manuals, guidelines and templates in order to enhance compliance and reduce reporting burden in the regions and agencies. These documents will also ensure that roles and responsibilities are clear and understood by all parties. These updates are expected to be completed and shared with regions and recipients on an as-built-basis starting in October 2011 with final implementation scheduled by March 31, 2012.

AES:

Tools, manuals, guidelines and templates are being developed and although delayed, appear to be on track for 2012.
5. INAC and the province discuss, clarify and formally agree (i.e. in the Tripartite Accountability Framework) to their respective roles and responsibilities with regard to training and technical support (particularly computer/IT training) for FNCFS agency staff, as well as data collection requirements. Roles and Responsibilities

INAC, as a funder, will continue to work with the provinces to establish roles and responsibilities with the remaining provinces that will transition to EPFA. INAC will continue to build relationships via tripartite tables and will assess the feasibility of entering into more formal arrangements with the provinces as well as identify other mechanisms to ensure that roles and responsibilities are clearly outlined including data collection requirements.

In all future development of Tripartite Frameworks, INAC will ensure that roles and responsibilities are included.
Alberta and other jurisdictions under EPFA: March 2011 Status: Underway

Update/Rationale:
As of 30/09/2011

In early 2010, the Assembly of Treaty Chiefs and the Province expressed an interest in pursuing a more formal arrangement in Alberta. Meetings have already been held between the First Nations and the Province in order to develop a draft acceptable to both parties, and AANDC has most recently been invited to participate in the process.

This formal arrangement is expected to identify roles and responsibilities particularly around training, supports and data collection. AANDC is currently reviewing the documentation generated by the First Nations and the Province and will begin discussions on the agreement in the fall of 2011. AANDC will be working toward concluding the agreement, with sign off by both Ministers, in early 2012.

AES:

Work was expected to be complete in March 2011 in Alberta. Need to provide dates for other EPFA jurisdictions for year end follow up report (March 31, 2012).
 
 
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