Evaluation of the Enhanced Prevention Focused Approach in Saskatchewan and Nova Scotia for the First Nations Child and Family Services Program - Follow-up Report Status Update as of September 30, 2014

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Action Plan Implementation Status Update Report to the Evaluation, Performance Measurement and Review Committee - As of September 30, 2014

ESDPP

Evaluation of the Enhanced Prevention Focused Approach in Saskatchewan and Nova Scotia for the First Nations Child and Family Services Program
Approval Date: 04-25-2013
Project Recommendations Action Plan Expected
Completion Date
Program Response
1. Ensure that there are regular reviews of the costing models to ensure agencies are able to meet changing provincial standards and salary rates while maintaining a high level of prevention programming to meet community needs; AANDC will participate in tripartite meetings with provinces and agencies on EPFA implementation, which will include the review of costing associated with EPFA. AANDC HQ will also continue to liaise with Regions through monthly conference calls and regular meetings to review financial pressures that may arise during EPFA implementation. These meetings and discussions will allow HQ to determine whether pressures can be addressed and forecast future costing, while also allowing HQ and Regions to develop possible mitigation strategies for arising issues. Completion:

Ongoing

Status: Completed - Closed

Update/Rationale:
As of 30/09/2013

The Tripartite working group received the first draft report of the Organizational Review of the Mi'kmaw Family and Child Services Agency. Review of this report is underway. This Review will not only support operational effectiveness and enhance service delivery in the only FNCFS agency in Nova Scotia but also provide necessary data to support revision of the costing model to best meet the operational needs of the agency.

Monthly conference calls continue to be held between HQ FNCFS program staff and their regional counterparts and with the SPPB DG and ARDGs on all Branch issues. In addition, bilateral conference calls with regions occur on a regular basis to share information and discuss emerging issues in each region. At ground level, FNCFS Regional colleagues engage in regular meetings with Recipients to gain information needed to support regular review of the costing models. These are then shared with HQ.

AES: Sufficient progress made. Recommend to close. Closed.

2. Work collaboratively with MFCS and the Province of Nova Scotia to ensure that the agency is providing adequate services to all communities as per provincial legislation and standards;

AANDC will intensify its collaborative work with the Department of Community Services (DCS) and MFCS to achieve a thorough understanding of Agency resources and expenditures; to develop a sustainable plan for effective Agency Operations and service delivery; and to support a delivery mechanism that serves on reserve First Nation populations within provincial standards and within current allocations.

AANDC has provided funds to MFCS to address Maintenance and Operational shortfalls since fiscal year 2010-2011. Since the fall of 2011, the tripartite Working Group in Nova Scotia has met regularly to discuss the Agency's staffing structure and to develop draft Terms of Reference for a consultant to assist the Agency in developing an updated Business Plan/service delivery model.

AANDC has regular bilateral calls with the province, and the tripartite Executive Steering Committee held meetings in February, September, November of 2012 and January 2013, to discuss the Working Group results, and to develop an appropriate plan of action.
Completion:

Fall 2013

Status: Underway

Update/Rationale:
As of 30/09/2014:

In late August 2014, in collaboration with the Province of NS, AANDC undertook a compliance review of MFCS agency. At this time, the Province also took note of specific information found in the files.

The final report on findings from the joint compliance activities is being prepared for review of the tripartite Working Group scheduled for January 2015.

AES: Good progress to date. Report back in Q4.

3. Ensure AANDC regional offices have adequate capacity to effectively carry out their current job functions, including the successful and ongoing monitoring of the Information Management System (IMS); and

AANDC will update the National Social Programs Manual and will produce technical interpretation bulletins and information circulars, as required, in order to clarify program requirements, enhance compliance and reduce reporting burden in the regions. These documents will ensure that proper processes are followed which will eliminate unnecessary steps in reporting and program management, serving to alleviate the administrative burden on regional staff.

Through the implementation of the Social Policy and Programs Branch's Management Control Framework, the Branch will continue to streamline the reporting process, in particular Social Policy and Programs Branch's Data Collection Instruments, in support of creating efficiencies and effectiveness in the implementation of the IMS. AANDC Headquarters and Regions will continue to support one another through regular teleconferences and face-to-face meetings/ videoconferences to identify these efficiencies in order to help ease the workload burden that has been identified and to ensure that operation support tools and mechanisms are in place come time for the IMS implementation.

The FNCFS IMS Team is in the process of developing an Organizational Change Management Framework that will support on an ongoing basis the transition to the FNCFS IMS. This framework includes: an organizational readiness assessment; a transition plan that reflects all necessary activities to ensure that regional offices and HQ staff are ready for the implementation and use of the system; HQ to regions communications plan (for both pre and post-production of the system), and; a training strategy which includes the different training methods to address the needs of all the users, and actual delivery of training. Once implemented, there will be post-implementation on-going support from both HQ FNCFS program staff and the Information Management Branch.

Training for regions on the first phase of the IMS began January 28, 2013 and will continue during the week of March 11-14, 2013.

In early 2013, additional on-site regional training sessions are planned to help ensure that regional staff clearly understand how to utilize the new system.
Completion:

Fall 2013

Status: Completed – Closed

Update/Rationale:
As of 31/12/2013

Work on the National Social Program Manual is ongoing; the FNCFS section has been revised to better clarify program management requirements and will be available and effective April 1, 2014.

Information Circulars are being finalized and will be available at the same time as the manual.

FNCFS data collection instruments (DCI) have been reduced to one national DCI and one national business plan. Six outcome-based indicators have been developed for FNCFS that are measurable and reportable. Following release 2 of the First Nations Child and Family Services Information Management System scheduled for April 1, 2014, AANDC will report on the Social Development Performance Measurement Strategy on an annual basis. The review of the Agencies' business plans involve ensuring that the measures are incorporated.

The system will further enhance the program's data quality and contribute to evidence-based decision making. In an effort to streamline and reduce the reporting burden, SPPB is working to enter into data sharing agreements with willing provinces and territories.

On December 6, 2013 SPPB communicated to AANDC Regions an overview of changes to 2014-15 Data Collection Instruments (DCI), Proposals and Application Work Plans (PAW). Minor amendments have been made with reporting requirements in order to further facilitate improvements in program management, reduce duplication, streamline and improve clarity of the Annual Business Plan. Updates of the Business Plans will be required on a yearly basis. This work is linked to the FNCFS IMS which is actively being used by AANDC Regions.

Bi-lateral conference calls with regions continue to take place on a regular basis. Monthly conference calls continue to be held between HQ FNCFS program staff and their regional counterparts, and the SPPBs DG and ARDGs on all Branch issues.

Extensive work has taken place to develop some of the key components of the Organizational Change Management Framework, including a transition plan for the 'Maintenance Phase' of the FNCFS IMS which will see the overall management of the IMS shift from the Social Branch to the Information Management Branch. These pieces are expected to be completed by March 31, 2014.

The FNCFS Program now has the ability to transfer data from the respective regional systems directly into the FNCFS IMS. With this feature now in place, two more regions are scheduled to receive IMS training in January 2014: BC and Quebec. In Manitoba, the province developed a common billing form for Manitoba First Nation agencies that allows for data to be imported into the IMS directly from the form. With the possibility of other data sharing agreements between the department and provinces there may be further opportunities to explore data importing into the IMS that will further reduce the reporting process for agencies.

Additional training on the IMS's reporting capability is planned for January - March 2014 for HQ and regional program staff.

Work is underway to improve the look and feel of the IMS application and is scheduled to be completed by April 1, 2014.

AES: Sufficient progress made. Recommend to close. Closed.

4. Work with the provinces, agencies and appropriate First Nation organizations to come up with and implement a coordinated approach to information management, so as to improve efficiency, reduce the reporting burden for agencies and allow AANDC to fully report on outcomes.

Implementing the recommendation is a multi-year process that involves rationalizing the reporting data that AANDC seeks from First Nations and other sources for program management and performance measurement purposes.

AANDC is currently involved in many collaborative initiatives to streamline processes pursuant to the Modernizing Grants and Contributions Initiative. Social Policy and Programs Branch (SPPB) remains engaged with AANDC regions to support regional innovation. For example, many regions are working with First Nations to support performance measurement that is meaningful at the community level. SPPB will access this data and ensure that information is collected only once. SPPB also remains engaged with provincial and territorial innovation, with the intent to share knowledge (like reciprocal indicators and data source sharing), streamline and access performance information where possible.

AANDC has an evergreen multi-step plan that includes:

  • Alignment of the FNCFS performance indicators with the indicators collected by the provinces (completed);
  • IMS development - AANDC has conducted a National Engagement Strategy and has met with federal, provincial and agency representatives to identify opportunities for information sharing as well as to explore the potential for future opportunities. These meetings will be ongoing in fiscal year 2013/2014;
  • AANDC is exploring the feasibility of entering into data sharing agreements with provinces and territories where possible. Early discussions regarding data sharing agreements are underway in Alberta and Manitoba; and,
  • Data Collection Instrument (DCI) management (ongoing):
    • AANDC collects data in accordance with the Performance Measurement Strategy and related Key Performance Indicators;
    • Frequency - AANDC has updated and aligned the timing of the First Nations Child and Family Services Consolidated Annual Report for the EPFA and Directive 20-1 Recipients to one consolidated annual report consistent with normal recipient business planning cycles;
    • Consistency – through the use of a single national DCI and data set;
    • Duplication –where possible, the program will collect all relevant data from the Provinces and Territories in order to satisfy program requirements. However, as a last resort, AANDC requires funding recipients to complete data collection instruments to meet reporting requirements.
Completion:

March 2013

Status: Completed – Closed

Update/Rationale:
As of 30/06/2013:

AANDC recently collaborated with the Province of Manitoba to ensure that the provincial billing form which the Province provides to First Nation agencies to complete also reflects all of the reporting requirements of AANDC's First Nation Child and Family Services Program DCI. The result is a Common Billing Form that First Nation agencies will only need to complete once which will serve both the provincial and federal government's data collection requirements. With the finalization of the Common Billing Form, the FNCFS IMS team is implementing an extract process to retrieve the AANDC data from this form. AANDC has also begun discussions with the Province on developing a formal information sharing agreement pursuant to a commitment made in the 2011 Memorandum of Understanding between the Province of Manitoba and Canada, 'Integration of Funding for First Nations Child and Family Services Agencies in Manitoba'.

AANDC has also initiated discussions with all of the remaining relevant provinces to explore similar solutions to any possible reporting duplication on the part of the First Nation agencies.

AANDC regional offices who already have their own IT systems (British Columbia, Ontario, and Quebec) which are used by regional staff to capture FNCFS Program data or which First Nation agencies input their FNCFS data into directly, have funding to develop an extract tool which will be used to retrieve necessary FNCFS data for input into the national FNCFS IMS. The extract tool streamlines the region-to-HQ and/or the First Nation agency-to-AANDC reporting process for the FNCFS Program. Work will also be done to provide individual Agencies with extract tools that can be used to transfer reporting data directly and automatically from their systems to FNCFS IMS.

AES: Close. The program has undertaken a significant amount of work to address the areas of reporting burden and efficiency. It is important for the program to work with all regions on how these tools can help them fully report on outcomes. Closed.

5. Work with other AANDC programming and federal partners, as appropriate, to facilitate the coordination of services affecting children and parents requiring child and family services. AANDC will continue to work collaboratively with relevant internal and other federal partners, as well as provincial ministries through existing tripartite tables, bi-lateral forums and other communication opportunities. As an example, AANDC will continue to participate in discussions with Health Canada in order to further align programming available to First Nations children and families. AANDC will continue to collaborate with its internal partners on related programs such as Family Violence Prevention Program and Education. AANDC has participated in two meetings of the FPT Working Group of the Directors of Child Welfare, with the most recent being in October 2012, in order to identify ways in which AANDC can work collaboratively with other partners moving forward, and will continue to engage this group on FNCFS matters.

Completion:

Fall 2013

Status: Completed - Closed

Update/Rationale: 
As of 31/12/2013

As an ongoing activity to manage the FNCFS program, HQ and regional colleagues continue to participate at tripartite tables to compile information and issues as they arise and work to address them in a timely manner. In most cases, the issues have a policy and monetary impact that require more detailed analysis, approvals and source of funds. Policy work currently being undertaken in FNCFS is also being done collaboratively with Education and other Social programs for consistency, and to manage potential gaps in service.

For example, as part of the FNCFS National face-to-face meeting held in October 2013, the program invited key speakers/participants from various areas in the department such as Education, ATIP and LMRB. Also, speakers from other federal departments (DOJ & HC) made presentations. HC presented best practices on the BC Tripartite Agreement on First Nations Health Governance from which we can draw lessons for the implementation of EPFA. And, Education officials participated in all of the program policy development workshops that were held.

Consolidated Terms and Conditions for the FNCFS and the FVP Programs were developed and approved in September 2012. These are now the benchmark for further efforts to build linkages between these two programs.

Further to the National FNCFS face-to-face meeting, the program plans to work more closely with FVPP to ensure that the prevention component of our programs is better aligned.

Work is ongoing in collaboration with the First Nations and Inuit Health Branch (FNIHB) on the First Nations Mental Wellness Continuum (FNMWC). SPPB's DG sits on the FNMWC Advisory Committee, which guides this process. The FNMWC sets out to map existing mental health and addictions programs and arrive at a common understanding of program strengths, gaps and emerging priorities. Given strong linkages between mental wellness and social determinants of health, AANDC's social programs' role is to determine how they can better support the FNMWC and to increase collaboration with partners in order to improve the wellbeing of First Nation communities.

On June 3, 2013, AANDC participated at the FPT Working Group of the Directors of Child Welfare with PHAC and HC. Additionally, meetings between the FNCFS Program and the PHAC continue to take place to ensure services are coordinated.

AES: Sufficient progress made. Recommend to close. Closed.

 
 
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