Monday 7 February 1994

Annual report, Provincial Auditor, 1993: Ministry of Community and Social Services


*Chair / Président: Cordiano, Joseph (Lawrence L)

*Acting Chair / Président suppléant: Callahan, Robert V. (Brampton South/-Sud L)

*Vice-Chair / Vice-Présidente: Poole, Dianne (Eglinton L)

Bisson, Gilles (Cochrane South/-Sud ND)

*Duignan, Noel (Halton North/-Nord ND)

Frankford, Robert (Scarborough East/-Est ND)

Marland, Margaret (Mississauga South/-Sud PC)

*Murphy, Tim (St George-St David L)

O'Connor, Larry (Durham-York ND)

Owens, Stephen (Scarborough Centre ND)

*Perruzza, Anthony (Downsview ND)

Tilson, David (Dufferin-Peel PC)

*In attendance / présents

Substitutions present/ Membres remplaçants présents:

Haeck, Christel (St Catharines-Brock ND) for Mr Bisson

Hayes, Pat (Essex-Kent ND) for Mr Frankford

Hope, Randy R. (Chatham-Kent ND) for Mr O'Connor

Jackson, Cameron (Burlington South/-Sud PC) for Mrs Marland

Johnson, Paul R. (Prince Edward-Lennox-South Hastings/Prince Edward-Lennox-Hastings-Sud ND)

for Mr Owens

Villeneuve, Noble (S-D-G & East Grenville/S-D-G & Grenville-Est PC) for Mr Tilson

Also taking part / Autres participants et participantes:

Ministry of Community and Social Services:

Rosemary Proctor, deputy minister

Dale Elliott, program analyst, young offenders program

Peter Gooch, project manager, children's policy framework, children's policy branch

Sue Herbert, assistant deputy minister, program management

Heather Martin, coordinator, children's services, program management division

Peters, Erik, Provincial Auditor

Clerk / Greffier: Decker, Todd

Staff / Personnel: Anderson, Anne, research officer, Legislative Research Service

The committee met at 1506 in the St Clair/Thames/Erie Rooms, Macdonald Block, Toronto.


The Chair (Mr Joseph Cordiano): Today, as scheduled, we have the Ministry of Community and Social Services before us. Welcome. Perhaps the deputy minister could introduce the staff or have them introduce themselves. I'll leave that in your capable hands.

Ms Rosemary Proctor: I would be very happy to introduce the staff who are with me: Dale Elliott is a program analyst with responsibility for young offenders programs; Peter Gooch is the project manager for the children's policy framework in our children's policy branch; Sue Herbert is our assistant deputy minister responsible for the program management division; and Heather Martin is the coordinator of children's services in the program management division.

The Chair: I suppose you have an opening statement you would like to deliver to members of the committee. Then normally we have questions by members of the committee following that statement and that's how we're going to proceed for the number of days we have with you. Once again, welcome to the committee. We're here to hear what you have to say.

Ms Proctor: Thank you very much. I appreciate the opportunity to be here. In order to provide a context for the discussion over the next few days, I'd like to set the stage very briefly with a short overview of the children's services area in general and then focus on the two specific children's programs that are under discussion. These are the child and family intervention program, which we sometimes, for the sake of brevity, refer to as CFI, and the young offenders program. These were the two programs reviewed by the Office of the Provincial Auditor in its audit of the ministry.

At the outset, I would like to thank the auditor for his thorough and thoughtful advice. His recommendations have been carefully studied by staff and will help the ministry to ensure that the programs it funds under the child and family intervention program and the young offenders program are provided as economically and efficiently as possible.

Our constant goal is to provide, and improve, appropriate services for children and their families in the province. Many of the findings and recommendations of the auditor's report reinforce action that is already under way in the ministry, action that is designed to refine ministry policies and to make sure that children's services provide the greatest benefit for children and families across the province.

The ministry's direction for children's services today is guided by the Policy Framework for Services Funded Under the Child and Family Services Act. This is more commonly referred to as the children's policy framework. We have brought copies along for members of the committee.

This framework, which was released by the ministry last summer, sets out six major directions to guide changes in services funded under the act. Some of these services include protection of children in need, young offenders, children requiring mental health services, children with disabilities, and children who have other special needs requiring child and family intervention services. The document also provides specific strategies and objectives that will address many of the auditor's comments, findings and recommendations to the ministry.

This framework as well builds on the work of Children First, the 1990 Report of the Advisory Committee on Children's Services, and on the ongoing work of the Premier's Council on Health, Wellbeing and Social Justice. It is also supported by other ministries in the government that share our concern for children.

The reason I'm mentioning the children's policy framework at this juncture in my remarks is because I will be making reference to it quite frequently as we discuss the two programs under discussion.

The child and family intervention program is one of five service categories contained in the Child and Family Services Act, which is commonly referred to as the CFSA. This is a provincial act designed to promote the best interests, protection and wellbeing of children and their families. It incorporates all the services to special-needs children within one piece of legislation.

The young offenders program, on the other hand, responds to the federal government's legislation, the Young Offenders Act, and it governs the custody and rehabilitation of children who have come into contact with the law and the justice system.

It's important to note that Ontario administers services to young offenders through the Child and Family Services Act. Consequently, all the principles, regulations and intents of the CFSA also apply to young offenders. That is what we mean by the fact that the ministry's reference to young offenders is part of the broader children's network.

I would like to start by briefly describing the child and family intervention program. This program accounted for $189 million in expenditure, or 14% of the $1.3-billion children's budget in 1992-93. It is important to note that the $1.3 billion identified in the estimates also incorporates child care and developmental services for children. If you factor out these services, the ministry's budget for children's services is $850 million and the CFI portion of this amount is about 22%.

Under the CFI program, the ministry funds about 200 agencies that provide a combination of residential and non-residential services. These agencies use multidisciplinary professional approaches to help alleviate a range of social, emotional and/or behavioural difficulties in the context of the family and in the community.

The ministry's role in relation to the transfer payment agencies that provide these programs and services is to establish provincial policies and guidelines, as well as to provide the funding so that they can carry out their work effectively.

The children served by the CFI agencies range in age from preschool to adolescence. Many of the children have multiple problems and needs that cannot be met by any single service category. The services provided as CFI programs are generally provided by children's mental health centres and/or children's and youth institutions.

The problems addressed by these agencies include family breakdown, physical and sexual abuse, alcohol abuse and addiction, teenage pregnancy, conflict with the law, depression and attempted suicide. In order for the committee to have a fuller appreciation of the range of programs, I'd like to take a moment and list some of them for you.

Day treatment programs allow children to attend an agency for a full day program of treatment that may also have a special school program attached to it or affiliated with it. Examples of this are a children's mental health centre program or a day treatment program for youth who are addicted to alcohol.

Counselling with children and families: Examples include peer counselling or peer group services for victims of child sexual abuse and pre-natal counselling for teenage mothers.

Prevention programs are also funded under this category, programs that are aimed at preventing or reducing emotional, social and behavioural problems in children. Some examples of this would include street outreach programs, parenting skills for teen mothers and drug prevention programs.

Maternity homes offer both residential and non-residential pre-natal and post-natal support services such as pre-natal and parenting classes, life skills training and referral services. Although maternity homes often offer services to young people who are over the age of 18, the intent of these programs is preventive. For example, single teen parents are considered vulnerable because of their age. Maternity homes provide a support service geared to the healthy development and care of their infant. The infants served by these agencies are considered especially vulnerable and at risk.

Finally, residential services are provided to children who need more intensive help than can be offered through day programs and/or counselling services.

The auditor noted in the report several areas where improvements are needed, and we agree. He also noted several strengths, and I would like to just mention those. The strengths the audit report highlighted included compliance with licensing procedures; compliance with the staffing requirements of the Child and Family Services Act, particularly with the ratios and qualifications of staff; the policy framework directions, to which I alluded; the number of program reviews completed; the accountability process was regarded as generally satisfactory; and procedures to ensure that agencies are funded according to approved budgets.

However, the auditor also drew attention to some areas of the CFI program where improvement was felt to be needed. The ministry agrees with these findings and is already working to address these. It would be appropriate, therefore, for me to go through some of the auditor's specific concerns to update the committee on the work that we've already begun to improve the CFI program.

The auditor noted that the CFI funding was used to serve children who are the responsibility of the children's aid societies. However, it was always the intent of the CFI program to be able to provide a range of services as effectively as possible which the specific children's aid society may not in fact provide. The ministry agrees with the auditor's concern and will provide greater clarity in defining the CFI program to ensure proper accounting of program costs.

The auditor expressed concerns about consistency in the reporting of serious occurrences. The ministry has strengthened its policy and has issued a communiqué to all our area offices and service providers in the transfer payment system. The communiqué clarifies the definition of "serious occurrences" and provides further direction to area offices and to service providers about their roles and responsibilities in the submission of serious occurrence reports.

Although the auditor was pleased with the ministry's approach to service planning, he expressed concerns about the timeliness of service plan submissions and approvals, noting that service plans were not approved until well into the fiscal year.

The ministry will respond to the auditor's concerns by issuing a directive to the area offices that requires them to ensure that all service plan documentation for the period of time reviewed by the auditor is up to date by the end of this fiscal year.

However, it should be noted that service plan approvals will be further complicated in 1993 by the application of the expenditure control plan, the constraint in children's services, and the impact of the social contract and global budgeting. All of these will help to delay the service plan approvals again this year.

The revisions for the 1994-95 service plan, for the year we're getting ready for, are virtually completed, and that document will be distributed on time for the coming fiscal year. Just the same, we will continue to investigate other ways of addressing the timeliness issue in the longer term.

The auditor noted that although the ministry has standardized expectations for reviews of residential programs, it does not have the same requirement for non-residential programs. However, the ministry will develop standard expectations for program reviews of non-residential programs that mirror our expectations for residential program reviews.

I think it's also relevant to note that the auditor discovered that there were waiting lists for services in the 20 agencies that the staff reviewed. Although the ministry recognizes that the demand for services exceeds supply, there are two main reasons why we don't know exactly how many children are awaiting CFI services. First, the agencies keep their own lists independently from one another, and many parents may place their child's name on more than one agency list and then not remove that name after a crisis has passed.


The ministry wants to minimize the extent to which people must wait for service. To this end, we have been working with our service providers to identify alternative methods of providing services that are designed to reduce waiting lists. For example, brief, focused therapies are being investigated, along with intensive in-home supports for families. Both are designed to keep the family unit intact.

Through CFI agencies, parents are also being encouraged to develop new strategies to cope with and respond to their children's behavioural problems. There's examination of other short-term interventions that respond to immediate child and family crisis situations.

A number of agencies have successfully implemented these approaches by matching services to children and family needs more appropriately, which is having a positive impact on waiting lists. Consequently, we are encouraging better collaboration among agencies and better integration of services to make sure children and families get the right service at the right time.

I would like to move now to addressing the auditor's remarks around the young offender program. This program consists of a range of community and custodial services for youth who have been charged or who have been found guilty of an offence under the Young Offenders Act or the Provincial Offences Act. As mentioned earlier, the Young Offenders Act is federal legislation that is administered by the provinces.

The Ministry of Community and Social Services is responsible for young offender services for youth aged 12 to 15 at the time of the offence. The Ministry of the Solicitor General and Correctional Services provides young offender services for youth aged 16 to 17 at the time of their offence. The two ministries work collaboratively with the Ministry of the Attorney General, which is responsible for the administration of justice.

One of the best concrete examples of this interministerial cooperation is our work together with the justice review project. This project has the mandate to develop an implementation plan to integrate services among the ministries for young offenders in Ontario. Young offenders have been designated as a priority group by this ministry under the children's policy framework and, as such, their needs must be addressed in any given community in Ontario.

In planning and delivering young offender services, the Ministry of Community and Social Services is challenged by dual mandates of meeting the needs of young offenders and the protection of society. These mandates are given through the principles and provisions of the Young Offenders Act and the CFSA. Our service philosophy for young offenders provides the foundation for meeting both mandates.

The key to this philosophy is the balance between short-term and long-term protection of society. Short-term protection means providing the proper security and safety to the public, staff and youth. Long-term protection means changing the behaviour of young offenders for the better so that they are less likely to reoffend.

Young offender services are provided either through direct delivery by the ministry or through a contractual agreement with a community transfer payment agency. This delivery model is different from that identified for the CFI programs, where all the services are provided by transfer payment agencies. The ministry is therefore setting the direction and priorities for young offender services, but actual delivery of services involves partnership with agencies and boards of directors.

The ministry currently provides the following programs and services under the Young Offenders Act:

-- Reports for the court, where the ministry probation staff prepare all predisposition and pre-sentence reports. In addition, probation and/or facility staff provide progress reports for court reviews.

-- Detention, in open and secure residential settings for youth waiting for a court appearance.

-- Alternative measures, which provide an alternative to formal court proceedings for less serious and/or first-time offences.

-- Probation services, in which the ministry's probation officers provide case management to all young persons receiving a probation or custody disposition. Case management is the responsibility for coordinating and/or providing the relevant services to a young offender to ensure compliance with court orders, to maximize opportunities for rehabilitation and to contribute to the protection of society.

-- Community and personal service programs are designed to supervise young offenders to complete a community service or personal service to a victim.

-- Open custody provides community-based residential care for young offenders in different kinds of facilities, such as foster homes, group homes, children's residential centres, children's mental health centres and wilderness programs.

-- Finally, secure custody, which is residential care with the ability for secure containment of young people according to the definition in the YOA.

I'd like to give you an indication of the increased service needs from 1990-91 to the present. The total numbers of days per year for open custody and detention has risen from 177,142 to a projection of 208,376 for 1993-94; secure custody and detention days for the same period of time have gone from 107,000 to 129,758; total admissions for open and secure custody have risen by approximately 2,000; probation admissions went from 7,056 to a projected 9,448 in 1993-94; and those taking part in the alternative measures admissions have risen from 4,456 to a projected 5,000 in 1993-94.

Mr Cameron Jackson (Burlington South): I'm sorry, what was that last figure again?

Ms Procter: About 5,000 projected in 1993-94?

Mr Jackson: Before that?

Ms Procter: Last year, about 4,456; that's just a one-year number.

In 1992-93, young offender expenditures totalled $118 million, or 9% of the $1.3-billion budget in children's services. Again, if you factor out child care and developmental services for children, that figure changes to 13.8% of the children's services budget.

There are four particular points the auditor raised in his report on young offender services, and I'd like to take just a couple of minute to review each of these.

In response to the finding that there appears to be a lack of documentation on file to support compliance with all terms of court orders, the ministry will clarify accountability expectations through the standards and guidelines in the Young Offender Services Manual.

Introduction of a common risk-need assessment instrument will standardize the basis for case management decisions, and this will help staff is accounting for use and discretion. It will also assist staff in determining the type and level of service required and will help improve the ability of the sector to target available resources to clients based on individual needs.

In response to the auditor's recommendation for a formal review process to ensure that service providers comply with the Young Offender Services Manual, the ministry has taken several steps. First, we've identified the standards in the Young Offender Services Manual that can be integrated into the children's residential licensing process as a means of structuring regular compliance reviews. The ministry's also working to position standards compliance in the broader context of the children's policy framework and agency accountability.

The auditor recommended an improved process for equitable allocation of funds based on priority of needs. We recognize the need to address this, but also note the challenge when the ministry does not control intake into the system. Resource requirements can fluctuate geographically and over time. The ministry's working on a plan for young offender services that will provide direction for the services in the short and long term in the context of the children's policy framework.

In addition, the strengths and enhancements noted in my previous remarks on CFI -- for example, licensing, policy directions of the framework, serious occurrence reporting and timely service planning -- are all applicable to young offender services as well.

Finally, I would like again to express the ministry's appreciation of the work done by the Provincial Auditor in relation to both the CFI program and the young offenders' program. We believe the services we try to provide to people in these programs are of a high standard, but we recognize as well the need for continued improvement.

To this end, we will continue to work closely with our agency partners in the community and with our colleagues in other ministries to provide the best support we can to children in need throughout the province, as well as supports to their families.


The Vice-Chair (Ms Dianne Poole): Thank you, Ms Procter. We'll begin with questions from the official opposition.

Mr Robert V. Callahan (Brampton South): I'm not sure if you addressed the documentation the auditor was unable to find in regard to how and where young offenders who were placed in secure or open custody were placed. What are the criteria? Is one of them being as close to their parents as possible? If that's the case, assuming the auditor's comments are correct, how can you possibly determine how effectively you've met that criterion?

Ms Proctor: I'll respond briefly to that and then ask Dale to add anything, if that's appropriate. The kinds of criteria we try to take into account include the closeness, the proximity to the young offender's home and community, the availability of an appropriate service for that individual in that community and other factors. I'd like to ask Dale if you could continue to respond to the factors we could consider there and our success.

Ms Dale Elliott: The first factor we take into account is the court disposition, whether it's open or secure custody, and we've tried to develop a range of programs geographically that, as an initial step, a youth who receives custody or detention in a geographic area can go to a facility as close to home as possible. The kinds of criteria from there then go to the ability to keep youth close to home, to parents, to other services that are being provided in the community, to a lawyer, to closeness to court for return dates.

On intake, young offenders go through a classification process that begins to identify the main needs and set goals. Basically, through case management is the method to set the goals and the methods to achieve them during the length of time and the type of disposition we've got. If a youth has needs that are clearly beyond a particular facility in a geographic area, then it may well go to searching for a facility farther from home, and again, a case management decision on which weighs more, the ability to go into some specialized programming or keep a youth closer to home.

Mr Callahan: For your probation officers who prepare the predisposition reports, are there criteria or is there a policy that's laid down in terms of -- I'm looking basically at the alternative measures program. I've seen instances where the crowns who assess these things simply have a fixed position that a person might be a first offender, yet the crime is one that's alleged on the facts to be not acceptable to them.

Is there a policy set out for the people who prepare the predisposition reports in terms of what they think the situation should be, because of course they're recommending to the judge in their predisposition report what ultimate step should be taken. Can you tell us what those policies are, if there are any?

Ms Proctor: I would like to ask Dale again to respond to the question of the policies with respect to predisposition reports.

Ms Elliott: Predisposition reports start with categories and content set within the legislation. Every probation officer must answer the questions or the categories in the legislation, and that includes family background, employment history, school history, history of previous offence. There are a number of categories set out in the legislation that we must respond to in every predisposition report.

Since 1989, in an attempt to bring more standardization to the kinds of factors that are considered in making recommendations, the field has been working with a number of interim risk indicators which were developed in 1989 following a review in the residential system.

Nine common indicators of risk or need were basically agreed upon by the field as an interim way to be sure to ask all the right questions in an inexact field. All probation officers have been screening young offenders according to those nine risk indicators, and based on the presence or absence of those indicators have come up with a judgement, an assessment of the level of risk or the needs of young offenders and have used them to guide recommendations.

Where we're at now when we introduced those indicators, it was recognized that we would want some further validation if they were the right indicators or the best indicators. We've completed the validation and have now developed and are in the process of being prepared to implement a common risk-need assessment tool for the field that will assess, based on indicators that have been validated by literature review and research, to be a good and reasonable basis on which to make recommendations. So we're in transition.

Mr Callahan: It's not part of the auditor's report, but I'm curious: Is there any monitoring of where youths who are arrested for an offence, let's say in the younger level of young offenders, are held between the time of arrest and the time of their first court appearance. I've heard of instances where they've been kept in police lockups. Is that confirmed by your own review, and if it is, why has something not been done about it to ensure they're detained in some other facility than a police lockup?

Ms Proctor: I would like to ask Sue Herbert to speak to that issue, please.

Ms Sue Herbert: There are requirements around where youth are held, particularly in terms of the nature of the facility they're held in. I think it would be fair to tell you that we have had differential practice across the province, depending on local facilities. It's an issue for us that we're working on with our colleagues in the SG. If you have particular incidents or locations, we might be able to speak to some of them.

Ms Elliott: I think there's a further distinction for us in what we monitor, in that the Young Offenders Act provides for two types of what you would call detention. One is in the custody of a police officer. It may be that they've been apprehended and taken to the police station for processing, for questioning, for calling of parents, for calling of a lawyer. That period of detention is monitored by police stations and by police services. Once the police bring that youth to a detention facility, it becomes this ministry's responsibility of which facility that youth will be in.

Certainly, in those, again as Sue said, we have an intake facility geographically, and for the most part, except for anyone age 12 to 15 at time of the offence, if a particularly young and vulnerable youth was admitted to a facility from a case management perspective, one of the things -- say you had a very sophisticated population there at the time. In a case management evaluation, we would look to analyse if that was the best place for that particular very young offender.

If we became aware of any instance of a youth being admitted to detention, if they made comments about, "I've been sitting in a police cell for two days," or any other such comment -- I'm not aware of any such -- certainly at that point part of our role would be to find out about that, to speak to the parents, to speak to the youth's lawyer, to speak to the police. I'm not aware of any specific situations of that.

Mr Callahan: What I'm getting at, is there any follow-up by the Solicitor General or the Attorney General in terms of determining whether they're -- I'm not as terribly concerned about the youths 16 and on; they can probably handle it. But a kid 12 to 15 being held in a police lockup overnight is not, to me, either within the spirit or the letter of the Young Offenders Act.

The second thing I would ask is, how many, if any, inquiries have you, the Solicitor General's office or the Attorney General's office, made in terms of how many youth, when asked, don't have either a parent or a lawyer in attendance when they're being questioned?

Mr Anthony Perruzza (Downsview): What's the point?

Mr Callahan: If you listen, you'll find out, okay?

Ms Elliott: I'm sorry, I'm just not aware or able to speak for the Solicitor General. I don't know of any cases where a youth would be detained in a police lockup overnight. There may be cases which, if there were, most of the time --

Mr Callahan: Quite frequently.

Ms Elliott: Then maybe, as Sue suggested, those could come to the attention -- often youth are held in an office with an officer or at the sergeant's desk or in some other facility where supervision is provided by police officers, rather than being placed in a police cell.


Mr Callahan: I think you had better develop a policy for determining that, because I would think you'd find that there are a lot of instances where they are in fact kept in a police lockup overnight and produced the next day in court. You should have a policy in terms of determining that. You should also have a policy in terms of determining a trend of how many times a youth turns down the assistance of either a parent or a lawyer before they're questioned. I don't have any further questions.

Ms Proctor: I'd be happy to follow up on that particular issue. We'll need to consult.

Mr Callahan: Yes, I'd like to get some stats on it, or what policy is out there to monitor that.

The Vice-Chair: There is an additional five minutes of your time. I had hoped to be back in that seat by now, that the Chair would be back.

Mr Callahan: I'll sit there.

The Vice-Chair: If you wouldn't mind.

The Acting Chair (Mr Robert V. Callahan): We'll now move on.

Ms Dianne Poole (Eglinton): Thank you, Mr Chair, for your indulgence, and to the ministry staff, I'd like to talk to you about the serious occurrences and the disparities that the auditor noted in the reporting of the agencies to the ministry. The deputy made some comments in this regard and said you have determined that there indeed was a problem, although things have significantly improved, that you've sent out a communique to all service providers and, I assume, area offices, those involved, delineating what the rules are. What I would like to know is, have these types of memorandums gone out before?

Ms Proctor: Yes, they have. I would like to express initially the seriousness with which we take this whole area of reporting and the importance of reporting on any kinds of serious occurrence related to the wellbeing of children. The ministry has taken efforts over a number of years to improve our practice and improve the practice of agencies in that regard. I would like to ask Sue Herbert to speak a little more to the pieces of that work that are currently under way.

Ms Herbert: Ms Poole, your question alludes to the long history of the ministry and serious occurrence reporting. If I could start with a little bit of a historical view, the ministry's long had a practice, particularly in children's service, of requiring serious occurrence reports to be filed. I would think that before 1990 the practice was sloppy, at best, to be quite frank, and one of those issues that needs cyclical reminding. We have a large service system in this small component of children in the CFI area. We have 217 agencies. They serve 40,000 admissions a year, so that's a substantial size to keep track of through serious occurrence reporting.

In 1990, we had a safeguards report that was published. It was chaired by Joanne Campbell. One of the issues they raised was the looseness of our serious occurrence reporting guidelines. At that point in time we undertook a major revamping. We broadened the category of individuals who were to be included in the guideline and also we're much clearer about the nature of things that we wanted reported. That was implemented and the auditor references this. There was a requirement for trend analysis. What was happening with many of the reports was they were being filed somewhere and no one was adding them up or looking at them in a collective kind of way to see what it was telling you both about the individual agency or what was happening across the service system.

We did that requirement and then we, ourselves, did a further follow-up review to see how the field, both our agencies and our own area offices, were implementing the serious occurrence reports. What became clear to us was that the trend analysis, which was the new piece of the guidelines, was being done in a rather haphazard fashion. That's the reference the auditor makes in his report.

As a result, we then went and designed a format for trend analysis, so that in actual fact we made it easier, if you like, for our area offices. Sometimes standardizing and putting forms on things makes them a little easier. You have to fill the form out. Then we also said that you have to send your trend analysis to corporate offices, which will monitor that they have been done. That's a fairly new directive -- I don't know, Heather, when the last was?

Ms Heather Martin: December.

Ms Herbert: It was December. It was in part as a result of our own review and in part in response to the auditor's report. We have tightened up on what I would call both the monitoring end of this, from the perspective of agencies sending it up to area offices, and area offices then supplying their trend analysis to corporate, both as a monitoring tool and as a way for us to see what's happening across the province. As well, we've done a fair amount of training in this area.

Because of the volume of activities and daily activities that happen in the interchange between agencies, staff and children, it's an area that needs constant vigilance.

The Acting Chair: We're going to move on to the third party.

Mr Jackson: I don't mind extending some time to -- not of my time, but I'll go to 20-minute segments. She's in the line of questioning and I still haven't finished editing something I wanted to ask.

The Acting Chair: Is there unanimous consent we extend that to 20, and then 20 to the third party and 20 to the government?

Mr Pat Hayes (Essex-Kent): We're always very cooperative on this side.

Mr Jackson: I knew there would be if you showed up, Pat.

The Acting Chair: Thank you, Mr Hayes. That's fine, if you want to continue.

Mr Perruzza: Are you asking for everyone's consent or not?

The Acting Chair: We're asking for unanimous consent. Do we not have it?

Mr Hayes: Carry on, Mr Chair.

The Acting Chair: Turn his light out.

Mr Perruzza: Only because it's Cam and I like him.

Ms Poole: I think the inference is that he doesn't like me, but that's all right. Do I have more than a minute left of my five minutes now?

The Acting Chair: It's one of those sphinx questions and we've got to figure it out.

Ms Poole: I thank Mr Jackson and committee members for allowing me to continue because I did have a number of other questions.

When I was involved in this area, which was a very long time ago, in the early 1970s, one of my responsibilities as an adoption review officer in child welfare branch was to monitor the registry. At that time it was before computerization, or we certainly weren't computerized in that sector and everything was done by hand.

One of the concerns I saw was that while there was the requirement that children's aid societies, for instance, would report these incidents of abuse -- sometimes they did and sometimes they didn't -- there were instances where if a child and family moved to another jurisdiction, many times the children's aid society did not notify the new jurisdiction, either because it didn't know where they'd moved or because simply it wasn't in its jurisdiction any more so it washed its hands of it.

The only way we could track this was if there was a second occurrence of abuse and that new children's aid society was made aware at that particular time, because we could then tell it there was a history and it could contact these other children's aid societies.

I'm wondering what has changed in the last 20 years that would try to eliminate that problem of jurisdictional dispute to ensure that the children's aid societies do make sure that not only you know but that the new jurisdiction would know?

Ms Herbert: Just by way of introduction, on the serious occurrence side, we monitor those almost as a process of monitoring agency performance. In terms of abuse incidents across jurisdictions, it's a slightly different, though related reporting. I'm going to ask Heather to talk about that.

Ms Heather Martin: For child abuse issues there is a tracking mechanism across all the CASs where they actually have alerts that are sent from executive director to executive director. That exists not just within the province of Ontario but all across Canada and sometimes the US as well. That's one way of tracking an issue of abuse or issues of concern that a family or a child may be at risk as well if a family is moving from one jurisdiction to another.

Ms Poole: Could this alert be province-wide? For instance, if they know the family had moved and they didn't know the new location.

Ms Heather Martin: Yes, in fact it is. What happens is that if a CAS executive director in one community believes the family may be anywhere in the province of Ontario and/or elsewhere in Canada, the alert system automatically goes into play.


Ms Poole: The memorandum has gone out now saying that the ministry is quite serious in enforcing the law and the regulations and that they must report. What follow-up do you have or do you plan to ensure that if there is silence from the particular children's aid society, it's remedied?

Secondly, if there are repeated instances where the children's aid society, while it may be doing its own job, doesn't like reporting to the ministry -- if I recall, that probably hasn't changed all that much. What mechanisms do you have to ensure that they are in fact reporting to you? What can you do if they don't, on a repeated basis?

Ms Heather Martin: I'm not really clear on what you're asking, so I'm going to ask you to reframe it for me.

Ms Poole: You want it a little bit clearer, which is quite understandable.

You have sent out this memorandum to all the agencies. What if you have an agency, whether it be a children's aid society or another agency, that you don't hear anything from? You have your quarterly reports; they don't respond to the quarterly reports. What mechanism do you have, as a ministry, to enforce it and to ensure that they give you those quarterly reports and report instances --

Ms Heather Martin: It's an automatic thing that comes through the area office. If it isn't at the area office, then the program supervisor will follow up with an individual society. That's our way of tracking it. Also, when things come in corporately, we will track to make sure that serious occurrence reports are filed.

If an agency has an identified problem with serious occurrences, it's also another check for us, because we're able to follow up and say, "You've apparently had a number of abuse allegations at this particular facility." We're able to take the serious occurrences they have used and we're able to track if there's a specific problem related to how staff are handling behaviour management issues, for example, and provide them the appropriate training so that those kinds of things aren't happening.

Ms Poole: You're satisfied that the agencies will respond in every instance to not only your memorandum but the follow-up, that there wouldn't be a problem where the ministry had to enforce.

Ms Herbert: I think it would be fair to say that we've had incidents where we have had to deal with the board directly. One of the changes in the guidelines here was that the reports also have to go to the board, that the board understand that they have a responsibility here as well. These reports are very important for a board to know how they're doing in this area as well, so we've tried to strengthen the relationship with the board and the accountability with the board.

We all know that the agencies that don't report they have issues are the agencies one has to worry most about. That's one of the dilemmas for program supervisors as part of their responsibility in supervising agencies, to be aware not only of the trend where you have numerous and similar issues being raised but of the organizations that don't raise any at all, because when you're dealing with this client group, you're going to have issues raised. So we try to watch both ends of that spectrum.

Ms Poole: It's really your early warning system.

Ms Herbert: Yes.

Mr Jackson: I wonder if you're able to share some of the statistics. First of all, the auditor freeze-framed the 1992-93 fiscal year. I'm looking at statistics on page 47 of the auditor's report which compare the various custody and detention programs for young offenders. Do you have those similar statistics worked up for the previous year?

Ms Proctor: I think we do, if you'll bear with us just for a minute, because we do have some numbers. I have here, from 1990-91 to 1993-94 for the young offender services, transfer payment dollars. Is that the area you were looking at?

Mr Jackson: All of that would be helpful. Since we're going to be together for three or four days, it's perhaps helpful if I ask for certain materials which the committee might work with in terms of looking at various issues contained in the auditor's report.

I'm very interested around the whole issue, not to oversimplify the issue, that the auditor identified of court-ordered placement and not having secured court-ordered placement in accordance with a court order. Part of that would have to be about having a placement for that person to go to.

When I hear from you a 22% increase since 1990-91 in terms of the open and secure custody component, and I know that we haven't built a lot of facilities since 1990-91, I think it would be helpful to the committee's understanding and also to the problems facing the ministry if we somehow were able to look at the number of available places that young offenders can go.

You don't control the rising cohort of young offenders requiring attention, whether it's court-ordered or not; however, you do have the responsibility to deal with them once they are identified. I suspect that it would be helpful. At least I hope that during the course of the next four days I can get a better sense of how we're able to meet that demand, given that we're not producing additional spaces. Can you help us to understand -- perhaps other members are interested; I certainly am -- with respect to the number of beds that are available in the secure custody and secure detention and open detention if it's a schedule 2 facility?

Ms Proctor: I have some of the numbers here in terms of the facilities that are available now and I'd be happy to provide those. I'd also be happy, if it would be of use to people, to put together a bit of a package that I can share with members of the committee and sort of walk through it in an orderly way. I think we could organize that for tomorrow if that would be useful.

Mr Jackson: Okay. Let me share with you some of the areas I'd like to probe, and then you can go away this evening with some of that stuff that I would like to examine in a little more detail.

There is the definition of a certain type of facility here, and let me make sure I'm using the right language, community-based secure facilities operated by ministry non-profit transfer agencies. There are commercial transfer agencies serving young offenders. Could I get a better handle on the number of schedule 1 and 2 facilities which are commercial and those which are ministry non-profit? I'd like to look at whether we're getting greater value or not greater value for placement referrals in either of those settings.

Ms Proctor: I can give you the number of transfer payment facilities and the number of beds that are operated by --

Mr Jackson: That's what I'm looking for.

Ms Proctor: -- agency or board-operated programs in the secure residential versus the number of secure residential beds provided by ministry directly operated programs.

Mr Jackson: That's extremely helpful.

Ms Proctor: At this point, I could run through that briefly. I'll list the number of facilities operated by transfer payment agencies. There's Rotherglen Centre -- I think I'd better get Heather to read these numbers out, because I'm not sure which goes where. I'll ask Heather to go through that.

Ms Heather Martin: In the transfer payment secure residential, we have Rotherglen Centre; Pinager Youth Centre; Algoma Youth Centre; Sudbury Youth Services; Creighton Youth Services; North Bay Secure; Craigwood Youth Services; Hope Manor; Maryvale; Family Services Youth Centre, which is actually Old Arrell in Hamilton-Wentworth; and St John's School for Boys. Those are the actual transfer payment --

Mr Jackson: Eleven.

Ms Heather Martin: There are 204 beds there.

Ms Herbert: Just to be clear, in the secure settings, in transfer payment there are 11 sites and 204 beds. In the directly operated -- those are the programs that the ministry operates -- there are --

Mr Jackson: What's the classification of those beds, what schedule?


Ms Herbert: We don't schedule them. It's just a transfer payment secure setting.

Mr Jackson: Secure residential.

Ms Herbert: Yes, so they would offer both secure custody and secure detention.

Mr Jackson: What's the difference between secure custody and secure detention?

Ms Herbert: Dale, do you want to describe the difference for us?

Ms Elliott: According to the Young Offenders Act, detention is before the court has given a disposition, so it could be before there's been a finding of guilt, or it could be there's a finding of guilt and they're awaiting reports or something before the court actually gives a disposition. Custody is an actual disposition under the Young Offenders Act.

Ms Herbert: Those 11 are all non-profits in a secure setting. We also have six sites which are directly operated by the ministry, so it's the ministry's own staff. Do you want the list, the names of those, Cam? Do you want to go through those, Heather?

Ms Heather Martin: Ottawa Youth Detention Centre; Thistletown Regional Centre, Syl Apps Campus; York Detention Centre; Arrell Youth Centre; London Detention Centre; and Project DARE.

Mr Jackson: How many beds?

Ms Heather Martin: There are 154.

Ms Herbert: In open custody, we have a total of 647 beds, of which 477 are what we call contracted beds, that is, we have a service contract with them, and 170 are per diem beds, that is, where we pay when there is a child in that bed. Whether I can separate them by non-profit and profit is a good question. Can I do that?

Ms Elliott: Not here; we don't have that.

Ms Herbert: We can do that for you.

Mr Jackson: That's fine. There are 477 contract beds and are these are scheduled?

Ms Herbert: No, again, just a service contract with the agency. An example would be Dellcrest, which is a children's mental health centre that also runs a contracted program for young offenders, and so it has a contract with us.

Mr Jackson: So many beds within the facility are designated for --

Ms Herbert: Young offenders or it might be a separate --

Mr Jackson: -- young offenders in conflict with the law and medical complications.

Ms Herbert: Generally speaking, the facilities are separate. In Dellcrest's case, they have a separate --

Mr Jackson: Wing.

Ms Herbert: Or a separate building somewhere else in the city, and in other cases they will provide services simply for young offenders. They will be a young offender agency.

Mr Jackson: That's open custody, after court.

Ms Herbert: Yes, so it's a court disposition which says "open custody."

Mr Jackson: Open detention?

Ms Elliott: Most of the facilities are dual designed, and that means they can provide detention or custody, so we don't have a series of detention facilities across the province and then a series of custody facilities. You have one facility, say, a 10-bed facility, which is able to take open detention or open custody, depending on what is referred from the court or the police at a given time.

Mr Jackson: Are the per diems the same?

Ms Elliott: For detention and custody, yes.

Mr Jackson: So you can change the classification of the client and the bed, but not the funding.

Ms Elliott: Right, in that they are providing custodial services to custody and detention clients. Detention clients have the same level of custodial care. It's the same bed, the same food, the same occupying of a space in a facility.

Mr Jackson: I understand that.

Ms Elliott: The programming may be that a youth in detention isn't there as long, in that the stays in detention are less, but when we work up a budget with an agency operating a 10-bed facility, it works out what it costs on a daily basis to have a youth in one of its beds, be that a detention or a custody bed.

Mr Jackson: Does that account for the per diem approach?

Ms Elliott: Roughly, yes. Most agencies would work it up from a per diem.

Mr Jackson: There's no correlation between the commercial and non-commercial agencies in terms of per diems, the per diem approach?

Ms Herbert: Historically, the per diem approach has been a bit of a cost-saving for the ministry because you only paid when the child was in the facility. It has its drawbacks as well. We have non-profit agencies which provide per diems and we have profit agencies which provide per diems.

Mr Jackson: The operative word is "commercial."

Ms Herbert: Commercial.

Ms Elliott: Are you looking for, is there a substantial increase in cost for the commercial operators or are they more expensive?

Mr Jackson: I know they're not more expensive. I just want to see how much they're in decline.

Ms Proctor: In terms of finding the number of facilities which are either commercial or not commercial in terms of open custody and detention, we need to provide that information. We have the secure but not the open here and the secure are all non-profit. I will undertake to provide that information for you.

Mr Jackson: Okay. The six government-operated facilities had bed availabilities reduced during the course of the audit, for a variety of reasons. Some were ministry reviews. Some were the front end of the expenditure control plan. Is it possible for you to share with us what the numbers have reduced or increased by?

Whenever I see a statistic, it's either an average or it was picked on that day. I want to try to compare, if I can, the demand versus the number of beds that are available. I'm familiar with the beds that were closed at Thistletown and the two other agencies that are directly run by you. I don't know nor do I have a handle on the 11 agencies, but there must have been times when beds were not available, correct? Would that not affect the ability of your ministry to place a client in accordance with a court order if the beds were not available?

Ms Proctor: I'd like to respond two ways. One is in terms of the bed availability and the number of beds over time. That's something we could provide further information on.

Dealing with the situation when there is a court order and the question of where there is a bed available, I would like to refer that one to Dale to speak to briefly as well.

Ms Elliott: In terms of if you look at actual number of admissions versus beds on a given day, it sounds like there's not one available. There would never be a youth who wouldn't be placed in a bed according to the court order, and the kinds of pressures that we've seen on the system would be, in a facility, to have to go over its capacity or to bring in extra staff to monitor youth there above its capacity. We manage all the youths, they go into a bed according to the court order, but that is one of the pressures on the system if our intake at any given time is higher than capacity.

We've tried to deal with that in a number of ways, particularly in the secure system, over the past two years. Part of that has been bringing on a number of temporary beds, so in a larger facility that has a physical capacity to bring on more beds, we've developed funding and resourcing to add a number of beds on a temporary basis to get us through peak demand.

Also in the secure system, we have been able to build a couple of secure facilities to complete the secure network that have added beds to the system. The secure system has gone up and down over the past couple of years as we've brought on some of the new facilities, as we've put temporary beds in to manage demand and then as we continue to try to do the other things we can to decrease demand and yet still obey court orders and deal appropriately with youth.

Mr Jackson: That was one of my first questions: What new beds have come on stream since 1990-91, since that's the figure that seems to be discussed? I was not aware that we've had substantive additions, but there have been and you can identify those for us?

Ms Elliott: Yes.

Mr Jackson: Can you also identify, under the expenditure control plan, if those directives have resulted in cuts in those beds? Is that possible?

Ms Herbert: Would it be useful if we were to show over the two-year time where the beds have been in the system and how they've gone up and down, and then where the new beds have come on? We can do that for you.

What happens, as Dale said, is that we may be altering where the capacity in the system is as we move temporary beds in and move other beds off. The Thistletown example would be an example of where we've moved some beds off because of the review, but we may have opened beds somewhere else in the system. We can chart that out for you.


Mr Jackson: That would be fine, and any contract problems. I know the strike or whatever we had a year ago created difficulties, because it was in tandem with the programmed cutback in beds for the review that was going on at Thistletown, which ended up with a few young offenders in correctional facilities. That was overcome very quickly once it was identified. If it was a strategy, it was a short-lived strategy.

Will the social contract in turn have an impact on bed availabilities? You're responding to the concerns raised by the Provincial Auditor. You have openly admitted that this has further complicated your response in a positive way, and reaction to it would be complicated by the ECP and the social contract aspects. I would like to use some of this committee time, not necessarily to dwell totally on the snapshot of the auditor but I'd like you to share with us the positive things you're doing and also the challenges you're currently confronting. This would be an appropriate forum for that. I'd like to have a better handle on both the ECP and the social contract implications and which facilities as it relates to the young offenders program.

Ms Proctor: With respect to ECP and social contract it's important with the young offender program, and then to think of the CFI as well, that in the young offender we're talking partly transfer payment programs and partly directly operated programs, so the issues are different in those two sectors.

With respect to the application of the social contract in the broader public sector, the social services sector, which would include the child and family intervention programs as well as the young offenders programs, those programs are part of the social services sector. The social contract target for those organizations is in the neighbourhood of 0.75%, and to the best of our knowledge at this point it has not affected bed availability or the availability of programming. The directly operated programs of the ministry are managed within the ministry's own budget constraints and within the social contract as it affects the directly operated programs and our own staff, and in that case we are managing very carefully our own directly operated expenditures and constraining the expenditures sufficiently, but trying very hard as we do that to prioritize the service delivery and to ensure that we are providing the best possible service to young people who are in our care.

Secondly, it's important to recognize that for the staff who work in the directly operated facilities, the way they are treated under the social contract in the OPS differs from staff who are not providing a front-line direct service, in order to ensure that there are staff available when one needs them on shift to provide the service.

What I'm trying to say is that the impact is differential depending on whether it's transfer payment or directly operated and then depending on the nature of the situation.

Mr Jackson: Agreed, and there's a difference between downshifting your staff to meet the social contract at, say, Thistletown, where you have to maintain for the security of the counsellors at that location. That's different from a transfer agency like the Halton children's aid society, which is a stone's throw away, which is meeting a different kind of challenge. Each case worker may have to take on four more sexual abuse cases.

But that isn't the response with servicing the client as a young offender, and that's what I wanted to get a sense of, what the impact has been. We both agree that it's differential. It's differential in a not terribly positive way for children's aid societies, as an example, compared with, say, Thistletown. When a court sends a client there, you have to have a certain number of staff and they have to eat so many meals etc. But if the phone rings and it's the children's aid society and it's a suspected abuse case, it may take a week and a half to get to that person, and so on and so forth.

Ms Proctor: Within the context of the directly operated programs, as I say, it's essential that we prioritize and try our best to ensure that staff are available as appropriate, as necessary, to provide the safety and the security of the clients and of the staff, and maintain those standards -- that's a priority for us -- and that we continue to provide the secure custody beds so that we are able to comply with the court orders. Our management of that would ensure that.

Mr Jackson: I'm sorry to interrupt. What I am looking for is that there is an implied cap on transfers to children's aid unless you're going to continue to fold in exceptional circumstances review funding, as an example, which has always been your sort of annual venture to help them get out of trouble like this. They're no longer going to have that, whereas young offender facilities are going to have more flexibility by virtue of the fact that you're going to have a court ordering that this child be off the street, that he be supervised and that we don't have any incidents where you've got 15 young offenders in a cottage for 12 and you've only got one person supervising them at night.

I'm not trying to bait you as much as I'm trying to get a clear distinction between the young offenders' services, which the auditor has brought our attention to, and those agencies that are dealing as transfer agencies to implement the family services act on your behalf.

The Chair: Could we get a short reply? We're running out of time and I have to turn to Ms Haeck.

Ms Herbert: Just a quick comment then: There is different application. The ministry perceives both young offender services and child welfare services as mandatory services. The ECR is not going to disappear. There is some rumour about that and we can talk about that when we have a chance later on. We can come back to this in the next round of questioning if you like.

Ms Christel Haeck (St Catharines-Brock): I want to deal with one of the auditor's observations and that's on page 48 of his report. It relates to the second bullet point towards the bottom of the page, which says, "Not complying with court recommendations to provide young offenders with counselling or therapy programs."

I know that locally in my riding and in the Niagara Peninsula, where I live, counselling seems to be one of those issues that comes up in a variety of settings as being an issue.

In the non-compliance or the statement here, is it a matter of non-compliance or just not recording it? Counselling seems to be something that is difficult to provide or at least seems to be difficult to provide.

I'd be interested in hearing your comments on the provision of those services or the documentation around whether counselling or other therapy programs have in fact been provided.

Ms Proctor: I would like to respond briefly and then I will ask Dale to elaborate a bit. The auditor notes a number of instances, 87 instances, where there was a case management plan required. The cases of non-compliance were mostly cases of not enforcing counselling or treatment, and this would maybe be documented in case notes and other aspects rather than necessarily in the particulars of that file.

It could also reflect the refusal of the client to accept counselling and so forth, but with respect to the issue of providing counselling and the young offenders' use of counselling services where that's appropriate, or refusal, I ask Dale to comment a little further.

Ms Elliott: I think you've started on the point that with a court order the court often makes recommendations for counselling or some kind of treatment program that will assist the youth, recognizing that a criminal justice process may not be the process to attend to other needs that the youth and family has. Part of our case management role is to support and guide and encourage young offenders and their families to seek out any services, counselling or treatment that may be of assistance to them, and within our case management we do that.

However, unless under the formal provisions for court-ordered treatment under the Young Offenders Act or Child and Family Services Act, there is no ability to compel treatment unless you're under those very specific conditions. What often happens is a youth or family refuses to attend counselling and says, "I will meet the conditions of my court order, my curfew, my place of residence and what not"; they may refuse. What we need to look at in the auditor's concern is that this kind of a discussion is very much a case work discussion of the case manager with the youth and family, and may well have been recorded in the probation officer's case notes, saying, "We've met; I've tried; the family has said no," rather than being formally documented in the case file.

We need to check on that and really support that in all our documentation we need to account for those kinds of decisions so that we can be clear that it has been that circumstance rather than that we have not attended to a court order.


Ms Haeck: Another question -- I was trying find it in my highlighting here -- is on page 11 of our backgrounder, and I'm not sure if you have a copy of that but it relates to the placement of young offenders outside of their home communities. I have heard from some of my constituents. Actually, they're not that concerned about, let's say, their child being placed outside of the city of St Catharines and having to go to Welland to find a residential care centre. The problem is that there's not enough places in many instances which might deal with a range of situations.

When you are dealing with a teenager, someone probably between the ages of 13 and 15, you have great difficulty in placing someone who is aggressive or violent. In light of some of the comments here, I realize that it might be difficult to have a placement in every community, but how are you dealing with this particular extraordinary situation?

Ms Proctor: I think you're referring to the fact that it is really difficult at times to ensure --

Ms Haeck: To find an appropriate placement, yes.

Ms Proctor: Our objective is certainly to try to ensure a placement as close to the home of the youth as possible, but that is also balanced with the need to try to find a placement for the young person which is also appropriate to their needs, where there can be effective program and effective treatment of the behaviour of the young person as well.

We have been working, and I'll ask Dale to speak a bit more to this point, on the consistent application of a needs assessment-risk assessment that can be used by all workers with young offenders to determine what is the range of service and program that's most appropriate and useful for the particular individual, to try to provide a better consistency of assessment and better matching of resources and young people. I would like to ask Dale to speak a bit more to that point.

Ms Elliott: Around aggressive youth, there are a number of options, so that may be one of the reasons why a youth is moved out of a local community and to a facility that is further from home, if that facility is just unable to handle the behaviour.

There are options, though, agencies at a local level that the ministry supports. If it is believed that perhaps with the addition of a one-to-one worker in that facility for a period of time, with a set of goals, we can change the youth's behaviour, then that may be one of the things we would do.

There may be a service in the community. If the youth and his family also were attending some kind of specialized programming like anger management programming available in a local children's mental health centre, then we would work to get that kind of specialized programming. There may be a number of ways we could maintain a youth. Though the facility itself may not be specialized, we can build in supports on an individual case basis.

The other option that is open to us from a legislative point of view for a youth whose behaviour in open custody is creating a security and safety risk for staff and other residents is our administrative ability to move that youth into a secure custody facility for a period of up to 15 days, to bring about some containment and control of the behaviour. We range from case management service applications to legislative provisions that allow us to do that kind of movement.

Ms Haeck: I'll defer to my colleagues if there's someone else who has some questions.

Mr Randy R. Hope (Chatham-Kent): Before I move on to the questioning, I'd like to ask Mr Peters: I've heard comments made about the children's aid society. Do you have any jurisdictional role inside the children's aid society as far as conducting an audit is concerned? It's a multifunded process. It's funded by the ministry and funded by the municipalities.

Mr Erik Peters: The children's aid societies are audited by outside auditors, not by my office, and then largely they're all audited for financial purposes. I don't know whether it's all, but they're audited for financial purposes only, not for value-for-money issues.

Mr Hope: It's just that with some of the lines of questioning, I was starting to wonder why we were doing comparisons with the children's aid society versus detention centres, which we really can't compare in this committee because you have no role and responsibility. That's why I brought it up, just for clarification for the committee. I'm well familiar because I've had this conversation with your office many times.

Mr Peters: To put it into perspective, we have just had a week's hearing on the education system. Again, we were dealing extensively with the role of school boards in the educational system, but none of the school boards actually are audited by my office. It's nevertheless a ministry responsibility, such as it is here, to govern and regulate and deal effectively with the children's aid societies, even though they're not subject to audit by us.

Mr Hope: Some of the questioning I'm going to focus on is around children's services. It scares me a bit, and I'll be honest with you. The auditor had written this document, and I don't know if that's good news or bad news. We'll find out during the process.

One of the questions I'm going to follow along with is the excellent work that our legislative research does for us in these committees. They take an examination of what the audit has been and they compile some questions for us which I think are very valuable. It's non-political, so we're not getting a lot of political questions being asked.

One of the questions here that deals under compliance with legislation and ministry guidelines is, "What is the purpose of the ministry's Policy Framework for Services Funded under the Child and Family Services Act?"

Ms Proctor: I'd like to elaborate on that, because the policy framework for services funded under the CFSA is really helping to address a range of issues that we're experiencing right across the service system. This framework, which has been developed by the ministry and has been in use over the past year and which we are continuing to develop, we see as being a very critical set of directions to help us work in concert with communities, with local agencies, to deal with issues of funding, to deal with issues of priority setting and to deal with the effective management of the service system overall.

Mr Peter Gooch, who is with us, has key responsibility for managing the ongoing work in respect to the children's policy framework. I would like him to speak briefly to the content and to the progress that we're making in that area.

Mr Peter Gooch: First, to the content, I can give you a very brief outline of what the purpose of the framework is and some of its content, and then I could also speak, and I won't take a lot of time, about the kinds of effects the framework's having across the province.

First of all, the framework is really the ministry's long-term plan for children's services in the province. It's set up to set a course really in six directions, and I'll list them in a moment. Not only does it say what we'd like the service system to look like, but it sets those directions in fairly specific ways.

It names some goals we have for the service system under the Child and Family Services Act in the context of a broader range of services in communities, and it lays out some specific objectives in three columns. There's an immediate set of objectives for this fiscal year, a midterm set of objectives and a longer-term set of objectives. Let me just run through the six directions.

What we want in the system of services we're funding under the Child and Family Services Act -- remember, that includes a very broad range of services: young offender services, child and family intervention services, child protection services and developmental services for children as well -- is an integrated, cohesive system of services.

What we have now are services that are still organized to some extent by sector. We still think of them as young offender services or children's mental health services or child protection services. The whole goal of the Child and Family Services Act was to lay out a legislative platform for a more integrated range of services, all those things working together in communities as a system, rather than as isolated agencies or isolated service sectors.


We really want services that are organized to respond better to the individual and specific needs of children. We don't want to continue a system that's organized by traditional agency mandate or service types. Where those aren't effective or efficient -- sometimes it does make sense to organize those services in that way -- overall we really want a system rather than a collection of agencies out there.

The second direction is improved access to appropriate services for children and families. We know from the work we did to develop the policy framework and from things we've heard all over the province that families do face barriers to services. For example, we'd like to see information shared by service providers so families face fewer assessments as they move from service provider to service provider, and we'd like more coordinated access to residential services than we have right now. So the second direction is improved access.

The third direction is appropriately targeted resources. The document really lays out what the ministry's priorities are and it makes it clear, as the deputy's mentioned, that we see young offenders and children in need of protection as a key and major priority of the ministry. We also see the clear and present need to serve children who have the highest levels of needs, have the most serious and chronic needs. But the framework also says that we have priorities at the other end of the spectrum, if I can call it that way. We really want to see services that provide effective early interventions and services that prevent the need for more intrusive services as a priority, and we want services to address each of those priorities, all four of those priorities, in every community in the framework. It makes that clear.

The fourth direction is an equitable distribution of resources across the province. We want progress towards funding allocations based on child population and indicators of need for services and other relevant factors.

The fifth direction is local community participation and planning. Through the policy framework, we are making progress across the province towards a more effective involvement of communities in making major decisions about the organization and delivery of services across the province in the local communities. The policy framework supports and lays out some clearer expectations of the ministry for a local planning process for children's services. I should mention it's not just for services that we are funding; those expectations really do address the role of school boards and district health councils and health-funded providers as well.

The last direction is increased accountability based on the results of services. This is something the Provincial Auditor has noted in his report and the policy framework commits the ministry to develop new ways to measure the outcomes of services on children and family receiving them. We will continue to hold service providers accountable in the ways we've developed, but we will be adding to that new ways that really track and gain some information about the outcomes of those services.

Mr Hope: With those six points you've indicated, my second part of the question is, how far has the ministry progressed in implementing this framework? I know the auditor and everybody wants a say. After the good economic times when the ministry was distributing all kinds of money out there, we seem to be the bad government that's coming in there now and saying, "We've got to work together instead of creating all these different agencies." You've indicated the six points and I'm curious, on those six points dealing with that framework, how far has the ministry got to do something?

Mr Gooch: I can give you some stories. I can give you some anecdotes from around the province. The first thing I want to note is that the framework was released in May 1993, and as such we need to give communities and our area offices some time to begin to meet those expectations over the short term.

The other thing that needs to be said is that it's one thing for the ministry to chart a course of six directions -- we know where we'd like to be -- it's another thing to know how to get there. We are working very actively with provincial associations like the Ontario Association of Children's Mental Health Centres and the Ontario Association of Children's Aid Societies and all our provincial associations in a project to support the implementation of the policy framework.

It's a little difficult to explain to our area office staff and to service providers, but we're both implementing the thing and developing supports for its implementation at the same time.

I've just had the privilege of going around the province to talk to area offices, each area office in the province. In the last four weeks I've been, quite literally, from Windsor to Thunder Bay and back again.

Mr Hope: Hopefully you stopped at Chatham.

Mr Gooch: Not in Chatham. I've also been to talk to local planning groups around the province as well. I can tell you that we've heard strong support everywhere for these directions. People see them as the credible, legitimate directions for the kind of positive change we need to see in the service system.

What we've heard about are significant efforts in communities to share resources and significant efforts to bring agencies we fund in other communities together as partners to plan for children's services. We've heard that this policy framework, if it does nothing else, certainly makes the ministry's expectations clearer. That helps our area staff to support change and work for change in communities. It certainly motivates service providers, even in the form it is now.

I know that all across the province local planning groups are using this framework as a planning tool. They're organizing their own work plan. They're organizing the tasks that they take on as planning groups. Area offices are organizing their tasks as they manage a system of services in their catchments. They're organizing it under the categories of this framework and building the expectations that are laid out there into their own ongoing management.

I could give you some examples. I don't want to use the committee's time. If you are interested, I could share my notes.

Mr Hope: Yes, I would appreciate that. I think it's important for the committee to understand what's going on and some of the work.

Here is one of the other questions I have is. It's a question I have because legislative research has done it, which really asks me the question, how did government ever fund programs before when they never had criteria established? "How can the ministry prepare budgets for its programs without first clearly defining what costs are properly chargeable to those programs?" Hopefully, I was clear on that one; it's a tongue-twister. If we've had no mechanism in place to clearly define the roles of children's services -- hopefully, I'm sticking on this right, Ann; I'm reading your questions here -- how do we know it was even charged to those children's services programs?

Because of financial constraints, we're now asking everybody to work together and to find out what is a need or what is a want. We're going through that whole exercise. We hear what the opposition says about the expenditure controls and about the extraordinary pressures on different agencies. What was the mechanism? The auditor has indicated a few areas. What are the mechanisms you're using to clearly define whether it is properly charged to this account?

The Chair: Mr Hope, if I may interject for just a moment, that is a very good question.

Mr Hope: Yes, and my question is on the issue.

The Chair: Might I suggest that we adjourn for the day -- each of the parties has had one round -- and that we tackle that question tomorrow, because it is approaching 5 of the clock. It's a little earlier, but we did have one round for each party and I think by all-party agreement we were going to end after one round for each party. Perhaps we could resume our discussion tomorrow morning at 10 o'clock and adjourn for the day. Okay? Thank you. We're adjourned.

The committee adjourned at 1639.