National and International Education in Child Welfare Report
Canadian Education in Child Welfare
To summarize the information that was gathered from the foster family organizations and provincial government websites throughout Canada, it was noted that each province handles the education for their foster families and social workers in unique manners.
Although a number of the provinces use Pride for their pre-entry and licensed home education, many others use models that have been designed for their own province, with the exception of Nunavut which is still in the development stages. Further to this, those provinces that used Pride seemed to encourage more training with foster parents and social workers being trained together and/or co-facilitating the training. The education expectations were applied to kinship homes for the provinces that licensed them. Medical homes also have education expectations although they differ in that the training each foster parent took is more child-specific.
Each of the provinces also has their own standards for the number of hours of education that a foster parent must take both pre-entry and post-license. Education expectations for each province range from 8 hours to 50 hours or more. The repercussions for non-compliance are also varied from province to province and range from none to loss of license.
With respect to levelling a home, most provinces recognize that education and training taken by foster parents help with determining the rate a foster parent receives. Other provinces base the rate on the needs of the child placed in the home.
Canadian Education in Child Welfare (Province/Education Model/Website)
- British Columbia/Provincial Specific Model/ bcfosterparents.ca, fafp.ca
- Alberta/Pride Model/ afpaonline.com
- Saskatchewan/Pride Model/ sffa.sk.ca
- Manitoba/Provincial Model/ mffn.ca
- Ontario/Pride or SAFE Model/ oacas.org
- Quebec/Provincial Specific Model/ http://www.batshaw.qc.ca
- Newfoundland & Labrador/Pride Model/ nlffa.ca
- PEI/Provincial Specific Model
- Nova Scotia/No Information/ fosterfamilies.ns.ca
- New Brunswick/Pride Model/ http://www.nbfosterfamilies.ca
- NWT/Pride Model/ ffcnwt.com
- Yukon/Pride Model
- Nunavut/Developing Model
Note: further contact information for all provinces can be found on the Canadian Foster Family Association website at www.canadianfosterfamilyassociation.ca Each province’s provincial website was used for further reference information.
International Education in Child Welfare
In researching international education expectations within child welfare, the following countries were used in this research:
– United Kingdom
– New Zealand
– United States
The United States, similar to Canada, does not have education expectations that are required nationally. The expectations vary from state to state and range from no pre-entry training to 40 pre-entry hours of training. The post license training varied from no education expectations annually to 70 hours of training expected annually. The repercussions for not taking the expected training also ranged from none to loss of license. During this research, no information was found on educational expectations of the social workers in each state. Also, the education expectations in the United States applied to all homes within the state including kinship, foster-to-adopt, and medical homes. At this time there is no information available to indicate how each home is levelled. Further information regarding education specific to each state can be found at www.nfpainc.org or www.childwelfare.gov
The United Kingdom uses a model that is unique to that region. “Skills to Foster” is an online educational series that is trained within the first year of a foster license being issued and must be completed to maintain a license. After the first year, there are no specific education expectations. Each foster home is reviewed annually. Education expectations for the foster parent are outlined within the review if it is felt that further education is required. These standards are in place for the country as a whole. No information was available at the time in regards to levelling a home. Although the United Kingdom fostering website states that they encourage further education of their social workers, no specific training is identified. If you would like further information on fostering in the United Kingdom, it can be found at www.fostercareuk.co.uk
Australia has mandatory pre-service training that all potential foster parents must complete prior to licensing. This training is expected of any potential foster parent, including a kinship home. Post-licensing education is made available and all foster carers are encouraged to take it. The training in this country is provided at the cost of the licensing organization. Since post-licensing education is encouraged and not mandatory, there are no repercussions for not receiving further training. There was no information available regarding levelling for Australia. These standards also applied to the country as a whole. If you would like more information please go to www.fostercare.org.au
New Zealand uses a one day pre-service training session that is mandatory for each potential foster home. Once this is complete, there are three optional half day courses that can be taken to further the foster parent’s training. This training is also mandatory for kinship homes, workers and support staff. Further education after licensing is not mandatory but strongly encouraged. At this time, no information was available on a levelling system. For further information on the foster care system, go to www.fosteringkids.org.nz
Additional Resource Information
The resources listed above are region specific. Other online resources were looked at and could be considered helpful for anyone looking into fostering standards and education. They are:
- International Foster Care Organization
- Pressley Ridge
- Child Welfare League of Canada
- Families in Society
- Fostering First International