Case Review Summary Reports
Ministry practice standards require that a designated director be notified immediately regarding the critical injury or death of a child in care or a child who has received Ministry services across program areas in the twelve months previous to the critical injury or death.
These notifications provide the Director with the opportunity to objectively review the circumstances, receive feedback, and learn from these incidents. The Director may seek additional or clarifying information regarding the circumstances. Depending on the responses, the Director may be satisfied that there are no outstanding issues or questions. This is often the case for natural, expected deaths where there is no reason to believe that practice had an impact on the outcome for the child. Otherwise, the Director may decide a case review is required.
The decision to conduct a case review is made no later than thirty working days following notification of the incident. The decision is based on an examination of the critical injury or death using standard criteria. The decision-making process includes consideration of such factors as the nature of the incident, the nature and duration of the Ministry’s involvement, issues or concerns regarding past involvement, and public accountability.
All case reviews include a summary of the family’s involvement with the Ministry or other service provider, an analysis of the information, and a written report. Case reviews may result in action plans to address issues that have been identified. The action plan is tracked and monitored for implementation by the Provincial Director of Child Welfare.
Case reviews are conducted in an integrated manner with service areas or Delegated Aboriginal Agencies where applicable. Case reviews begin with the development of terms of reference (TOR) and an examination of relevant case files and electronic records. If the TOR are not answered through this examination, staff and other stakeholder interviews are conducted to ensure the TOR are satisfied. However, interviews cannot be conducted until after an ongoing criminal investigation and any ensuing court proceedings are completed.
Privacy issues are considered when preparing the case review summaries. The summaries do not provide any information such as the child’s age, gender, community, or cause of death or injury in order to ensure the privacy of the child and the family. The public disclosure of information balances the Ministry’s need for a high level of public accountability with its obligations to protect the personal information of the children and families served by the Ministry.
The Ministry responds to approximately 30,000 child protection reports each year. There is a need for critical self-analysis within the organization to ensure that standards are met and that areas for improvement are identified and addressed. The case review process, along with other quality assurance functions, demonstrates the Ministry's ability to build on its strengths, analyze its practices, and ensure continuing improvements to the way services are delivered to the many children and families served every day.
The Ministry intends to improve the response to individual case reviews by identifying areas for improvement and commencing action on those areas requiring improvement within ninety days of finalizing a case review. While it is critical that regional and program staff learn from the circumstances of individual cases in order to improve practice or program and service delivery, it is equally important to consider the organizational learning from case reviews and action them on a system wide basis in a timely manner. In future postings, the Ministry will report on organizational learning from case review through aggregate analysis.
Case Review Summary Reports
Other Reviews and Reports
2005 BC Children & Youth Review