Extended Family Program

When circumstances prevent a child from living with their parents, the preferred option is for the child to be with someone they know. This usually means an immediate family member – a grandparent, aunt or uncle, or an older sibling – it can also include someone with an established relationship or cultural connection to the child and their family.

How to determine if you can access the program

Children are better off when they are cared for by their families – and the Extended Family Program offers services and financial supports to help improve outcomes for children and youth. The main criteria for families to access the Extended Family Program include:

  • Circumstances temporarily prevent the parent(s) from caring for their child in the home.
  • Other services and supports have been tried to help keep the parent(s) and child together. This could include programs to meet the needs of the child or supports for parents such as counselling or parenting programs.
  • The care provider, who cannot be the child’s legal guardian, is a relative or someone with a significant relationship or cultural connection to the child.
  • A parent must request services from the ministry or a Delegated Aboriginal Agency - only the legal guardian of the child can initiate an application.
  • Parents must agree to the choice of care provider and the plan for the child and, where possible, contribute financially to their child’s care.

What else you need to know about the program

  • The goal is always to reunite the child with their parents wherever possible.
  • The program puts the child at the center of all decisions being made and their views will be considered in decisions that affect them.
  • Together, the social worker and family develop a plan for the child that addresses the child’s needs and assists the parent(s) and the care provider.
  • The family remains in contact with the social worker – meeting at least every six months and evaluating the plan regularly.
  • When reunification cannot be achieved, permanency and legal options that provide the child with long-term stability can be explored as part of the long-term planning.

If the child’s needs are best met by a plan to live outside the parental home, and the parents agree, financial and other supports may be provided to the care provider through the Extended Family Program.

Care providers may receive monthly benefit payments of $554.27 per child under 12 years of age and $625.00 per child 12 years of age and older. Additional benefits are available based on the child’s assessed needs and may include dental and optical coverage, child minding and respite. Your worker will help you determine what is available.