Home Study Prep: Document Review

Home Study Prep - Reviewing Policies and Procedures (Foster and Adoption Application Process) Mommameesh wordpress

Prior to my first Home Study Assessment visit I must read through the 11 Safety Policies and Procedure documents sent over by my Home Study worker. I mentioned them briefly in my post about the “Information Gathering Stage”, but will go in more depth about what they include in this post.

All information is taken from the Information sheets received from CAS as listed below (reference of sheet number is in brackets):

11 Safety Policies and Procedures

  1. Acceptable and Unacceptable Disciplinary Practices (2-170)
  2. Bathtub Safety (4-222)
  3. Child Restraint Car Seats (2-60)
  4. Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Need (4-110)
  5. Effective Communication and Transfer of Medical Medication Information (4-132)
  6. Safe Administration, Storage and Disposal of Medications (4-131)
  7. Second Hand Smoke Policy (2-50)
  8. Serious Occurrences (4-350)
  9. Use of Motorized Vehicles (4-290)
  10. Use of Physical Restraints (2-180)
  11. Water Safety (4-230)

 

Acceptable and Unacceptable Disciplinary Practices 

This document talks about the different kinds of acceptable and unacceptable disciplinary actions by the Foster Parent(s). For me, it seems like common sense for the “Unacceptable” list, but it is great to go over to be sure I am on the same page as the Children’s Aid Society.

Unacceptable:

  • Deliberately harsh or degrading responses (resulting in humiliation or undermining)
  • Taking away basic needs of the child (food, shelter, clothing, etc.)
  • Extensive and prolonged withholding of emotional response or stimulation (after the undesirable behaviour has stopped)
  • Locking the child in a room
  • Threats
  • Spanking/physical punishment
  • Punching, shaking or shoving

Acceptable

  • Positive reinforcement and praise, use of rewards
  • Modelling
  • Routines and limits
  • Clear expectations and follow-through
  • Prompting
  • Brief, gentle behaviour teaching
  • Redirecting/distraction
  • Verbal disapproval
  • Withholding or granting privileges
  • Grounding
  • Time Outs
  • Logical consequences
  • Chores, Assignments, Restitution
  • Negotiating, problem solving, choices
  • Ignoring undesirable behaviour (if behaviours are not harmful to the child or others)

Bathtub Safety

This document is short and reminds foster parents to be present with infants and young children in the bath as children can drown in water that is only 1 inch deep. The use of infant bath seats and rings are prohibited for foster children and children placed on adoption probation.

Child Restraint Systems Policy and Car Seats

This document covers the legal requirements for car seats, as well as additional information specific to CAS Policy. As part of the CAS policy, I am required to take a Car Seat Training course which goes over this information (I will be attending this coming Saturday and will post more about it once complete).

Additional requirements, not regarding the child seat requirements:

  • Where there are side airbags in the vehicle, children should be seated in the middle of the rear seat. Where this is not possible, ensure that toys, blankets, etc. are removed from the area between a child and an air bag
  • Children should not lean against the door at any time
  • All vehicles that are equipped with child safety locks much have such mechanisms activated
  • Where the foster parent is the only other occupant, the child much be in a seat not immediately behind the driver

Foster Home Car Seats – A car seat appropriate for the child’s age, weight and height will be assigned to the foster home at the time of placement.

Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Needs 

We talked a lot about culture in our training and this document goes over the Policy regarding these needs. It goes over the importance of maintaining connection with the child’s community/cultural beliefs.  Seeking conversions or criticizing other faith groups by foster parents is prohibited.  The First Nation communities and organizations work closely with CAS as well, which was discussed during training.

Effective Communication and Transfer of Medical and Medication Information

This document, although only 4 pages, is pretty detailed. I won’t list all of the details here, but it includes Policies and Procedures for these areas:

  • Child Admission
  • Obtaining and Communicating Medication Information
  • Transfer of Medication for Short-Term Absences
  • Self-Administration of Medication
  • Medical Emergencies during Transport
  • Emergency Admission to Hospital
  • Transfer of Medication and Medical Records (discharges from care, placed with adoptive parents, etc.)

Safe Administration, Storage and Disposal of Medication

This is a separate document from the one above and is longer (7 pages). This along with the document described above are reviewed by the foster parents and Resource Worker annually.

Like the document above, I won’t go into detail as there is a lot of information and specific policies regarding safety and monitoring. It also briefly goes over about when a child refuses medication Here are some points from it:

  • Foster parents are expected to accompany a child to all scheduled medical appointments
  • The child’s worker is expected to attend admission medicals and should attend medication reviews, annual and discharge medicals.
  • Parents are encourages to attend medical appointments at the Clinic particularly medication reviews and discharge medicals, where appropriate.
  • It includes emergency numbers to have on hand (poison control, local pharmacy, Telehealth Ontario) which I have made sure to include on my Emergency Contact List in my Home Binder
  • The policy/procedure for medication incidents (missed dosage, wrong dosage, etc.) is explained as well as for psychotropic medication.

Second Hand Smoke Policy

All foster homes must be smoke free (smoking not permitted in the house whatsoever) or non-smoking homes (no one in the house smokes and smoking is not permitted in the house). Smoking is not permitted in the presence of a child when outside of the home either (cars, attending community events).

Serious Occurrences

This is another very detailed document. Since it is specific to the Policy of the CAS agency I am working with, I won’t go into detail here. Some of the items it covers are:

  • Examples of serious occurrences (fire, police, ambulance, child’s absence, or an event likely to result in significant public or media attention, to name a few)
  • Timelines for reporting and who to report to
  • Allegations of abuse, neglect against a foster parent
  • Investigation outcomes

Use of Motorized Vehicles

This documents is in regards to the use of vehicles other than automobiles such as trail bikes, ATVs, snowmobiles, farm vehicles, riding lawn mowers, go-carts, etc. Being in a rural area, this is something that would potentially come up for our family.

There are a number of conditions that must be met before a child in care can operate any off road vehicles. Some examples of the conditions this document describes are (not all are listed here):

  • safety requirements are met (permits, registration, insurance, helmet and other safety equipment)
  • the child must have resided with the foster home for a period of time in order for the foster parents to be familiar with the child’s personality
  • age, development level and maturity must be taken into consideration
  • child must receive individual instruction from the foster parents on operation of the vehicle
  • foster parents must exercise sufficient supervision (and setting parameters regarding where the vehicle may be driven).

Use of Physical Restraints Policy

Physical restraints are only to be used as a response to immediate safety concerns and not as a “therapeutic holding.” They are never to be used as punishment or to secure behavioural compliance. Also, restraints will only be used after less intrusive behavioural interventions have been considered and seemed to be an inappropriate response to the circumstances.

In order for foster parents to be authorized to employ physical restraints they must successfully complete a two day training program and be recertified annually (Crisis Prevention Institute (CPI) training).

This document goes into more detail regarding permitted and prohibited physical restraint techniques (taught in the CPI training program), debriefing with the child and foster parents, and more information on the reporting requirements.

Water Safety

The child’s worker will collect information regarding the child’s background, fears, experiences and swimming abilities to discess with the foster parents. The consent of the parents is not needed for the foster family to involve the children in water activities. The worker is expected to advise the parents that their child will be participating in water activities while residing at the foster home.

Other items covered in this document:

  • Determining if the child in care is a “swimmer” or “non-swimmer”
  • Water safety at guarded beaches in general
  • Water safety at beaches for non-swimmers
  • Water safety at beaches for swimmers
  • Pool Requirements (this is local information)
  • Water safety at pools for non-swimmers
  • Water safety at pools for swimmers
  • Water safety at foster home pools
  • Other situations (water parks, teen outings to the beach)
  • Swimming pool fencing requirements
  • Use of watercraft
  • Children in care as watercraft passengers
  • Children in care as passengers on commercial watercraft (ferry)

 

That is all of the documentation I received to review. All of this will be discussed at my first home visit.

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