OACAS is the provincial clearinghouse for Children’s Aid Societies in Ontario on information regarding emerging trends, child welfare best practices, service tools, child welfare education, regulations/legislation, and knowledge inquiries. We use this information to help inform and adapt education and training that is provided across the province to frontline employees and support staff who work directly with families in their communities.
OACAS manages a group of training and research tools referred to as the Ontario Practice Model that collectively serve to enhance the quality of care provided for children in resource (foster, kinship and customary care, and adoption) families. The tools include SAFE (Structured Analysis Family Evaluation), which is a home-study methodology, and PRIDE (Parent Resources for Information, Development, and Education), which is a competency-based model for the development and support of resource families.
Another tool used by the field, which is available through OACAS, is the Eligibility Spectrum, designed to assist child protection staff at Children’s Aid Societies in making consistent and accurate decisions about a child or family’s eligibility for service at the time a society becomes involved.
OACAS works with Children’s Aid staff, families, and community partners to develop documents called Practice Guides that evolve readers’ understanding of the complexities of child protection with respect to a particular topic area. The Practice Guides are designed to promote critical thinking and decision-making in sensitive areas of child welfare practice. Some of the recent Practice Guides have included: The Other Side of the Door: A Practice Guide for Child Welfare Professionals Working with First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples; Fire Safety and Prevention: A Resource Guide for Child Welfare Professionals; and Critical Connections: Where Woman Abuse and Child Safety Intersect — A Practice Guide for Child Welfare Professionals in Ontario. These Practice Guides are referenced by multiple groups who are responsible for the well-being of children, including those working in children’s mental health, domestic violence, and education.