Guidelines

Institutional Mother-Child Program - Child Link

PURPOSE

  • To provide direction to implement, maintain and monitor Child Link in women offender institutions/units

APPLICATION

  • Applies to all staff and community partners involved in Child Link for women offenders

RESPONSIBILITIES

  1. The Deputy Commissioner for Women is responsible for:
    1. approving community sites that wish to participate in the Child Link initiative
    2. maintaining a detailed list of authorized Child Link community sites
    3. disseminating the Child Link WebEx instructions to institutions and community sites that are authorized to use the Child Link WebEx account.
  2. The Institutional Head (or delegate) will:
    1. establish institutional procedures on Child Link:
      1. to designate staff responsible for the various tasks related to Child Link, including:
        • ensuring that information is available to inmates concerning access to Child Link at the institution
        • ensuring that, in accordance with CD 568-10 - Interception of Inmate Communications, signs are displayed in both official languages at the institutional Child Link stations, stating that communications may be intercepted
        • communicating with the Women Offender Sector to support the establishment of new Child link community sites, informing the Sector as required for authorizations of Child Link stations, or for inquiries related to Child Link
        • ensuring a process is in place for scheduling, facilitating and documenting the outcome of Child Link visits
        • coordinating, in collaboration with Visits and Correspondence, the use of Child Link
        • facilitating Child Link sessions
        • completing Child Link tracking sheets for videos completed
      2. to identify the location of equipment for Child Link in the institution
    2. ensure the Visitor Handbook and Inmate Handbook contain information related to Child Link accessibility at the institution
    3. approve the use of the Child Link stations for activities directly related to the inmate's Correctional Plan that involve individuals other than minor children and their accompanying adult.
  3. Visits and Correspondence staff will process visiting applications in accordance with CD 559 - Visits, which will be applicable to Child Link sessions as part of the same process as for approving accompanying adults and minor children and notifying visitors and inmates.

ELIGIBILITY

  1. Minor children, with an accompanying adult, are eligible to participate in Child Link if they are approved for any type of visits with the inmate in accordance with CD 559 - Visits.
  2. In cases where a child welfare agency is involved, institutions are to follow their existing procedures for approval and coordination of visits, which may include the use of Child Link.
  3. An inmate's child who is above the age of majority may be approved by the institutional Visits Review Board on a case-by-case basis to participate in Child Link.
  1. The use of Child Link stations is allowed for the purposes of contact with the community related to an inmate transfer or release pursuant to section 81 or 84 of the CCRA.
  2. The use of Child Link stations may be authorized by the Institutional Head for other community contacts that support the inmate's progress or reintegration.

PROCESS

Communications Between Institutions/Community Sites and the Women Offender Sector

  1. All communications between institutions/community sites and the Women Offender Sector regarding any aspects of the Child Link initiative (e.g. enquiries, requests for approval of new community sites, responses to enquiries, transmittal of Child Link tracking sheets) may be done through the Mother-Child Program general email boxes, i.e.MCP-PME.GEN-NHQ@csc-scc.gc.ca (external partners) or GEN-NHQ MCP-PME (internal CSC).

Approval and Scheduling

  1. Applications for the use of Child Link will be processed as per the normal visiting application process at the institution and in accordance with CD 559 - Visits.
  2. The visitor will book the visit, in accordance with the procedures identified by the institution, specifying it is a Child Link session and indicating the community site he/she is requesting to attend.
  3. Child Link visits may occur outside regular visiting hours for the institution, but will be scheduled as operationally feasible for the institution and community site.
  4. Upon receipt of the request from a visitor, and in accordance with the procedures identified by the institution, the staff member designated to schedule Child Link sessions will:
    1. verify the visiting status of the accompanying adult and ensure that the appropriate documentation is on file for the minor child
    2. contact the community site to schedule the Child Link session, providing the names of both the child and accompanying adult, and send the WebEx invitation
    3. confirm to the accompanying adult the scheduling of the session, or in cases where it cannot be scheduled as requested, arrange an alternate time and/or date
    4. communicate that the session is scheduled as per the institutional procedures
    5. notify the visitor and community site in the event that a Child Link session is cancelled.
  1. The staff member identified in the institutional procedures to facilitate the Child Link sessions will:
    1. initiate the Child Link session at the scheduled date and time, by logging on to the designated computer
    2. confirm the computer settings at the start of each session
    3. remove the keyboard and mouse to ensure that inmates only have access to a monitor with a headset, microphone and webcam (if required), unless they are under the direct supervision of a staff member for the duration of the visit
    4. ensure that a connection is made with the community site prior to leaving the inmate to participate in the Child Link session.
  1. When the accompanying adult arrives at the community site, his/her identification will be verified. Other verifications may be required in accordance with the community site's policies.
  2. The Child Link community site will:
    1. ensure a sign is posted in both official languages at the location of the Child Link station to remind visitors that privacy cannot be guaranteed and that the accompanying adult is to remain with the child during the visit
    2. log into the WebEx session
    3. advise the visitors of the procedure to follow if they wish to end the visit early
    4. ensure the accompanying adult remains with the child during the Child Link session as he/she is responsible for the supervision of the child.

Procedures Following the Child Link Session

  1. Community sites will inform the institution of any observations or concerns related to the Child Link session.
  2. Institutional staff will report any observations or concerns through the normal reporting procedures of the institution and take action as appropriate.
  3. The individual who facilitates the Child Link session at the institution will ensure the staff member designated to complete the Child Link tracking sheet is aware of the outcome and/or completion of the session.
  4. The session will be entered on the tracking sheet by the designated staff member.

Suspension, Termination and Interception of Child Link Sessions

  1. Child Link sessions may be suspended or terminated by the Institutional Head in accordance with procedures identified in CD 559 - Visits.
  2. In accordance with CD 085 ─ Correspondence and Telephone Communication and CD 568-10 - Interception of Inmate Communications, communications, including Child Link sessions, may be intercepted.

Deputy Commissioner for Women,

Original signed by:

Jennifer Wheatley

ANNEX A

CROSS-REFERENCES AND DEFINITIONS

CROSS-REFERENCES

DEFINITIONS

Accompanying adult: within the context of the Child Link initiative, an accompanying adult can be anyone who has reached the age of majority of the province where the community site is located, is an approved visitor, and has obtained a signed authorization from the custodial non-inmate guardian/parent.

Child Link: a CSC video visitation program considered a non-residential component of the Mother-Child Program, which allows women inmates to communicate with children in the community using video conferencing technology (WebEx).

Child welfare agency: the provincial agency that has the authority for child welfare matters, in the province where the institution is located, in accordance with the applicable provincial legislation.

Minor Child: any individual under the age of majority. (See Age of Majority table in Annex C of CD 768 - Institutional Mother-Child Program.)

Visits Review Board: the review board described in CD 559 - Visits that is responsible for the review of visitor applications.

For more information

To learn about upcoming or ongoing consultations on proposed federal regulations, visit the Canada Gazette and Consulting with Canadians websites.