This Commissioner's Directive applies to staff involved in the pre-release planning and supervision of women offenders who have applied to have children reside with them at a community-based residential facility.
The District Director will:
develop and review partnerships with services that support mother-child relationships, including community-based residential facilities that will consider accommodating women offenders with children;
ensure the community-based residential facility provides a safe environment for the child; and
provide support to address the woman offender's basic needs through maintenance allowance when her requirement to reside at a community-based residential facility might deny her access to certain benefits otherwise available to her (i.e. via social service benefits) if she were living independently in the community.
The Area Director will ensure facilities which accommodate women offenders with children:
establish admission criteria for women offenders with children;
do not accept women offenders with restrictions regarding child access, while a child is residing at the facility;
develop a process to confirm that expectations and terms for accommodating a woman offender with children have been shared with the woman offender; and
emergency contact information for alternate caregivers (when available),
positive parenting protocol,
child sitting arrangements, and
child health care information.
The Parole Officer Supervisor will establish a protocol between the residential facility and the parole office for reporting and documenting incidents of neglect or abuse.
The Parole Officer will:
ensure that the woman offender's application to reside with children is consistent with the objectives of her Correctional Plan;
confirm the custody status and any outstanding legal issues related to the woman offender's relationship with the children;
consider parenting needs in the development of release plans; and
assist the woman offender in developing and maintaining links to appropriate resources in the community.
The Institutional Mother-Child Program Coordinator will consult with the woman offender and the Parole Officer to prepare and plan for release in a manner that is consistent with the offender's Correctional Plan.
The Aboriginal Liaison Officer and Aboriginal Community Development Officer will work closely with an Aboriginal community and the
Case Management Team, for release under section 84 of the
CCRA , encouraging culturally appropriate support for the woman offender and the children.
All staff will immediately report any suspicion of child neglect or abuse to police and/or child welfare authorities.
The woman offender with custody of children at a community-based residential facility will maintain full responsibility for their care, including financial responsibility.
When updating the Correctional Plan for release, the institutional Parole Officer will, in consultation with the Institutional Mother-Child Program Coordinator, where applicable, identify child care and maternal relationship issues which may impact on reintegration.
The community Parole Officer will consult with child welfare officials if they are involved, prior to recommending placement in a community-based residential facility.
The community Parole Officer will, in consultation with the community-based residential facility and Case Management Team, consider the risk and needs of all facility residents, including any risk posed to the child, prior to recommending placement.
The Parole Officer will obtain from the community-based residential facility, written confirmation that the woman offender is aware of the expectations of the facility and the terms under which accommodating children would be reviewed or terminated.
When a woman offender on conditional release applies to have children reside with her in a community-based residential facility, the Parole Officer will consult with the community-based residential facility and Case Management Team prior to approving the request.