Commissioner's Directive 768
Institutional Mother-Child Program
In Effect: 2020-01-24
- Corrections and Conditional Release Act (CCRA), sections 2, 46, 58, 76 and 77
- Corrections and Conditional Release Regulations (CCRR), sections 51, 52 and 53
To foster positive relationships between federally incarcerated mothers and their child, by keeping them together where appropriate, and providing a supportive environment that promotes stability and continuity for the mother-child relationship
To provide direction to implement, maintain and monitor the Institutional Mother-Child Program
Applies to staff, inmate mothers and inmates at women offender institutions and units and to contractors and volunteers involved in the Institutional Mother-Child Program
- Residential Component – Eligibility and Requirements
- Rebuttal and Redress Process
- Residential Component Processes
- Residential Application and Assessment Process
- Residential Approval Process
- Periodic Review Requirement
- Transition Plan for Children Participating in the Residential Component of the Program on a Full-Time Basis
- Mothers Participating in the Residential Component and Leaving the Institution with their Child
- Suspension and/or Termination of Program Participation
- Re-Application for the Residential Component of the Program Following Termination
- Residential Component – Child Identification
- Residential Component Supervision – Security Patrols and Formal Counts
- Management of Incidents and Emergencies
- Residential Component – Health Care for Child
- Residential Component – Child Personal Effects and Monies
- Residential Component – Searching of Child and Personal Property
- Non-Residential Component
- Volunteers and Individuals Under Contract
- Annex A: Cross-References and Definitions
- Annex B: Assessment for Decision for the Residential Component of the Mother-Child Program-Report Outline
- Annex C: Age of Majority
- The Deputy Commissioner for Women is authorized to establish Guidelines, as needed, pertaining to the Mother-Child Program.
- The Institutional Head will:
- assign responsibilities for the various components of the Mother-Child Program, including designating a staff member as the Mother-Child Coordinator
- approve participation in, suspension and/or termination of the residential component of the Mother-Child Program, ensuring that inmate accommodation needs are the first priority
- designate review board(s) at the site level for processes related to the Mother-Child Program
- ensure a process is in place to allow for the application for escorted temporary absences (ETAs) under CSC authority for parental responsibility, pursuant to Commissioner’s Directive (CD) 710‑3 – Temporary Absences
- establish inmate movement procedures relative to the Mother-Child Program, in accordance with CD 566-3 – Inmate Movement, that take into account the presence of children in the institution
- establish procedures relative to the Mother-Child Program, in accordance with CD 566-4 – Counts and Security Patrols, for security patrols and formal counts that address the presence of children in the institution
- ensure that the Institutional Search Plan, completed in accordance with CD 566-8 – Searching of Staff and Visitors, includes specific search parameters for children participating in the residential component of the Mother-Child Program
- establish protocols and ensure reporting of suspected child abuse or neglect to child welfare authorities in accordance with provincial legislation
- ensure the institutional contingency plan addresses the presence and safety of children during an institutional emergency
- ensure that incidents involving children are immediately reported pursuant to CD 568-1 – Recording and Reporting of Security Incidents
- authorize children participating in the residential Mother-Child Program as passengers in CSC vehicles, in accordance with the Internal Services Directive (ISD) 335 – Fleet Management
- ensure there is a process in place to confirm that child seats in any vehicle used to transport children (if operated by employees, contractors or volunteers) are approved child seats pursuant to the Canada Motor Vehicle Safety Standards and are in compliance with provincial highway traffic legislation
- establish procedures for the mother to obtain the necessary food, materials and equipment related to the care of the child participating in the residential component of the Mother-Child Program
- ensure procedures are developed to support the mother’s contact with their child during the re-application process after release to the community, suspension and return to the institution
- ensure a process is in place for the collection, storage and management of information for participants of the Mother-Child Program.
- The Mother-Child Coordinator will:
- be the primary point of contact for mothers in the Mother-Child Program (both residential and non-residential) concerning parenting needs and be responsible for assisting the mother to maintain a relationship with their child
- guide the residential application processes, assisting the mother with any delays or obstacles that may arise and following up with relevant child welfare agencies to help expedite the application process
- assist mothers in the residential program with any issues they face in caring for their child at the institution, including arranging for babysitters and facilitating relevant escorted temporary absences
- coordinate the activities of any staff, volunteers and/or contractors involved in the Mother-Child Program
- establish and maintain partnerships with community resources, including volunteers, who can:
- provide information and/or support to mothers regarding parenting and meeting parental responsibilities
- assist the Parole Officer in developing and implementing a release plan to provide continuity of care following release to the community
- provide services and activities in support of the Mother-Child Program
- verify safety recall information on the Health Canada website prior to distributing equipment and materials for children’s use
- facilitate and/or coordinate awareness sessions for staff on identifying and reporting child abuse and neglect as well as on other child safety topics
- ensure availability of a parenting skills program for all inmates, and that all participants and inmate babysitters in the residential component of the Mother-Child Program complete this program, as well as a recognized first aid course
- as necessary, provide information to, and obtain information from, the child welfare agency and/or external health care professionals with a specialization in child care, in the mother’s previous places of residence, pursuant to the Residential Application and Assessment Process set out in this policy
- facilitate the process or contact with community resources (e.g., volunteers) to allow mothers involved in the residential component of the Mother-Child Program to identify and purchase items necessary for the care of their child, including food, supplies, age appropriate equipment and materials
- ensure that application forms related to the child, including, but not limited to, birth certificates, health cards, status cards, and child tax credits, are available to the mother and provide assistance if required to complete the forms
- assist the inmate with identifying health care providers in the community and ensure the Mother-Child Program Health Care Checklist ─ Child (CSC/SCC 1159‑03) is submitted annually for children who are participating in the residential component of the Mother-Child Program
- coordinate and/or facilitate the mother’s interactions and involvement with family/kin, child welfare agencies, lawyers, family court, etc., to ensure that parental and/or legal responsibilities are met and that the best interests of the child remain paramount
- be a point of contact for mothers who are not in the residential component of the Mother-Child Program, and assist them to maintain contact with their child by participating in the non-residential component of the program.
- The Chief of Health Services or delegate will:
- ensure the “Pregnancy Off. Special Needs Alert” is activated and de activated in the Offender Management System, as appropriate
- ensure postpartum medical follow-up is in place for mothers, where applicable, as per provincial guidelines
- ensure priority referrals are made for opioid agonist treatment and other substance use services, where applicable.
- The Chief of Mental Health or delegate will be consulted upon receipt of an application to participate in the Mother-Child Program to identify whether there are any concerns or benefits from a mental health perspective. The Chief of Mental Health, at their discretion, can request that a mental health assessment of the mother be completed in accordance with the Content Guidelines for Mental Health Assessment for Participation in the Residential Component of the Institutional Mother-Child Program.
- The Elder/Spiritual Advisor will:
- provide spiritual support, guidance and cultural awareness to staff working with Indigenous inmates participating in the program, with a particular focus on historical policies and actions/impacts related to Indigenous people, including residential schools and the sixties scoop
- educate mothers participating in the Mother-Child Program regarding, among other things, the impacts of long-standing historical trauma on parenting, including, but not limited to, historical policies and actions/impacts related to Indigenous people, including residential schools and the sixties scoop
- provide spiritual support, guidance and cultural awareness, including Indigenous parenting practices, to mothers who have children participating in the Mother-Child Program and who are interested in working with an Elder/Spiritual Advisor.
- The Indigenous Liaison Officer will document and share the Elder's/Spiritual Advisor’s observations/assessments of program suitability and program involvement with the Case Management Team when the mother is working with an Elder/Spiritual Advisor.
- Upon the mother’s request, the Chaplain will offer rites, rituals and/or services related to childbirth and newborn spiritual/religious care.
- The Parole Officer will:
- consider the parenting responsibilities of the mother in the development of the Correctional Plan and in release planning, while taking into account the best interests of the child
- complete the Assessment for Decision for the Residential Component of the Mother-Child Program (see Annex B), following the mother’s application
- collaborate with the Mother-Child Coordinator to identify community networks for support and to ensure continuous support throughout program participation.
- The review board(s) will:
- make recommendations to the Institutional Head with respect to the mother’s application, any review of their program participation, and institutional processes related to any component of the Mother-Child Program
- make recommendations to the Institutional Head on application of inmate babysitters for the residential component of the Mother-Child Program.
- The Primary Worker will:
- assist the mother, if necessary, in completing their application for the Mother-Child Program
- document the mother’s participation in various components of the Mother-Child Program in each Structured Casework Record.
- All staff in contact with the mother and child will:
- encourage and support the mother in their parenting role in a non-intrusive/non-interventionist manner
- monitor the dynamics within the living units housing children, and during any activities in the institution where children are present
- immediately remove the child from an area when a situation presents an imminent risk to the safety of the child
- immediately report and document any suspected child abuse/neglect in accordance with provincial legislation and established institutional protocol breaches of the Mother-Child Program Residential Agreement (CSC/SCC 1159).
Residential Component – Eligibility and Requirements
- CSC’s ability to accommodate participation in the residential component of the Mother-Child Program is dependent on institutional capacity.
- A mother can be considered for participation in the residential component of the Mother-Child Program with their child if:
- they are classified as minimum or medium security, or are maximum security and are being considered for medium security
- they have been screened against the relevant provincial child welfare registries to verify whether information exists that should be considered in the decision -making process
- the child welfare agency is supportive of their participation
- there is no current assessment from a mental health professional indicating that the mother is incapable of caring for their child due to a documented mental health condition of the child or the mother
- they have not been convicted of an offence against a child or of an offence which could reasonably be seen as endangering a child. An inmate who does not meet this eligibility criterion may be considered for participation if a psychiatric or psychological assessment determines that the inmate does not present a danger to their child
- they are not subject to a court order or other legal requirement prohibiting contact with their child or children.
- An offender may apply for the residential component of the Mother-Child Program while in the Structured Living Environment (SLE), Structured Intervention Unit (SIU) or Enhanced Support House (ESH ) but cannot participate in the full-time program while residing in one of these areas; they can be considered for participation in the part-time residency program using the private family visiting unit location.
- A mother’s child is eligible to be considered for participation in the residential component of the Mother-Child Program if they are:
- not older than four years of age (no longer eligible at the fifth birthday) for full-time residency in a living unit, or
- not older than six years of age (no longer eligible at the seventh birthday) for part-time residency in a living unit, or
- under the age of majority for part-time residency using the private family visit unit location.
- An inmate is eligible to be considered for employment as a babysitter for children participating in the residential component of the Mother-Child Program if:
- they do not have a criminal history of an offence against a child, an offence which could reasonably be seen as endangering a child, or a court order prohibiting contact with children
- they have provided their consent via the Mother-Child Program Inmate Babysitter Application (CSC/SCC 1159-02) and have been screened against the relevant provincial child welfare registries to verify that no information exists to indicate that they may pose a risk to a child
- they are classified at the minimum or medium security level and do not reside in the SLE, SIU or ESH
- the mother is in agreement with the inmate babysitter’s application to care for their child as indicated by the mother’s signature on the Mother-Child Program Inmate Babysitter Application (CSC/SCC 1159-02)
- the inmate babysitter has completed a parenting skills program and a first aid course which includes child first aid
- consultation has occurred with the Parole Officer and Security Intelligence Officer to verify that no information exists to indicate that they may pose a risk to a child
- they have been approved by the review board designated for this purpose.
Other Residents in the Living Unit
- An inmate is eligible to reside in a living unit where a child resides on a full-time or part-time basis if:
- they do not have a criminal history of an offence against a child, an offence which could reasonably be seen as endangering a child, or a court order prohibiting contact with children
- they have been screened against the relevant provincial child welfare registries to verify that no information exists to indicate that they may pose a risk to a child
- consultation has occurred with the Parole Officer and Security Intelligence Officer to verify that no information exists to indicate that they may pose a risk to a child
- they have been approved by the review board designated for this purpose.
Rebuttal and Redress Process
- Where the mother is dissatisfied with the recommendation regarding their participation in the Mother-Child Program, they may submit a rebuttal (in person or in writing) directly to the Institutional Head within two working days from the sharing of the reports. The Institutional Head may grant an extension of up to thirty working days at the mother’s request. When the mother presents a verbal rebuttal, the information must be recorded in a “Casework Record – Rebuttal”.
- The mother will be provided with a written notice of the Institutional Head’s final decision and the associated reasons in a CSC Board Review/Decision Sheet which will include notification of their right to submit a grievance against all or part of the decision pursuant to CD 081 – Offender Complaints and Grievances.
Residential Component Processes
Residential Application and Assessment Process
- Mothers, including pregnant inmates who wish to participate in the residential component of the Mother-Child Program, will complete the Mother-Child Program Residential Application (CSC/SCC 1159-01).
- Upon receipt of the application, the Parole Officer will enter the application in the Offender Management System and will schedule a case conference with the Mother-Child Coordinator to review the application within five working days.
- If a mother applies, and the nature of their criminal history/index offence requires a psychiatric/ psychological assessment to determine eligibility, the Chief of Mental Health (or delegate) will request a psychiatric/psychological assessment for this purpose within five working days. The application remains pending until the report is received.
- If the mother meets the initial eligibility criteria, the Mother-Child Coordinator will:
- request a written assessment from the child welfare agency within five working days of the case conference to determine whether participation in the program is in the best interests of the child. When the child welfare agency is unable to provide the requested assessment, a written assessment from an external health care professional with a specialization in child care will be requested. The external health care professional must be registered in the province of practice
- consult with the Chief of Mental Health (or delegate) within five working days of the case conference to identify whether there are any concerns from a mental health perspective. The Chief of Mental Health, at their discretion, can request that a formal mental health assessment be completed in accordance with the Content Guidelines for Mental Health Assessment for Participation in the Residential Component of the Institutional Mother-Child Program. If a mental health assessment is needed, the request will be made within two working days.
- The Parole Officer may request a Community Assessment within two working days of the case conference referred to in paragraph 22, pursuant to CD 715-3 – Community Assessments, to evaluate the support from the child’s current caregiver in the community. The purpose of the Community Assessment is to gather information on the support from this individual for the mother to participate in the residential component of the Mother-Child Program, in particular when the child is currently living with the individual in the community or will be living with the individual on a part-time basis. It is not an assessment of the community home’s appropriateness for care of the child, although any concerns identified will be reported in accordance with provincial legislation.
- The Institutional Head will institute a plan to support the mother’s contact with their child during the application process, which could include granting immediate video visitation for approved visitors, additional telephone communication, prioritization of visiting application and other measures as appropriate, subject to verification that there are no circumstances that would prohibit contact.
Residential Approval Process
- Upon receipt of all required information, the Parole Officer will complete the Assessment for Decision in accordance with Annex B within ten working days, and share the report and any other information used in the decision-making process with the mother. The mother will be provided an opportunity to provide a rebuttal.
- The Parole Officer will present the recommendation to the identified review board and subsequently to the Institutional Head for decision-making.
- The Institutional Head, upon receipt of all information, including the mother’s rebuttal (if applicable), will render a decision within five working days; the local child welfare authorities (or the health care professional with a specialization in child care) must support the mother’s application in order for the Institutional Head to consider approving it. If the decision of the Institutional Head is to deny participation, the circumstances under which the mother may re-apply must be indicated in the decision.
- In situations where the child is due, or delivered, before the application process can be completed under the established timeframes, those involved in the application and decision-making will make every effort to complete the process in order to ensure, if possible, no separation of mother and child.
- In instances where a mother classified as maximum security is being considered for a security reclassification to medium security, the mother’s application for the residential Mother-Child Program will be processed up to the point of approval. Once the mother’s security classification has been approved as medium, the Institutional Head will render a decision on the mother’s application for the residential Mother-Child Program within five working days.
- In instances where child welfare agencies will not open a file and/or complete an assessment until a child is born, the institutional recommendation and decision may include a caveat that the application is approved contingent on child welfare agency approval after the birth of the child.
- Information from outside sources to aid in the approval of an application (such as the assessment from the child welfare agency and the Community Assessment) will be gathered if the mother has applied for the Mother-Child Program, even if the mother is currently ineligible due to her security classification or placement, but could be eligible in the future.
- The Parole Officer will provide the mother a copy of the decision no more than five working days after it is rendered.
- If the mother’s application is approved, the Mother-Child Coordinator will meet with the mother to assist them to complete the following forms: Mother-Child Program Residential Agreement (CSC/SCC 1159), Mother-Child Program Health Care Checklist ─ Child (CSC/SCC 1159-03), and Mother-Child Program Contingency Plan (CSC/SCC 1159-04). A copy of each completed form will be placed on the Case Management file and provided to the Parole Officer.
- The Mother-Child Coordinator will activate the Institutional Mother-Child Program flag in the Offender Management System on the first day the mother begins the residential component of the program (full-time or part-time) and deactivate the flag on the day program participation ends.
Periodic Review Requirement
- For all residential program participants, the Mother-Child Coordinator will meet with the mother at least once every 30 days (if the child has been in the institution at least once during the 30-day period), and consult with other staff as appropriate, to discuss the mother’s participation in the program and to provide ongoing support. The Coordinator will document the meeting and consultations in a Casework Record and also validate that the Contingency Plan is up to date.
Transition Plan for Children Participating in the Residential Component of the Program
- The Parole Officer and Mother-Child Coordinator will collaborate to assist the mother with developing the Mother-Child Program Transition Plan (CSC/SCC 1159-05) which should be, when possible, implemented in a gradual manner beginning well before the child’s departure when the child’s primary caregiver is changing . This includes, but is not limited to, situations such as:
- the child is transitioning from the full-time to the part-time program
- the mother is not being released (e.g., the child no longer meets the age requirements for the full-time or part-time program), or
- the mother is being released, but the child will not be residing with the mother in the community.
Mothers Participating in the Residential Component and Leaving the Institution with their Child
- For mothers being released from the institution with continued care of their child in the community, the release plans, including the care of the child, will be documented as appropriate pursuant to CD 712-1 – Pre-Release Decision-Making, and the procedures outlined in CD 715-4 – Case Preparation and Supervision of Women Offenders with Children Residing at a Community-Based Residential Facility.
- Mothers who were released to the community as participants in the residential Mother-Child Program and who maintained custody of their child in the community are eligible for an expedited re-application process if they are returned to CSC custody. In this circumstance:
- within two working days, the Parole Officer will confirm that the mother wishes to participate in the residential Mother-Child Program and the Mother-Child Coordinator will contact the child welfare agency. This information will be documented in a Casework Record
- within five working days of the receipt of the required information, the Parole Officer will complete an Assessment for Decision
- if the child welfare agency and the review board do not identify any concerns regarding the safety of the child, and the mother and child continue to meet the eligibility criteria for the program, the re-application will be approved subject to the institution’s capacity to accommodate.
- In the case of re-application, the Visits Review Board will prioritize applications, temporarily waive the screening for visitation of the child, and grant immediate video visitation or additional telephone communication to ensure ongoing contact between the mother and their child.
- A child under the age of 12 will be permitted to participate in visits with their mother, even if their accompanying adult has not yet completed the security clearance/application process, and been approved, as long as the child is accompanied by an approved volunteer.
- Should the accompanying adult not yet be an approved visitor, they will be permitted to transport the child to the principal entrance, where an approved volunteer will act as the accompanying adult for the duration of the visit. If the accompanying adult is not a current approved visitor, but their previous security verification remains valid (i.e., under two years old), and there were no concerns with the accompanying adult while the mother was on conditional release or during prior visits, the Institutional Head may waive the security verification at their discretion. If there were concerns, the entire visitor review process will need to take place.
Suspension and/or Termination of Program Participation
- In cases where the mother is authorized for transfer to/transferred to the SIU , moved to the ESH or admitted to the SLE, participation in the program will be suspended and the Mother-Child Program Contingency Plan (CSC/SCC 1159-04) implemented.
- If any situation arises which may jeopardize the safety of the child, the Institutional Head or Correctional Manager in charge of the institution may immediately suspend participation in the program. In the case of suspension, the Mother-Child Program Contingency Plan (CSC/SCC 1159‑04) will be implemented.
- The local child welfare agency will be advised as soon as practicable when the Contingency Plan has been implemented.
- In the event of suspension of program participation, the Parole Officer will complete an Assessment for Decision within five working days to assess if the participation should be re-instated, converted from full-time to part-time, suspended for an additional period of time until certain conditions are met, or terminated. The Assessment for Decision, including the recommendation, will be shared with the mother.
- The designated review board will review all relevant information, including the Assessment for Decision and the rebuttal (if applicable), and make a recommendation to the Institutional Head within five working days of receipt of the information.
- Following receipt of all information, including the review board’s recommendation, and the mother’s rebuttal, where applicable, the Institutional Head will render a decision to:
- reinstate the mother’s participation in the residential component of the program with or without modifications, or
- terminate program participation, in which case the conditions to be satisfied in order to re-apply will be documented and outlined in the decision, or
- continue the suspension of the program until certain conditions are met to resume participation, in which case the child will continue to be accommodated outside the institution on a temporary basis as per the Mother-Child Program Contingency Plan (CSC/SCC 1159-04).
- The Parole Officer will provide the mother with a copy of the decision within five working days of the decision.
Re-Application for the Residential Component of the Program Following Termination
- A mother whose participation in the program has been terminated can re-apply for admission once the conditions established by the Institutional Head have been satisfied and if supported by the child welfare agency (or the health care professional with a specialization in children) at the time of new application.
- The full assessment process will be required for re-admission to the program after termination has occurred.
Residential Component – Child Identification
- The Mother-Child Coordinator will arrange with Admissions and Discharge for a photo to be taken in accordance with the following timeframes/frequency for each child participating in the residential component of the program:
- prior to or as soon as possible after program participation commencing
- every six months for children under two years of age
- annually for children two years of age or over.
- The child’s photo will be accessible to the duty Correctional Manager. The following information will be kept with the photo and updated as required: biological sex, height, weight, hair colour, eye colour and date of birth of the child, name and telephone number of the institution, as well as the alternate caregiver's name, relationship to the mother and contact information. In addition, the name(s) of approved inmate babysitters will be included in the reference information.
Residential Component Supervision – Security Patrols and Formal Counts
- Security patrols and formal counts of areas where a child is residing will occur in accordance with the applicable timeframes for security patrols of accommodation areas pursuant to CD 566-4 – Counts and Security Patrols.
- Staff will always be cognizant of the activities of children in the institution, and will specifically confirm their well-being during formal counts in a manner consistent with how visitors are counted during private family visits, namely ensuring a visual of the child without obstruction.
- The child’s presence during formal counts will be recorded in the same manner as established by the institution to record visitors in private family visiting units.
Management of Incidents and Emergencies
- Staff will take steps to intervene as quickly as possible, in accordance with the urgency of the situation, and recognizing that the safety of the child is paramount, when they perceive a situation that may present as a risk to the child.
- The Institutional Head or Correctional Manager in charge of the institution may authorize staff to care for children in emergency situations, until the inmate babysitter or alternate caregiver in the community is available. At no time will a staff member take a child home with them.
- In the event the mothers’ condition renders them incapable of making a decision with respect to their child, as determined by a health care professional, the alternate caregiver named in the Mother-Child Program Contingency Plan (CSC/SCC 1159-04) will be contacted to assume responsibility for the child. If staff are unable to communicate with the alternate caregiver, the child welfare authorities will be contacted.
- Recording and reporting of incidents will be completed pursuant to CD 568-1 – Recording and Reporting of Security Incidents.
Residential Component – Health Care for Child
- Only emergency health care will be provided to the child by institutional health care. The Mother-Child Coordinator will ensure that the mother submits the Mother-Child Program Health Care Checklist ─ Child (CSC/SCC 1159-03) and updates it annually.
- The mother is responsible for scheduling appointments and accompanying their child to the appointments. In the event the mother is unable to accompany their child, the community caregiver, other community supports and/or volunteers can accompany the child. The mother will be provided with the opportunity to discuss their child’s health with external health care professionals via telephone.
- ETAs for parental responsibilities pursuant to CD 710-3 – Temporary Absences will be used to allow for a mother participating in the Mother-Child Program to attend to the medical needs of her child, including in emergency situations. Escort procedures will be followed pursuant to CD 566-5 – Non-Security Escorts and CD 566‑6 – Security Escorts. In situations where there is a change to a previously approved structured release plan, a new Assessment for Decision will be completed.
- All staff and contractors (including non-health) will respond to medical emergencies, in accordance with Guidelines 800-4 – Response to Medical Emergencies, including, if required, providing emergency first aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation to the child according to their certification. In the event that institutional Health Services staff have to provide health services to the child, this will be documented in the mother’s health care file and these notations will be transferred to the child’s health care provider as soon as it is practical.
- Consent for all health care interventions for the child is required in accordance with the applicable provincial legislation.
Residential Component – Child Personal Effects and Monies
- The child’s personal effects will be considered separate from the mother’s and will not exceed the dollar value of $750 (not including furniture). Documentation related to the child’s personal effects will be kept on the mother’s Mother-Child Program file.
- The Institutional Head may authorize requests for disbursements directly from the mother’s savings account above the annual $750 limit for expenditures directly related to the care of the child, pursuant to CD 860 – Offender’s Money.
- Gifts received for the child must be items specifically for the child (e.g., clothing, toys) and documented as part of the child’s personal effects.
- Canteen purchases for the child will be included in the mother’s total canteen purchases and limits pursuant to CD 860 – Offender’s Money.
Residential Component – Searching of Child and Personal Property
- All searches of children involved in the Mother-Child Program will be in accordance with CD 566-8 – Searching of Staff and Visitors. However, only non-intrusive searches will be conducted on children participating in the residential component of the Mother-Child Program.
- To participate in the residential component of the Mother-Child Program, the mother must sign the Mother-Child Program Residential Agreement (CSC/SCC 1159), whereby the mother acknowledges that their child and their child’s room and contents are subject to search.
- All searches of the child’s room and personal property will be conducted in accordance with CD 566‑9 – Searching of Cells/Rooms, Vehicles and Other Areas.
- If, at any time, the mother refuses to permit a search, the mother and child will remain under direct observation and the Correctional Manager will be immediately notified for direction.
- All mothers, regardless of security classification, can participate in the non-residential component of the Mother-Child Program (including inmates in an SIU ). The ability to participate in available options depends on eligibility criteria established in relevant policies. Various non-residential means of establishing and/or maintaining the mother-child bond can be utilized to support participants in the non-residential component of the Mother-Child Program (e.g., use of escorted/ unescorted temporary absences for family contact/parental responsibilities, private family visits, video visitation, recording of stories, pumping and storing of breast milk).
Volunteers and Individuals Under Contract
- In addition to the regular screening process and orientation, registered volunteers and individuals under contract to assist with facilitating any component of the Mother-Child Program must provide their consent to be screened against the relevant provincial child welfare registry to verify if information exists in that registry to indicate that they may pose a risk to a child.
Original signed by:
Annex A - Cross-References and Definitions
CD 081 – Offender Complaints and Grievances
CD 087 – Official Languages
CD 228 – Information Management
ISD 335 – Fleet Management
CD 559 – Visits
CD 566-1 – Control of Entry to and Exit from Institutions
CD 566-3 – Inmate Movement
CD 566-4 – Counts and Security Patrols
CD 566-5 – Non-Security Escorts
CD 566-6 – Security Escorts
CD 566-8 – Searching of Staff and Visitors
CD 566-9 – Searching of Cells/Rooms, Vehicles and Other Areas
CD 566-12 – Personal Property of Offenders
CD 567 – Management of Incidents
CD 568-1 – Recording and Reporting of Security Incidents
CD 600 – Management of Emergencies in Operational Units
CD 701 – Information Sharing
CD 702 – Aboriginal Offenders
CD 710-1 – Progress Against the Correctional Plan
CD 710-3 – Temporary Absences
CD 710-6 – Review of Inmate Security Classification
CD 710-8 – Private Family Visits
CD 712-1 – Pre-Release Decision-Making
CD 715-3 – Community Assessments
CD 715-4 – Case Preparation and Supervision of Women Offenders with Children Residing at a Community-Based Residential Facility
CD 730 – Offender Program Assignments and Inmate Payments
CD 800 – Health Services
GL 800-4 – Response to Medical Emergencies
CD 843 – Interventions to Preserve Life and Prevent Serious Bodily Harm
CD 860 – Offender’s Money
CD 890 – Inmate Owned Canteens
Content Guidelines for Mental Health Assessment for Participation in the Residential Component of the Institutional Mother-Child Program
Guidelines for Sharing Personal Health Information
Accompanying adult: within the context of bringing minor children into a penitentiary to visit a mother, an accompanying adult can be anyone who has reached the age of majority of the province where the institution they wish to visit is located, has completed a visiting application and been granted permission to come into the penitentiary, and has obtained a signed authorization from the custodial non-inmate guardian/parent.
Age of majority: the age at which a person is considered to be an adult by the province or territory where the institution is located (see Annex C).
Alternate caregiver: an individual in the community identified by the mother who agrees to make decisions related to the child and/or care for the child in the event of emergency, suspension of the program and/or termination of the program.
Child: refers to a child participating in the residential or non-residential component of the Mother-Child Program. Child within this policy can also mean children.
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.
Child welfare registry: the database maintained by the provincial child welfare agency that contains information related to adults and children who have come in contact with the agency.
Engagement and Intervention Model: a risk-based, person-centred, graphic representation used to assist staff with activating engagement and intervention strategies. (See Annex B of CD 567 – Management of Incidents.)
Enhanced Support House: a voluntary short-term supportive mainstream environment for inmates classified as minimum or medium security who require additional staff support and/or greater access to interventions. As the Enhanced Support House is considered a mainstream accommodation option, there is no change in the conditions of confinement.
Health care: medical care, dental care and mental health care provided by registered health care professionals or by persons acting under the supervision of registered health care professionals.
Inmate babysitter: an inmate who has applied, with the agreement of the mother, and been approved by the Institutional Head to babysit a child participating in the residential component of the Mother-Child Program.
Minor child: any individual under the age of majority (Annex C).
Mother: an offender who is the biological or adoptive mother, legal guardian or step-mother.
Mother-Child Coordinator: a staff member (normally a Social Program Officer) assigned responsibilities related to both residential and non-residential components of the Mother-Child Program, as outlined in this Commissioner’s Directive.
Mother-Child Program: a continuum of services and supports which aims to foster positive relationships between mothers incarcerated in women offender institutions and units and their child and to provide a supportive environment that promotes stability and continuity for the mother-child relationship.
Mother-Child Program Contingency Plan: information given by the mother and community member using the Mother-Child Program Contingency Plan (CSC/SCC 1159-04) to provide direction in case of an emergency where the child has to be removed from the institution.
Non-intrusive search: (a) a search of a non-intrusive nature of the clothed body by technical means, in the prescribed manner, and (b) a search of (i) personal possessions, including clothing, that the person may be carrying, and (ii) any coat or jacket that the person has been requested to remove, in accordance with any applicable regulations made under paragraph 96(l) of the CCRA.
Non-residential component of the Mother-Child Program: component of the program that provides different means to maintain the mother-child bond during incarceration without the child residing at the institution.
Registered health care professional: an individual registered or licensed for practice of health or mental health care in Canada and preferably in the province or territory of practice (certain positions, however, require registration in the province or territory of practice).
Residential component of the Mother-Child Program: component of the program that allows minor children to live with their mother during the mother’s incarceration on either a full-time or part-time basis (age restrictions apply). While unaccompanied visits with minor children are not permitted per CD 710-8 – Private Family Visits,such visits are permissible under the Mother-Child Program if the assessment process has been completed.
Review board: an established institutional board or an ad hoc specialized board identified by the Institutional Head to review various components of the implementation of the Mother-Child Program. This may be the Correctional Intervention Board, Offender Management Review Board, Visitor Review Board or any other review board within the institution or created at the site for this specific purpose. Recommendations and decisions related to the various components of the Mother-Child Program may be assigned to one or more review boards.
Structured Intervention Unit: provides an alternative institutional living environment in circumstances where an inmate cannot be maintained in a mainstream inmate population for institutional security or safety reasons pursuant to subsection 34(1) of the CCRA.
Structured Living Environment: a living unit within the perimeter of a women offender institution that provides intermediate mental health care for minimum and medium security inmates with mental health concerns.
Video visitation: Inmates have access to visits by live video on an institutional computer. Video visitation is available to all inmates regardless of their participation in the Mother-Child Program.
Annex B - Assessment for Decision for The Residential Component of The Mother-Child Program – Report Outline
Introductory Statement Case Status
Provide a brief statement of the purpose of the report.
Eligibility of the Mother and Information Related to Participation
- Verification that all forms have been completed and signed by the mother
- Verification of alternate caregiver identification outside the institution
- Type of residential component applied for (part-time or full-time)
- Location in the institution for participation in the program
- Criminal history and index offence as they relate to eligibility
- Verification that a child welfare check has been conducted and that child welfare agency is supportive
- Mother's security classification level
Eligibility of the Child
- Mother's relationship to the child
- Age of the child
- Verification of custody status
- Analyze the mother’s risk factors specific to the offence cycle and any risk to children (using information on file such as the criminal history, incompatibles and affiliations)
- Summary of any applicable actuarial assessments
- Summary of the child welfare authorities’ assessment or the assessment provided by a community health care professional and the results of the child welfare registry review
- Summary of the mother’s mental health assessment completed by a CSC mental health professional or contract Psychologist
- Summary of the information contained in the Community Assessment (if applicable)
- When applicable, wishes of the child
- Value to the mother of maintaining ties with the child and how it is suitable, stable and beneficial for both parties to participate in components of the Mother-Child Program
- Consultation with Security Intelligence Officer, where applicable (e.g., incompatibles and affiliations) (if there are no concerns, a statement should be made to that effect)
- Mother’s progress against the objectives of their Correctional Plan
- Outstanding factors requiring intervention
- Review of past parental responsibilities (with this child or others), including contact with the child while incarcerated and/or past involvement in the residential component of the Mother-Child Program, if applicable
Provide an overall analysis of the above information as it relates to participation in the Mother-Child Program and the recommendation made. In addition, the following should be included, if applicable:
- ensure that the unique circumstances of the Indigenous offender, as described in the definition of the Indigenous social history, as well as culturally appropriate/restorative options are given due consideration in the decision-making process including comments from the Elder/Spiritual Advisor, when applicable
- other recent professional opinions regarding release such as physical or mental health care, psychological information, police comments and/or previous CSC decisions (if applicable)
- previous CSC and/or Parole Board of Canada decisions (nature and purpose, all relevant comments, specific reference to relevant issues noted in the decision, including demonstrating how concerns/issues previously raised have/have not been addressed).
Annexe C - Age of Majority
|Province||Age of majority||Reference|
|Nova Scotia||19||Age of Majority Act, R.S.N.S., c. 4, s. 2(1)|
|New Brunswick||19||Age of Majority Act, R.S.N.B. 2011, c. 103, s. 1(1)|
|Prince Edward Island||18||Age of Majority Act, R.S.P.E.I., 1988, c. A-8, s. 1|
|Newfoundland and Labrador||19||Age of Majority Act, S.N.L. 1995, c. A-4.2, s. 2|
|Quebec||18||Code civil, art. 153|
|Ontario||18||Age of Majority and Accountability Act, R.S.O., 1990, c. A7, s. 1|
|Nunavut||19||Age of Majority Act, R.S.N.W.T. (Nu) 1988, c. A-2|
|Manitoba||18||Age of Majority Act, R.S.M., c. A7, s. 1|
|Saskatchewan||18||Age of Majority Act, R.S.S. 1978, c. A-6, s. 2(1)|
|Northwest Territories||19||Age of Majority Act, R.S.N.W.T. 1988, c. A-2|
|Alberta||18||Age of Majority Act, R.S.A. 2000, c. A-6, s. 1|
|Yukon||19||Age of Majority Act, R.S.Y. 2002, c. 2, s. 1 (1)|
|British Columbia||19||Age of Majority Act, R.S.B.C. 1996, c. 7, s. 1|
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