Taking action on the issues that were identified through internal audits such as the 2018 Auditor-General Report, Minister of Health and Social Services, Glen Abernethy released the Child and Family Services System’s Quality Improvement Plan.

The plan provides direction on how the DHSS will improve the Child and Family Services System and allow for course corrections to reflect continued input from Indigenous Governments and Standing Committees,  the NWT Foster Family Coalition, staff, and other key stakeholders.

Abernathy says the GNWT has taken the step of developing an online action tracker that will allow residents to see up-to-date progress on each of the action items.

“To ensure that we are on the right track, we will continue to post quarterly updates to the plan so that everyone can see what action items are completed, and any new action items added.”

To meet the goals of the plan, the GNWT is investing $3.3 million to add positions to support child and family services.

The plan focuses efforts on ten priority areas for making changes in the system which will make it possible to respond to, learn from, adjust and improve the ways that action items are addressed so that quality improvements are embedded within the system and effecting positive outcomes for children, youth and families.

Abernethy states that the number one priority is to ensure the safety and well-being of children and youth receiving services and care from Child and Family Services.

“This includes their connectedness to family, community and culture. We need to better resource, manage, structure, and sustain changes through the Building Stronger Families Action Plan.”

Based on the principle that quality improvement is a process, not an event, the plan is intended to be a living document according to a release from the DHSS.

The plan identifies four strategic directions to improve the system:

  • Embedding quality practice into our culture,
  • Making sure the right people are in the right places,
  • Investing in our staff,
  • Drawing on the knowledge and experience of others.

70 action items were reprioritized and refined for the plan. Work has already been completed on 19 of them and the remaining 51 items are on track.