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Annual Report of the

Director of Child and Family Services

ᐋᓐᓂᐊᖃᕐᓇᖏᑦᑐᓕᕆᔨᒃᑯᑦ ᐃᓄᓕᕆᔨᒃᑯᓪᓗ
Munarhiliqiyikkut Inuuhiriknirmullu
Department of Health and Social Services
Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux
An Overview of Social Services Programs


Director’s Message . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3

An overview of social services programs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4

Child and family services . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4

Adoption services . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5

Guardianship services . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7

Adult support services . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8

Family violence services . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9

Facility based residential care . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10

Supported and transitional living . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11

Community corrections . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12

Recommendations to improving social services . . . . . . . . . . 13

Director’s Message

The Child and Family Services Act requires the Director Social Services Workers provide the service delivery for
of Child and Family Services to report to the Minister the Department. They are required to carry out many
of Health and Social Services (HSS) each year on the different functions across the range of social services
administration of the Act. This Annual Report is for the programs for which the department is responsible.
2008/2009 fiscal year. It is important that our Social Services Workers be
generalists, as the territory is large, its population small
This report contains a brief description of the social and Social Services staff are few in number.
services programs provided by the Department of Health
and Social Services as well as information on the clients An issue that has emerged and that continues to be a
we serve. In closing, the report outlines some of the source of concern is the number of children and youth
challenges HSS faces in delivering the social services requiring specialized behavioural treatment and the
required to support children and families in Nunavut. need to place them outside Nunavut, as there are no
specialized care facilities in the territory.
The Department of Health and Social Services is
committed to providing client-centered programs As always, we express our appreciation to the people
and services to children and families across Nunavut. outside the department who we work closely with
Some of these programs are required under Nunavut and on whom we rely heavily for assistance and
legislation, such as the Child and Family Services Act, expertise. Without the help of professionals and other
the Adoption Act and the Guardian and Trusteeship Nunavummiut who share our vision of wellness it would
Act. Others, such as adult residential care and family be impossible to deliver effective and efficient programs
violence response programs, have been developed by and services for children, youth and families. We thank
the Department of Health and Social Services to address them for their dedication to protecting children and
particular needs of Nunavut residents. strengthening families.

Norm Murray
Director of Child and Family Services

2008-09 Annual Report of the Director of Child and Family Services
An Overview of Social Services Programs

Child and Family Services

On any given day during the 2008-2009 period, there
Children in Nunavut have a right to expect protection
were 312 children receiving services across Nunavut.
from physical harm, neglect and other forms of abuse, This is an 18% increase over the previous year.
and to have their need for shelter, food and support met.
Of the 312 children:
• approximately 30% were in Baffin Region, 25%
Child and Family Services is established under the Child
in Iqaluit, 25% in Kitikmeot Region, and 20% in
and Family Services Act. Authority and responsibility Kivalliq Region
for Child and Family Services flow from the Minister of • 119 were on a Voluntary Support Agreement – an
Health and Social Services to the Director of Child and agreement between the Government of Nunavut
Family Services, who is appointed by the Minister. The and the parents of children who are not in need of
Director of Child and Family Services appoints Child protection, but who require assistance to provide
appropriate care for their children
Protection Workers and ensures that they have received
• 87 were on a Plan of Care – a plan for service to a
the training required to carry out their duties. child who is in need of protection that is agreed on
by the client and the social services worker
Child and Family Services include: • 61 were Permanent Wards – children who the
• protection services for children Court has ordered be placed in the custody of the
• investigations of abuse and neglect Director of Child and Family
• evaluation of parent and family supports • 13 were Temporary Wards – children who the
Court has ordered be placed in the custody of
• voluntary agreements for assistance
the Director of Child and Family Services for
• residential care for challenged children a specified period of time – no more than 2
• extended family and pre-approved foster homes, consecutive years
group homes and specialized care facilities both • 32 were on a Support Services Agreement – a
within Nunavut and in southern jurisdictions. voluntary agreement between the Government of
Nunavut and a youth 16 to 18 years old who cannot
Child and Family Services staff have the best interest of reside at home for a reason that would place the
every child as their focus and aims to ensure the safety youth in need of protection under the Child and
Family Services Act
and well-being of children and youth in Nunavut.
• 63 children or youth are between legal status or
court pending.

2008-09 Annual Report of the Director of Child and Family Services
Adoption Services
Adoption provides permanent families to children whose Nunavut has a surprisingly high number of adoptions
each year considering the size of our population. This
birth families cannot care for them for any one of a
may be due to the high birthrate in Nunavut and the
number of reasons. Adoption is a lifelong experience number of young parents.
that affects adopted children and adults, and birth and
As shown in 2006 Statistics Canada data, Nunavut’s
adoptive families. It is both a legal and a social process. average birthrate – 25.2 births for every 1,000 people –
The purpose is to provide every child legally available is much higher than the Canadian average birthrate –
for adoption with the stability and security of new and 10.5 births for every 1,000 people.
permanent family ties. During 2008- 2009 there were:
• 176 Aboriginal Custom Adoptions
The Department of Health and Social Services is • 16 Private/Step Parent Adoptions
committed to supporting adoptions in Nunavut that • 2 Departmental Adoptions
reflect Inuit traditions. The primary concern is the child’s • 0 International Adoptions
best interest. In Nunavut, adoptions are governed by the: Aboriginal Custom Adoption, the preferred adoption
• Aboriginal Custom Adoption Recognition Act method of Nunavummiut, accounted for 90% of all
• Adoption Act adoptions in 2008-2009.
• Inter-Country Adoption Act (Hague Convention) Of 2,290 adoptions in Nunavut since 1999, 2,068 (90%)
have been Custom Adoptions that follow
The Director of Adoptions is appointed by the Minister Inuit tradition.
of Health and Social Services. Social Services Workers
are appointed as adoption workers by the Director of
Adoptions. The Director is responsible for developing
and managing the adoption program, and for ensuring
that all legal requirements are met. The Director
deals with various federal, provincial and territorial
government divisions.

2008-09 Annual Report of the Director of Child and Family Services
An Overview of Social Services Programs

There are four different types of adoption. Departmental Adoption

This is the adoption of children who are in the
Aboriginal Custom Adoption permanent care of the Director of Child and Family
This is the historical Aboriginal adoption practice. Services.
Custom Adoption requires the involvement of a Custom A Departmental Adoption can happen only after the child
Adoption Commissioner if the adoption is to be has been made a permanent ward of the Director of
registered. The Minister of Health and Social Services Child and Family Services and the rights of the parents
appoints the commissioners, upon recommendation of have been removed by order of the court.
their Hamlet Council.
International Adoption
Currently, there are 39 Custom Adoption Commissioners This is the adoption of a child from another country and
spread across 25 Nunavut communities. They are paid a is carried out in accordance with the Hague Convention.
fee of $200 per completed adoption. International adoptions are facilitated by agreements
In Custom Adoptions, the role of the Director of between Canadian jurisdictions and other countries.
Adoptions is only to provide training and payment of the
Custom Adoption Commissioners. The Director does not
decide what the nature of customary practice should
be. This responsibility rests with each Custom Adoption
Commissioner. HSS provides training for Custom
Adoption Commissioners.

Private/Step-Parent Adoption
Private/Step Parent Adoption occurs after an adoption
plan is created and is made through the Court in
accordance with the Adoption Act, between a child’s
birth family and adopting parents.

Private/Step-Parent Adoptions involve the adoption of

children by any resident of Nunavut or Canada.

2008-09 Annual Report of the Director of Child and Family Services
Guardianship Services

Nunavut’s Guardianship and Trusteeship Act allows

the Court to appoint a person to have limited decision
making authority over a dependent adult after a capacity
assessment is completed. The terms of the Court Order
vary depending on the needs and abilities of the person
who has been assessed.

The person named as the Guardian can be either the

Public Guardian for Nunavut, or a close friend or family
member of the dependent adult. The Public Guardian is
appointed by and acts under the authority of the Minister
of Health and Social Services.

The Guardian can direct where the person who needs

assistance will live and with whom he or she may
associate. The Guardian may also make other decisions
for the dependent person as outlined in the Court Order.

Guardianship clients most often reside in a residential

care facility where their needs can best be met.

As of March 31, 2008:

• 55 adults were receiving services under
Guardianship Orders, a significant increase over
the previous year
• 24 additional Guardianship applications
were pending

2008-09 Annual Report of the Director of Child and Family Services
An Overview of Social Services Programs

Adult Support Services

Adult Support Services is a program that responds to
the needs of people who are severely physically disabled
and people who have developmental disabilities. Clients/
patients with psychiatric disorders who are deemed unfit
to stand trial also fall under this program.

The program serves disabled adults and/or families

requiring assistance to care for an infirm family
member. It provides supports for independent living as
well as various forms of residential care. Residential
care in Nunavut includes adult group homes, long-term
care facilities and elders’ facilities. For those requiring
more extensive care, referrals to hospital wards or
southern caregivers is common.

Adult Support Services assistance ensures that people

who are disabled receive appropriate care, including
required medical care.

As of March 31, 2009:

• 126 Nunavummiut were receiving Adult Support
Services –30 from Baffin Region, 24 from Iqaluit,
38 from Kivalliq and 34 from Kitikmeot
• 87 of the adults were placed outside of Nunavut
because their level of need exceeded Nunavut’s
ability to serve them – 40 in Alberta, 17 in the
Northwest Territories, 16 in Ontario, 5 in Manitoba,
5 in Quebec and 2 in each of Saskatchewan and
Nova Scotia

2008-09 Annual Report of the Director of Child and Family Services
Family Violence Services
The Department of Health and Social Services
recognizes that family violence is a major concern in

Family Violence Services have been developed to protect

and support victims of family violence, to lessen the
number of repeat occurrences of family violence and
to reduce the overall incidence of family violence in

Under the Family Violence Relocation Program, Social

Services Workers assist women and children leaving
family violence by assessing each family’s situation and
helping them to relocate to a place of safety, such as a
Family Violence Centre or Safe Home.

Family Violence Shelters and Safe Homes are an

important resource for abused women and their children
and are an integral part of the Department’s services to
Nunavut families.

Currently, HSS funded Family Violence Shelters are

located in:
• Baffin Region – Iqaluit (21 bed shelter)
• Kivalliq Region – Rankin Inlet (8 bed shelter)
• Kitikmeot Region – Taloyoak (6 bed shelter),
Cambridge Bay (4 bed shelter), Kugluktuk
(4 bed shelter)
Safe Homes are located in:
• Igloolik (3)
• Pangnirtung (2)
• Pond Inlet (2)
• Arviat (2)
• Cape Dorset (1)
Costs are paid for family violence victims placed in
the Yellowknife women’s shelter when required.

2008-09 Annual Report of the Director of Child and Family Services
An Overview of Social Services Programs

Facility Based Residential Care

Of 375 children receiving services in Nunavut under
The Facility Based Residential Care program is designed
the Child and Family Services Act as of March 31,
to provide the necessary specialized care for a client/ 2008:
patient as close to home as possible. The program • 45 children or youth were in out-of-territory
serves Nunavummiut who require care that is not placements due to medical needs or behavioural
available in their home. problems
• 330 children and youth are placed within Nunavut
Facility Based Residential Care is provided in foster Of those placed in Nunavut:
homes, extended family foster homes, disabled group • 34 are in the parental home
homes for children and adults, elders’ homes and • 248 are in foster home
residential facilities for medically fragile children and • 9 are in alternate medical care group home
• 4 are in specialized foster home
medically dependent adults.
• 4 are in medical institution
• 16 are in group home
Currently, there are 203 approved foster homes in
• 15 are in community supports
Nunavut. Daily rates paid to foster parents in Nunavut
Of 45 children placed outside Nunavut:
are the highest in Canada. Foster Parent Associations
• 2 are in foster care in Quebec
are in various stages of development in Cambridge Bay, • 1 is in medical care Northwest Territories
Iqaluit, Rankin Inlet and Baker Lake. • 29 are in treatment group homes in various
There are three residential care facilities specifically • 8 are in alternative care medical homes in various
designed for children in Rankin Inlet, Iqaluit and locations
Cambridge Bay. There are group homes for adults in • 5 are in specialized foster care in Nova Scotia
Rankin Inlet and in Iqaluit, and Elders’ Homes in Arviat, Currently, 87 adults are placed in out of territory
Iqaluit, and Baker Lake and one in Chesterfield Inlet residential care:
serves both children and adults. • 40 are in Alberta
• 17 are in Northwest Territories
If the care required is not available in a Nunavut facility, • 16 are in Ontario
• 5 are in Manitoba
referrals to other jurisdictions will be made. These
• 5 are in Quebec
would include residential care for a child who requires • 2 are in Saskatchewan
tube feedings, intensive physiotherapy, or who is at risk • 2 are in Nova Scotia
of hurting themselves. These high needs children have
to be cared for in out-of-territory residential facilities
that can provide services to match their needs. Such
facilities include behavioural treatment group homes,
alternative medical care homes and special needs foster

In all cases, the client’s needs are carefully assessed

to ensure that out-of-territory placement is necessary
and that the child or adult will be placed in a residential
facility with the skills, training and specialized services
required. Every effort is made to find a facility that is as
close to the client’s home as possible.

2008-09 Annual Report of the Director of Child and Family Services
Supported and Transitional Living
Assistance through supported and transitional living
services can provide an opportunity for vulnerable youth
and adults to study, to work and to make a meaningful
contribution to society, while being protected.

Currently the Child and Family Services Act allows for

a voluntary agreement to be entered into between the
youth who cannot live at home and the Department of
Health and Social Services. The agreement makes it
possible for HSS to supply services and support until
the age of majority (19 years) for the youth. Financial
support provided for housing, food, clothing, school
supplies etc. is based on an assessment of the
youth’s need.

A 2006 Nunavut Court of Justice decision concluded

that Section 6 of the Act discriminates against youth
between the ages of 16 and 18 who require child
welfare services.

The Government of Nunavut will be making the

necessary changes to the Child and Family Services
Act to ensure that youth between 16 and 18 have the
services they require to thrive.

2008-09 Annual Report of the Director of Child and Family Services
An Overview of Social Services Programs

Community Corrections
Social Services Workers serve as Probation
Community Corrections falls under the authority of
Officers in:
the Department of Justice, which is responsible for • Arctic Bay
administration of the Young Offenders Act, the Youth • Chesterfield Inlet
Criminal Justice Act, and the Adult Corrections Act. • Clyde River
• Coral Harbour
Due to lack of funded Community Corrections positions • Grise Fiord
in the Department of Justice, social service workers • Hall Beach
provide corrections services in 14 communities • Kimmirut
• Kugaaruk
on behalf of the Department of Justice. This is in
• Qikiqtarjuaq
accordance with a long-standing Memorandum of • Resolute Bay
Understanding between the Department of Justice and • Repulse Bay
the Department of Health and Social Services. • Sanikiluaq
• Taloyoak
Social Services Workers carry out the community • Whale Cove
corrections role in addition to their regular Department
of Health and Social Services responsibilities.

2008-09 Annual Report of the Director of Child and Family Services
Recommendations for Improving Social Services

It is recommended that the Department of Health

and Social Services:
1. Review, in consultation with community members,
the current state of residential care and develop
a residential care strategy that provides guidance
and direction on how residential care can best
be delivered to ensure safety, quality and cost
effectiveness, while focusing on Inuit societal values.

2. Update the Child and Family Services Act to reflect

changes directed by the court to ensure that youth
up to 19 years old have access to the services they
require to thrive.

3. Review of the family violence shelter program to

ensure that departmentally funded shelter services
are accountable, of consistent high–quality, cost–
effective, culturally appropriate and responsive to the
needs of clients.

4. Develop culturally appropriate options for delivering

behavioural modification treatment programs in

5. Implement new recruitment and retention measures

for social services staff in consultation with the
Department of Human Resources.

6. Purchase, install and train staff to use an electronic

case management data and tracking systems for
Social Services.

2008-09 Annual Report of the Director of Child and Family Services
ᐋᓐᓂᐊᖃᕐᓇᖏᑦᑐᓕᕆᔨᒃᑯᑦ ᐃᓄᓕᕆᔨᒃᑯᓪᓗ
Munarhiliqiyikkut Inuuhiriknirmullu
Department of Health and Social Services
Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux

Department of Health and Social Services

Government of Nunavut
P.O. Box 1000, Station 1000
Iqaluit, Nunavut X0A 0H0
(867) 975-5700