In November 2003, the Child and Family Services Authorities Act was proclaimed into law. This law created four new organizational entities known as child and family services authorities, which cover various regions and territories in Manitoba. Each authority governs different child and family services agencies. The four authorities in Manitoba are:

First Nations of Northern Manitoba Child and Family Services Authority
Southern First Nations Network of Care
Metis Child and Family Services Authority
General Child and Family Services Authority

CFS’ first concern, based on Manitoba law, is to ensure that children are safe. CFS, whenever possible, tries very hard to help parents find ways to keep their children safe and supported at home.

There are a number of ways that CFS can support families:

• Family support workers who provide families with a break and/or who can teach parents about parenting strategies and budgeting
• Access to emergency support such as food, housing, transportation
• Find counselling and parent education programs
• Provide services for parents under 18 years of age
• Locate support programs and services in the community
• Advocate for housing or other basic needs

See this link for more information.

It is possible at some point you and your social worker will disagree about something.
First, when you have a complaint or disagree about a decision made about you – talk to your worker. Sometimes having a conversation can help solve a problem. If there is still a disagreement, and you think decisions being made are not the best for you, visit this link for more help.

ADOPTION

To apply for adoption you may contact your local child and family services agency or a private adoption agency. To adopt a permanent ward, you must go through a child and family services agency. A permanent ward is a child who has become eligible for adoption through child and family services either because birth parents have consented to an adoption plan, or because the court has determined that the parents are unable to care for the child. Where possible, workers involve birth parents and the child, if they are old enough, in the adoption planning.

The next step will be to attend an adoption education and orientation session where you will be provided with information to help you with your adoption decision.

Once a child has been placed with you for adoption, there is a six-to-12 month adjustment period during which you will be provided support by an adoption worker, before the adoption is legalized in court.

If you are interested in adoption, please contact your local child and family services agency and a worker will be pleased to go over the process in detail with you.

It varies depending on the age of the children, whether the child is part of a sibling group, or other factors.

Please Note: If a child is not placed within a year of your homestudy being approved, an annual homestudy is required, which includes updated checks and medical references.

See our adoption information page or the Manitoba government’s adoption page for more information.

Financial assistance may be available for families who adopt a child who is a permanent ward and who has special needs that require special services, or for families who are adopting more than one child from the same family.

There are three types of financial assistance. Please see our adoptive rights and support section for more information.

DO ADOPTIVE PARENTS HAVE THE RIGHT TO FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE?

Financial assistance may be available for families who adopt a child with special needs or a sibling group. There are three types of financial assistance that families may be eligible for:

  • One-time start-up assistance towards extraordinary, non-recurring costs necessary to permit the placement.
  • Special services assistance towards equipment or therapy recommended by a duly qualified practitioner.
  • Ongoing assistance as a contribution to costs relating to the care of the child or children. Eligibility is based on family income.

WHAT ARE APPLICANTS’ RIGHTS IF THEY GO THROUGH THE ADOPTION PROCESS BUT ARE NOT APPROVED?

If applicants are not approved, they have a right to appeal the decision to the CEO of the General Authority.

FOSTER PARENTS AND FOSTER CHILDREN

If you are interested in becoming a foster parent, you can begin with a phone call to your local General Authority agency. A foster care worker will explain the application process to you and discuss whether this would be the right move for you.

The General Authority provides training opportunities for social workers, foster parents and others on a regular basis. Please check out our latest staff and foster parent training calendar for more information.

Youth and children have many rights under the law. If you are currently in foster care, it is important to know your rights and responsibilities.

Children and youth have many rights under the law, including the right to be safe, to be treated with affection, to be educated, to have medical care and to be protected against cruelty and abuse.
When in the care of a CFS agency, children and youth have other important rights including:

  • Knowing who your social worker is and how to contact them
  • Meeting or speaking with your social worker on a regular basis
  • Being able to participate in decisions being made about you

To learn more about your rights while in the care of a CFS agency, and the role of the Office of the Children’s Advocate in Manitoba, check out the OCA’s Know Your Rights page and the General Authority’s youth and children’s rights and responsibilities page.

CHILDREN & YOUTH

It is possible at some point you and your worker may disagree about something.
First, when you have a complaint or disagree about a decision made about you — talk to your worker. Sometimes having a conversation can help solve a problem. If there is still a disagreement, and you think decisions being made are not the best for you, here are some things you can do:

• Contact your social worker’s supervisor. Every social worker has one, and they are available to talk with you as well. You might also want to write down the conversations you’ve had with both your worker and the supervisor about the complaint.

• If you don’t get an answer from the supervisor, or you don’t think your complaint has been solved properly, you can also contact the program manager of the agency. If you are contacting the program manager, you need to explain what the problem is, and what has been discussed with both your worker and supervisor.

• If the problem is still unresolved after speaking with the program manager, you can then contact the director of the agency to review the matter. Also, complaints regarding agency staff can also be brought to the attention of the General Authority. The person who deals with agency complaints is the Community Inquiry Specialist. Phone the General Authority at 204-984-9360 for more assistance.