Progress Update on the Child and Family Services System’s Quality Improvement Plan

News Releases

Yellowknife — July 15, 2020

The number one priority for Child and Family Services continues to be the safety and wellbeing of children and youth. Steady progress in transforming the Child and Family Services System to better meet the needs of children and youth was made since the December update. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused delays in the ongoing completion of some quality reviews.  Measuring compliance on key requirements for all quality reviews is expected to be completed by October 2020.

A balance between the safety and well-being of children and youth and respecting the public health orders put in place by the Chief Public Health Officer needed to be made.  Child and Family Services had to quickly adjust its services by determining and addressing risks to children, youth, families, caregivers, and frontline staff. 

To date, 50% of action items in the plan have been completed.

Progress on key actions includes:

  • Received an additional investment of $3.7 million to add 20 new positions to support Child and Family Services, increased funding for training initiatives, and funding to support the implementation of youth in care network(s) for the NWT.
  • Offered training to a number of foster caregivers and foster care staff from across the NWT on how to support children and youth with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Disorder.
  • Offered training to Child and Family Services staff so they can refer families to Strongest Families Institute.
  • Developed virtual training for new staff that can be used as a refresher for current staff, including Case Aides and Family Preservation Workers.
  • Completed the 2018-2019 NWT System Wide Audits for all Authorities. Regional Reports were distributed in June 2020.
  • Completed updates to the Serious Occurrence standard, tool and form.

The Quality Improvement Plan Progress Tracker reflects the latest updates. Visit:


“We have experienced some delays in implementing some of the action items identified in the Quality Improvement Plan as we had to reallocate our resources to address COVID-19.  We have made progress in other areas, and with an additional $3.7 million into the Child and Family Services System, we will see improved outcomes for children and families.”

- Diane Thom, Minister of Health and Social Services


Quick Facts

  • The Quality Improvement Plan acts on issues identified through internal audits, the 2018 Auditor General Report, Standing Committee on Government Operations and feedback from staff, Indigenous Governments, Foster Family Coalition of the NWT, and other stakeholders.
  • The Quality Improvement Plan is a living document. The Department continuously assesses the system’s capacity to produce key deliverables, which allows for the ability to be flexible and to modify timelines.
  • The Plan identifies four underlying strategic directions to improve the system and address priorities:
    • Culture of Quality: Embedding quality practice into our culture
    • Human Resource Planning: Making sure the right people are in the right places
    • Building Staff Capacity: Investing in our staff
    • Engagement: Drawing on the knowledge and experience of others
  • Since October 2018, the vacancy rate in the Child and Family Services System has decreased from 25% to 6.3%.
  • To date, 35 action items are completed, 28 are on track, 4 are delayed and 3 are on hold.

Related Links


Media Contact

Damien Healy
Manager of Communications
Department of Health and Social Services
Government of the Northwest Territories
(867) 445-8230