HSS introduces a case management tool for child protection workers

YELLOWKNIFE (February 24 2016) – Child Protection Workers from the Yellowknife Health and Social Services Authority and the Tlicho Community Services Agency received training on the first component of a new evidence based case management tool earlier this month.

The Structured Decision Making® (SDM) system contains a series of assessment tools used at key points in child protection services to support staff in making consistent, accurate and equitable decisions. These tools are being adapted for use in the NWT. They will allow social workers to better understand the needs of the children and families they work with, and will foster a more positive approach to child protection services delivered under the Child and Family Services Act.

Training on the SDM ® toolkit will be made available to all Child Protection Workers in the Northwest Territories. The full suite of assessment tools will be in use by all Child Protection Workers by 2018.

The introduction of the SDM® system is an integral part of the transformational changes that are being introduced in the Child and Family Services. These changes are aimed at making Child and Family Services more family-friendly and more collaborative and less adversarial and less reliant on the court system.


“This is an important milestone in our commitment to building stronger families. The SDM model gives our frontline workers the tools they need to work together with families to protect the best interests of children, leading to best care and a better future.”

- Glen Abernethy – Minister of Health and Social Services

Quick Facts:

  • The process to change child protection practice in the NWT through the use of Structured Decision Making began in January 2015.
  • There are six assessment and decision support tools in the SDM system:
    • Screening and Response Priority Assessment;
    • Safety Assessment;
    • Risk of Future Harm Assessment;
    • Family Strengths and Needs Assessment;
    • Family Reunification Assessment; and
    • Risk Re-assessment.
  • The assessment tool will help to make child protection work more family-friendly, and will emphasize a focus on family strengths and needs rather than parental failures and inadequacies.
  • 509 children and youth in the NWT were receiving services on January 1, 2016.

Related Links:

Media Inquiries for Minister:

Andrew Livingstone
Senior Cabinet Communications Advisor
Office of the Premier and Cabinet
Government of the Northwest Territories
(867) 767-9000 ext. 11091

Media Inquiries for Department:

Damien Healy
Manager, Communications
Department of Health and Social Services
Tel:           (867) 767-9052 (Ext. 49034)
Email:   damien_healy@gov.nt.ca