FREDERICTON (GNB) – Professional care homes will be established in the province to provide full-time care to children with complex needs who are under the care of the Department of Social Development.

Following a report by George Savoury titled Review of the Effectiveness of New Brunswick’s Child Protection System, a report by the Child and Youth Advocate titled Behind Closed Doors, and the 2019 auditor general report on group homes and specialized placements, the departments of Health and Social Development have identified gaps in the continuum of care, especially for children with complex needs. The development of professional care homes will aim to fill this gap.

“The Department of Social Development strives to provide family-based care for children and youth who, due to significant trauma they have encountered, present with complex behavioural, emotional and developmental needs,” said Social Development Minister Bruce Fitch. “We believe the solution resides in the development of full-time stay-at-home care providers to address the severe needs of these children.”

In the coming weeks, the Department of Social Development, with support from the Department of Health, will launch a recruitment process to establish professional care homes in all the regions of the province. Interested individuals will be thoroughly evaluated as to their interest, qualifications, skills and their parenting ability to meet the needs of children with complex needs. They will be required to have experience working with children and youth with behavioural, mental health or complex special needs. They will need to demonstrate knowledge, education and skills in supporting children and youth with a range of needs.

“Professional care homes will play a key role in addressing mental health issues for children in care,” said Health Minister Dorothy Shephard. “The province is privileged to count on many foster families who generously open their homes to children, but we need a new clinically supported model for placement in some cases to ensure they are receiving the level of support they require.”

The direct clinical support to both the child and the parents is a key element in the development of the professional care homes. It is based on a partnership between the departments of Health and Social Development, with the support of the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development, to provide necessary resources and expertise to professional care home care providers.

Professional care home care providers will receive:

  • a monthly compensation;
  • child-in-care rates and benefits to cover the cost specific to the child’s care plan;
  • clinical support;
  • paid respite/vacation;
  • crisis/emergency support;
  • extensive initial training and ongoing professional development opportunities; and
  • specialized services, clinical supervision and extensive support.

The Department of Social Development plans to establish eight professional care homes by the end of 2021. Based on an assessment of this first phase, more homes may be established across the province to address the gap in the continuum of care for children with complex needs.