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Change to eligibility for shelter benefits when a child is removed by the Ministry of Children and Family Development

A policy change by the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) will help parents who receive welfare benefits and whose children have been removed by the Ministry of Child and Family Development (MCFD) due to alleged child protection concerns. This change took effect on May 3, 2011.

Under the new policy, the family’s shelter rate will continue to include the children as part of the family unit (even though they are temporarily living outside the home). The shelter rate will include the children until either:

  • an MCFD social worker advises MSD that the parent is no longer actively working toward the return of the child; or
  • a continuing custody order is made in regard to the children (i.e., the child is placed in the permanent custody of MCFD).

Before this policy change, shelter benefits would include the children only if MCFD confirmed they would be returned to the parent’s care within 3 months. This meant many parents had to move into smaller, cheaper places that were often not appropriate for children to be returned to and children were kept in foster care longer, impeding family reunification.

Our thanks to Alison Ward, lawyer at the Community Legal Assistance Society, for providing the above entry.

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