Demonstration Project Summary
Using the Data Repository, we obtained information about all Manitoba children and families that were involved with CFS across several years (2008-2018). We conducted an Instrumental Variable Analysis, using a CFS Agency’s out-of-home-placement rate as the instrument, to look at out-of-home care outcomes (n= 19,959) when compared with keeping children in their family home while providing supports (n=28,732). This technique was chosen because it provides a rigorous means for accounting for unmeasured confounding which exists when estimating outcomes associated with out-of-home-care. Following the trajectories of these two groups of children over time, we examined their mental and physical health, educational achievement, and justice system involvement while accounting for potentially confounding factors. This research adheres to rigorous and well-established ethics and privacy approval processes and the OCAP® Principles, and it was guided by an Advisory Circle comprising First Nations Knowledge Keepers and the Manitoba First Nations Family Advocate. The new evidence has the potential to influence both policy decisions and professional practice. This project is the first of its kind in Canada to produce rigorous quantitative evidence isolating the impact on outcomes of supporting at-risk children at home. It provides partners with research skills and knowledge about the public policy process, and is demonstrating the value of co-governance among community organizations, government and academia.