Family Composition

Overview

For the purpose of assessing eligibility for income assistance, disability assistance, or hardship assistance, an applicant's or recipient's family composition and living arrangements must be determined.

The ministry must establish whether other persons residing with the applicant or recipient fit within the definition of family unit.

 An assessment for a spousal relationship may be necessary in order to determine the applicant's or recipient’s family composition and living arrangements.

As part of determining a family unit's composition, the ministry considers situations where a parent, teenage parent and teenage parent's child live together as a three-generation family.

If the size of a family unit is temporarily reduced, the shelter allowance may be maintained at the rate for the full family unit under certain circumstances.

Policy

Effective: January 1, 2020

For the purpose of determining eligibility for income assistance, disability assistance or hardship assistance, a family unit is defined as an applicant or a recipient and his or her dependants.

A dependant is a person who resides with the applicant or recipient and who is one of the following:

  • a spouse of the applicant or recipient; or
  • a dependent child of the applicant or recipient.

Persons who normally reside together, but who are apart for periods of time due to a spouse’s employment, are considered to be residing together for the purpose of the definition of “dependant”.

Note: Persons who are residing with an applicant or recipient and are in a spousal relationship but who do not meet the citizenship requirements under the BCEA legislation, are not eligible to receive assistance, but their income and assets are included when determining the eligibility of the family unit’s assistance. [For more information, see Related Links - Citizenship Requirements – Ineligible Family Member].

[For more information, see Policy – Determination of Residing Together]

Effective: January 1, 2020

Two persons are spouses of each other if they:

  • are married to each other, or
  • declare that they are in a marriage-like relationship, or
  • are determined to be spouses by the ministry because the following criteria are met:
    • the persons have resided together for at least the previous 12 consecutive months,
    • the relationship demonstrates financial dependence or interdependence consistent with a marriage-like relationship, and
    • the relationship demonstrates social and familial interdependence consistent with a marriage-like relationship. [See Policy - Ministry Assessment of Spouse]

If a married couple is separated but not yet divorced, the ministry can determine that they are no longer considered spouses for the purposes of their family unit. [See policy - Separated Married Spouses]

Effective: January 1, 2020

The following criteria are used by the ministry to assess if two persons (who are not married or have not already declared they are in a marriage-like relationship) are spouses of each other for the purposes of the composition of their family unit. All three criteria must be met to be determined spouses.

Criteria 1: The persons have resided together for at least the previous 12 consecutive months

The persons living situation is reviewed to determine if they have resided together for at least the previous 12 consecutive months. Indicators may include:

  • Sharing the same living space (e.g., bathroom, bedroom or kitchen)
  • Acknowledging they have the same primary residence (e.g., place of contact, mailing address)
  • Using the address of the shared residence as their primary residence even when absent for periods of time for employment
  • Living together for 12 consecutive months with no interruptions, other than temporary absences such as family visits, hospital stays, or absence for employment.

Note: A person living at the same address but in a separate living area, such as a self-contained suite, is not considered as residing together. A separate living space may also include:

  • a separate living and/or sleeping area but no separate kitchen and the individual resides in the space with the intent of maintaining a separate living space
  • a separate structure on the same property that may or may not be 'zoned' as a living space, the individual resides in the space with the intent of maintaining a separate living space (e.g., a trailer or cabin)

Criteria 2: The relationship demonstrates financial dependence or interdependence consistent with a marriage-like relationship

The persons financial situation is reviewed to determine if they are dependent or interdependent of each other. Indicators may include:

  • Sharing financial products (e.g. a joint bank account or credit card)
  • Having significant access to each other’s income and assets
  • Sharing day-to-day costs or larger expenditures (e.g. share grocery expenses or jointly own a vehicle)
  • One person solely supporting the other person financially
  • Declaring each other as spouses (e.g. for income tax purposes, as beneficiaries, or on a tenancy agreement)

The financial dependence or interdependence must be demonstrated at the time of assessment.

Criteria 3: The relationship demonstrates social and familial interdependence consistent with a marriage-like relationship

The persons social and familial interactions are reviewed to determine if they are interdependent of each other. Indicators may include:

  • Sharing household and family duties (e.g. child care, meal preparation, laundry, shopping, or housecleaning)
  • Presenting as married or common-law spouses to family, friends, the community, or the ministry
  • Declaring each other as spouses (e.g. on emergency contact forms)

The social and familial interdependence must be demonstrated at the time of assessment.

Note: For the purpose of the ministry’s definition of “spouse”, the sexual nature of the relationship is not considered.

See Procedures for more details on how to complete an assessment of a relationship to determine if the persons are spouses of each other.

Effective: January 1, 2020

Two persons who are married are not considered spouses of each other if the ministry is satisfied that their relationship does not demonstrate financial dependence or interdependence, and/or social and familial interdependence consistent with a marriage-like relationship.

If criteria 2 and 3 of the ministry’s assessment of spouse are not met, the persons are not spouses of each other for the purposes of their family unit. [See Policy – Ministry Assessment of Spouse]

Example:

  • A married couple residing together has decided to separate and ultimately divorce. They continue to live in the same residence as roommates while one person searches for a new place to live. They no longer have a financial or social and familial dependence or interdependence that is consistent with a marriage-like relationship.

If an unmarried couple previously declared to be in a marriage-like relationship informs the ministry that they are no longer in a marriage-like relationship, the ministry should complete an assessment of spouse.

Note: If an applicant or recipient has advised they are not residing with their spouse but are living in a separate living space at the same address, and the applicant or recipient has indicated that domestic violence is a factor, policies and exemptions for Persons Fleeing Abuse apply [for more information, see Related Links – Persons Fleeing Abuse].

Effective: January 1, 2020

A child is a dependent child if they:

  • reside in a parent's place of residence for more than 50 per cent of each month and rely on that parent for the necessities of life, and
  • are not a child who is 18 years of age with Persons with Disabilities designation.

If a child resides with two parents for either 50 percent of the time in each parent’s residence or 100 percent of the time in one residence where the parents are not spouses of each other, they are a dependent child of:

  • the parent who receives assistance, if only one of the parents receives assistance, or
  • the parent who is designated in writing by both parents, if both parents receive assistance.

In situations where a child resides with both parents 50 percent of the time and the parents do not agree in writing on who to designate the child as a dependent child, neither parent may add the child as a dependent child, but both parents are eligible for Shared Parenting Assistance.

In relation to a dependent child, (other than for EA Section 20 (Assignment of maintenance rights), 65 (Burial and cremation supplements), and Schedule A, Section 6 (People receiving room and board) and EAPWD Section 17 (Assignment of maintenance rights) and Schedule A, Section 6 (People receiving room and board)) a parent includes but is not limited to:

  • A biological mother or father; 
  • An adoptive mother or father;
  • A person with legal custody, other than a director under the Child, Family and Community Service Act or an administrator under the Adoption Act;
  • A person with legal guardianship, other than a director under the Child, Family and Community Service Act or an administrator under the Adoption Act
    OR
  • a person who is the parent of the parenting dependent child.

A client temporarily caring for a child without legal custody or guardianship may be considered a parent (see Procedures for Adding Dependent Child to a Case). Caring for a child may include one or more of the following, but is not limited to:

  • making day-to-day decisions affecting the child;
  • having day-to-day care, control and supervision of the child;
  • making decisions respecting where the child will reside;
  • making decisions respecting the child's education and participation in extracurricular activities;
  • making decisions respecting the child's cultural, linguistic, religious and spiritual upbringing and heritage;
  • applying for a passport, licence, permit, benefit, privilege or other thing for the child;
  • exercising any other responsibilities reasonably necessary to nurture the child's development.

Effective: January 1, 2020

When one or more recipients leave a family unit, the support and shelter allowances provided must normally be decreased. The change in support takes effect as soon as the person leaves the home.

The shelter allowance may be temporarily maintained for recipients of income assistance, disability assistance, and hardship assistance at the rate for the full family unit  in any of the following instances:

  • when a member of the recipient’s family unit is temporarily hospitalized 
  • when a member of the recipient’s family unit is in a residential alcohol or drug treatment facility 
  • when a member of the recipient’s family unit is out of the province with the prior approval of the ministry [for more information, see Related Links - Residency – Policy]
  • when a member of the family unit is a warrant holder and leaves the province to resolve an outstanding warrant.

When there is a death of a member of the recipient’s family unit a Deceased Adjustment Supplement may be provided to temporarily maintain the rate for the full family unit.

The determination to maintain the shelter rate is made on a month-to-month basis for up to three months of shelter allowance.  If extenuating circumstances occur, a supervisor may provide up to an additional three months of shelter allowance, for a total of six months of shelter maintained at the rate for the full family unit.

Extenuating circumstances may include, but are not limited to:
 

  • A recipient who is hospitalized for three months and is scheduled to be discharged during the fourth month.
  • The duration of the residential alcohol or drug program of 120 days (four months).
  • A recipient who received prior approval from the ministry to leave the province for a prescribed medical therapy for three months.  Health complications resulted in the person requiring care outside of British Columbia for an additional month.

Effective: January 1, 2020

When one or more dependent children leave a family unit, the support and shelter allowances provided must normally be decreased.  The change in support takes effect as soon as the dependent child leaves the home.

When a dependent child is temporarily cared for under the Child, Family, and Community Service Act (CFCSA), the shelter allowance may be maintained for recipients of income assistance, disability assistance, and hardship assistance.  A Ministry of Children and Family Development social worker must confirm that the child is being cared for under the CFCSA and that the parent is actively working on the return of the child.

Confirmation is required every six months from a social worker that the parent is actively working on the return of the child.

The temporary shelter allowance may continue until one of the following occurs:

  • The child will not return to the parent’s home
    • For example, a continuing custody order may be granted meaning the Director of Child Welfare becomes the sole guardian of the child.  A social worker must provide confirmation.
  •  The Ministry of Children and Family Development social worker determines that the parent is no longer actively working on the return of the child
  • The child returns to the parent’s home
    • The parent has addressed the reasons why the child was being cared for under the CFCSA and the social worker supports the child residing with the parent. 

Effective: January 1, 2020

Shared parenting assistance (SPA) is available to recipients of income assistance and disability assistance. Recipients of hardship assistance are not eligible for SPA.

To be eligible for SPA, the family unit includes a child who is not a dependent child and who relies on the parent for the necessities of life and resides in the parent's place of residence for not less than 40% of each month (11 nights in the month of February, or 12 nights in the other calendar months).

The amount of SPA equals the amount of increase in shelter allowance attributed to the family when the shared child or children are added to the family unit, based on actual shelter costs. [see Rate Tables: Income Assistance and Disability Assistance]

There is no support allowance component in SPA. Parents are expected to make their own arrangements for sharing any portion of the Canada Child Benefit. [For information on the treatment of the Canada Child Benefit in such circumstances, see Related Links – Income Treatment and Exemptions.]

Effective: October 1, 2012

Three-generation family policy applies to families who reside together and include at least:

  • A parent who is eligible for income, hardship or disability assistance,
  • A parenting dependent child (PDC), and
  • A child of a PDC

Note: This policy does not apply if the parent has custody or guardianship of the PDC’s child.  In this circumstance, the PDC’s child would be considered a dependent child of the parent.

Three-generation families are considered a family unit and are subject to the same eligibility rules and are eligible for the same rates and supplements as other family units.

Provision of Assistance

If a PDC is under age 16 and residing with their parent who is on assistance, both the PDC and their child would be added to the parent’s case as dependent children.

If a PDC is between the ages of 16 and 18 (inclusive) and is residing with their parent who is on assistance, there are two options:

  • Both the PDC and their child would be added to the parent’s case as dependent children, OR
  • The PDC could apply for assistance on their own case with their child while continuing to live with the parent.

Factors to Consider for 16-18 year olds

To make the assessment for 16-18 year olds, consider the following: 

  • rates
  • client category
  • eligibility for supplements
  • employment obligations
  • income exemptions, including earnings exemptions 

These factors are not exhaustive, ultimately, staff and family should work together, with Ministry of Children Family Development where required, to determine the most appropriate option for the family unit.  Authority for eligibility decisions, including which option to provide, rests with the ministry. 

A Ministry of Children and Family Development referral is required when:
 

  • there are child protection concerns regarding an applicant for assistance who is under 19 years of age OR
  • the applicant for assistance is under 17 years of age (underage assistance)

[see Related Links – Protection of Children]

[For three-generation families who receive Ministry of Children and Family Development payments under the CFCSA, see Scenario 3 and Related Links - Income Treatment and Exemptions.]

Scenarios

In the following scenarios, we are assuming:

  • Families include 3 key members that live together: the parent, the PDC, and the PDC’s child. 
  • The parent is on assistance. 
  • The PDC has custody/guardianship of their child.

Scenario 1:

  • A 15 year old PDC and her child are living with her biological mother.
  • The PDC’s mother is on disability assistance. 
  • There is no Ministry of Children and Family Development involvement and no child protection concerns.
  • The PDC and her child would be dependent children on the mother’s case.
  • Disability assistance and supplements would be provided to all members of the family unit, including the PDC and her baby as a unit 3.

Scenario 2:

  • A 17-year old PDC and her baby are living with her biological mother.
  • The PDC’s mother is on income assistance and has employment obligations.
  • The PDC is attending high school and has a part-time job earning $300/mo.
  • There is no Ministry of Children and Family Development involvement or child protection concerns.
  • The family states they want the mother to care for the PDC’s baby while the PDC is in school and at work.  They do not want the PDC to be on assistance.
  • The ministry can provide assistance and supplements for the PDC and baby in one of two ways:
    • The PDC and baby would be dependants on the mother’s case
      • Family would be eligible for unit 3 support and shelter.
      • The mother would have no employment obligations (child under 3).
      • PDC’s income would be fully exempt as she is attending school.
    • PDC applies as single parent with one child
      • The mother would be eligible for unit 1 support and shelter and would be required to seek employment.
      • PDC and her child would be eligible for unit 2 support and shelter. 
      • PDC would have no employment obligations while her child is under 3. The PDC would be eligible for a $200 earnings exemption (remaining $100 income deducted from cheque)

Scenario 3:

  • A 17-year-old PDC and her baby are living with her aunt who has legal custody of the PDC.
  • The Ministry of Children and Family Development provides the aunt with a monthly payment to care for the PDC.  The Ministry of Children and Family Development does not provide support for the baby.
  • The ministry can provide assistance and supplements for the family in one of two ways:
    • The baby would be a dependent child on the aunt’s case. When issuing assistance the family unit would be eligible as unit 2.  No assistance would be issued for the PDC (as payment is provided by the Ministry of Children and Family Development).
      OR
    • PDC applies as single parent
      • The aunt would be eligible for unit 1 support and shelter.
      • PDC would be eligible for unit 2 support and shelter minus the Ministry of Children and Family Development  payment (paid to aunt).

[For information on the treatment of Ministry of Children and Family Development  payments, see Related Links – Income Treatment and Exemptions – Policy – Ministry of Children and Family Development.]

Scenario 4: 

  • A 17-year-old PDC and her baby are living with her biological mother.
  • The 17-year-old boyfriend of the PDC is living in the home.
  • The ministry can provide assistance and supplements for the family in one of two ways:
    • The PDC and baby can be added to the parents’ case.  
      • The boyfriend cannot be added to the case, and could only be eligible for assistance as a single person (see Underage Applicants). The boyfriend can continue to live in the home.
        ‚ÄčOR
      • The PDC, the baby and the boyfriend could apply as a unit 3 and continue to live in the home.
        • The mother could apply as a unit 1.

[see Related Links – Underage Applicants]

[For further information on steps to follow on Three-Generation Families, see Procedures – Three-Generation Families.]

Effective: September 21, 2016

A dependent child of a family unit receiving income assistance or disability assistance, who turns 19 while attending secondary school may remain on the family unit for the purposes of determining the monthly income assistance or disability assistance rate for the family unit. This provision may continue for each calendar month that the person (the former dependent child) is residing with the family unit and attending school, until the end of that school year.  The amount of support allowance that may be issued is shown in Rate Tables – General Supplements and Programs – Family Bonus Top-up Supplement. [see Rate Tables]

If an applicant’s child is 19 years of age or older, that child is not included in the family unit, even if they are still attending high school.

Note: The same provision does not exist in Schedule D (Hardship) of either the EA Regulation or the EAPWD Regulation for recipients of hardship assistance.

 

Procedures

Effective: January 1, 2020

Indications that an assessment should be done or followed up may include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • Applicant or recipient is sharing a one-room dwelling with another adult and it is unclear whether a marriage-like relationship exists
  • Applicant is recently separated from spouse with a history of repeated separation and reconciliation or contradictory information provided by applicant regarding the whereabouts of the ex-spouse
  • Court order documents express that a marriage-like relationship existed between the two in the past
  • Current roommate has formerly been declared as spouse
  • Family composition is different from previous applications without a reasonable explanation
  • During an interview, the applicant or recipients states another adult uses the residence as their main address (example: a person who works for periods of time away from town but uses the residence address as a point of contact). Staff may assess the relationship; however, the ministry cannot collect the other adult's information unless that person is also an applicant or recipient.

Note: A follow-up assessment may be booked if the applicant or recipient advises that they have not resided for more than 12 months with the person they are residing with

Note: When assessing for a marriage-like relationship, the sexual nature of the relationship is not considered. An assessment is based on the 3 criteria listed above.

Complete an Assessment using the follow guidelines:
 

Criteria

Documentation or Demonstration

Suggested Questions

  1. The persons have resided together for at least the previous 12 consecutive months

If “yes” continue assessment for criteria 2 and 3

  • Mail (bills) received by each person (both are clients) at the residence 
  • Tenancy agreement verified by landlord
  • History of sharing common residence

I see you are sharing the household with another adult. How long have you lived together?

Have you resided together before?

2. The relationship demonstrates financial dependence or interdependence consistent with a marriage-like relationship 

If “yes” continue assessment for criteria 3

  • Shared financial products(such as joint bank accounts)
  • Declared spouse on tax documents (CRA)
  • Verbal confirmation of how income and assets are, or are not, split/shared
  • Third party checks (when verifying client information) indicate a marriage-like relationship exists (e.g. landlord states client shares home with spouse and shares rent).
  • Named as beneficiary (life insurance, will, etc)

How does the household work?

How are the bills paid?

Do you share credit cards or bank accounts?

Who is your beneficiary?

How would your situation change if this person moved away?

How would you manage if you were in hospital? (would this person assume responsibilities for you?)

Are you both on the tenancy agreement?

3.  The relationship demonstrates social and familial interdependence consistent with a marriage-like relationship

 If “yes” consider the evidence available to support each criteria. If the overall picture indicates a marriage-like relationship, determine status.

  • Documents that identify persons as “spouse”
  • Verbal confirmation that identifies both persons as interdependent  or not (e.g., completing household chores for each other, parenting separately or together, etc.)
  • *Criteria 2 and 3 may be demonstrated with the same documents. 

Would this person be considered your spouse?

How do you manage household duties?

I see the children have same last name, tell me about the relationship.

Tell me how the children relate to other person?

Do you celebrate holidays together?

Are you emergency contacts for each other?

How would your situation change if this person moved away?

The ministry recognizes that an applicant or recipient may be in a relationship that resembles a marriage-like relationship but is not in fact marriage-like. The ministry does not intend to include these relationships.

Examples (not an exhaustive list) of these relationships include:

Example #1:

  • When a person with a disability is living with another adult for the purposes of having support, staff should consider whether the person’s disability explains the financial, social and family-like aspects of their relationship. A person may have joint bank accounts and other joint assets because the person is unable to do their own banking or manage their own finances.  The need for assistance from another individual due to a disability may also explain why the other person completes or assists with household tasks for the individual. It should be noted that individuals who meet these criteria may still be considered a spouse due to other factors.

Example #2:

  • When a person states they are separated from another person, staff should consider that it is possible to be separated while still demonstrating some factors of interdependence. A person may have declared a spouse on last year’s income taxes, which is evidence of financial interdependence, but the person could still be considered separated if the separation occurred after the tax filing period and if other evidence demonstrates separation. 

Example #3:

  • Staff must consider the whole picture once each factor has been demonstrated. A person may describe a situation in which they share expenses and babysitting responsibilities.  If the picture you are left with is that the two persons are roommates sharing expenses and babysitting responsibilities, then it is not appropriate to conclude that the relationship is marriage-like.
  • The suggested questions and list of documents are not exhaustive and should be used to supplement information received and other interview questions (record notes).
  • Verbal testimony is considered evidence and must be balanced in consideration with other kinds of evidence
  • In order for two persons to be assessed as spouses, you should be confident that there is sufficient evidence to support your decision. In some cases, the documentation that demonstrated financial dependence or inter-dependence will also demonstrate social / familial dependence (example, a credit application form that lists the other person as “spouse”, a tenancy agreement that when verified by the landlord indicated it was a marriage-like relationship).
  • In making the determination, ensure that you have a preponderance of evidence that when considered in its totality supports your decision.
  • If all three criteria have been met, add notes on the case detailing how they were met.  Scan and profile necessary documents.
  • Follow process for adding the spouse to the case or the application.
  • A follow-up assessment may be booked if the applicant or recipient advises that they have not resided for more than 12 months with the current person they are residing with.  

The ministry is committed to providing accommodation to clients for needs related to the grounds protected under the British Columbia Human Rights Code (for example, accommodating the needs of a client with disabilities). [For more information, see Related Links – Individual Case Management – Duty to Accommodate.]

If the client disagrees with the assessment advise them of their right to reconsideration. 

Effective: July 23, 2018

Recipients who identify that they have a child who is now residing with them must indicate on the Monthly Report (HR0081) or "stub" [see Forms and Letters] that there is a change in the number of dependants living in the home, and include the following:
 

  • child’s name
  • date of birth
  • gender
  • date child started residing with them
  • percentage of time the child is going to reside with them.

Note: This information may be included in the stub, or provided in an attached note signed by the recipient.  If a Monthly Report is submitted online through My Self Serve the note must be submitted by mail, fax or in person.

When a client is temporarily caring for a child without legal custody or guardianship, a Policy/Program Implementation Manager (PPIM) determines if the client can be considered a parent for the purpose of adding a dependent child to the case.

The client should be given contact information for the Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD), if the client would like MCFD to assess their eligibility for additional financial support.

See Additional Resources to find information about applying for the MCFD Extended Family Program.

[For more information, see Related Links – Original Decisions and Protection of Children.]

Client

 

A non-parent/guardian client makes a request to the ministry to add a dependent child in their care to the case for a temporary situation

Note: temporary may not have an end date, it means the client(s) do not have legal custody or guardianship of the child.

EAW

1.

Inform the client about contacting MCFD to assess eligibility for additional financial supports [see Additional Resources].

 

2.

Request supervisor submit PIER query requesting to add child to the file.

Supervisor

 

Submit PIER query with subject line: Adding Temp Dependent to Case.

PPIM

1.

Review PIER request.

 

2.

Determine eligibility for adding child as a dependent to the case.

 

3.

Provide response to supervisor via PIER query regarding eligibility to have child added to file as a dependant.

A parent whose child resides with them for more than 50% of the month is eligible for income assistance, hardship assistance or disability assistance that includes the child in the family unit.

When parents state that they have custody for more than 50 per cent of the time, there is no requirement for the parents to produce a legal document unless both parents are claiming the child or children as dependants, or one of them is also claiming the shared parenting assistance (SPA).

If an applicant or recipient does not have a court custody order or shared parenting agreement, and the other parent cannot be located, the applicant or recipient with whom the child resides has de facto custody of the child; the child is his or her dependent child.

The Child Residency Statement (HR2864) [see Forms and Letters] should be completed to indicate the number of nights the child or children reside with an applicant or recipient when either of the following apply:
 

  • an applicant or recipient identifies that they have a child or children residing less than 50 per cent of the time
  • more than one applicant or recipient is claiming a child as a dependant

By signing the HR2864, applicants or recipients authorize the ministry to periodically confirm with the other parent that there have been no changes in the shared parenting arrangement and that they continue to have their children at least 40 per cent of the time in any given month.

If the HR2864 is being mailed to the applicants or recipients to complete, then advise them that they must submit the form to a trusted third party (for example, a government agent) or Employment and Assistance office who will validate the document and authenticate the person’s identity.

Note:  In exceptional circumstances whereby an applicant is unable to reach an EAW/ministry staff or a trusted third party, the ministry may accept witness signatures from members in the following groups:
 

  • other government staff; or
  • prescribed professionals (see EAPWD Regulation, Section 2(2)).

If the parents have a shared custody court order or a shared parenting agreement filed in court that specifies a fifty-fifty custody arrangement, for assistance purposes, they must designate in writing that the child is a dependent child of one parent. Any written confirmation that states the parents’ agreement and is signed by both is acceptable.

Effective: November 24, 2014

When a child has been temporarily removed from the family unit and is cared for under the Child, Family, and Community Service Act (CFCSA), a Ministry of Children and Family Development social worker will notify our ministry staff.  The family may maintain their shelter allowance while the child has been temporarily removed from the family unit.  If the family is eligible, the shelter top-up allowance will be provided on an ongoing basis. Confirmation is required every six months from a social worker to confirm that the parent is actively working on reunification.

Initial Removal of Child from Family Unit

When a child is initially living outside of the parental home and ministry is notified by the Ministry of Children and Family Development that the child is cared for under CFCSA:
 

  1. Review the automatic system notification of the child status change.  If required, contact the Ministry of Children and Family Development to request a completed Children Cared for Outside the Parental Home Notification and Confirmation form (CF3471) to determine if the child has been removed from the family permanently or temporarily. 
    [For more information see Resources for Staff – Process for Child Status Notifications]
  2. If the child has been permanently removed from the family:
    • Profile the notification CF3471 to Case and associate the parent(s) and child(ren)
    • Update Case to add a stop date for the removed dependent.
  3. If the child has been temporarily removed from the family:
    • Open a Service Request (SR) on Case
    • If applicable, profile the notification CF3471 to the SR, Case, parent(s) and child(ren)
    • Update Case to add a stop date for the removed dependant
    • If eligible, provide shelter top-up (CIC Temp Absence Assistance) to payment
    • Close the SR after the temporary allowance has been set up
    • Add a Notification Activity to the Case with due date five months from when shelter top-up has been provided to set a reminder that the six-month notification is required from the Ministry of Children and Family Development
    • In description of notification write “Six-month confirmation of child status from the Ministry of Children and Family Development”.
  4. Contact the client to advise of the change in support and shelter allowance due to change in the family unit if the child has been permanently removed from the family or if the client is not eligible for shelter top-up (CIC Temp Absence Assistance).
  5. Advise the client they have the right to reconsideration.

Six-Month Monitoring

To provide on-going shelter top-up to the parent(s) while the child is temporarily removed from the family under CFCSA, the Ministry of Children and Family Development must provide confirmation that the parent(s) are actively working on reunification.  The confirmation process is every six months and starts on month five after issuing shelter top-up so that the ministry has received the confirmation from the Ministry of Children and Family Development by month six.  The temporary shelter top-up allowance will continue while confirming with the Ministry of Children and Family Development.

Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction EAW

1.

Email Social Worker in control of case to request status update on CF3471. Note:  Do not include client information in the Subject line of the email.

2.

Add deferred notification to file for follow-up if no response within 10 business days.

Note: if out-of-office indicates absence over 10 days, immediately forward request to alternate contact listed, or, if no alternate contact provided, proceed to step 3.

3.

If no response within 10 business days, forward original request to After Hours requesting they forward request to Social Worker in control of case and their Team Lead for an urgent status update on CF3471 within 3 business days. [see Contacts for After Hours]

Ministry of Children and Family Development Social Worker

1.

Review Case and complete CF3471.

2.

Send CF3471 to the Employment and Assistance office by emailing SDSI Office 138.

Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction EAW

1.

Review the confirmation received from the Ministry of Children and Family Development social worker (CF3471).

2.

Create a new SR on case and profile the document to the SR, Case and Contacts.

3.

If parent is not actively working on reunification:
 

  • Discontinue the shelter top-up (CIC Temp Absence Assistance) and advise the parent(s) that they have the right to reconsideration.
  • Close the SR.

4.

If parent is actively working on reunification:
 

  • Continue providing shelter top-up.
  • Close the SR.
  • Set the notification activity Due Date (in Case) to initiate the next 6-month confirmation at month 5.

Example:  A child is cared for under CFCSA and has been temporarily removed from the family.  The Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction was notified by the Ministry of Children and Family Development  on June 15, 2011 and the family was issued temporary shelter top-up (CIC Temp Absence Assistance). The first six-month confirmation is due by December 15, 2011.  Another confirmation from the Ministry of Children and Family Development will be required by June 15, 2012.  The anniversary months for confirmation will be December and June of each calendar year until the child is returned or permanently removed from the family.

A notification activity will be set (in Case) with a due date of November 15 to set a reminder that the confirmation from the Ministry of Children and Family Development is required and this will provide 30 days for the confirmation to be completed by December 15.  After the confirmation for December has been completed and the ministry is informed by the Ministry of Children and Family Development that the parents are actively working towards reunification, the notification activity should be reset with a due date of May 15, 2012 to set another reminder that the second confirmation is to be completed by June 15, 2012.  

Change to Child Status Prior to Six-Month Confirmation

There may be changes to the child’s status prior to the six-month window of confirmation such as:
 

  • Child has been returned to the parental home.
  • A court order that the child is to be permanently removed from the family; OR
  • Parent is no longer working towards reunification.

In each of these situations, if there is a change to the child’s status prior to the six-month window of confirmation, the Ministry of Children and Family Development social worker will send a CF3471 notification to the ministry worker.  The temporary shelter top-up will be discontinued and the case will be updated with appropriate information.

When child is returned to parental home:
 

  1. Create a new SR on Case
  2. Profile CF3471 to the SR, Case and Contacts
  3. Confirm with parent(s) the child has returned to the parental home
  4. Discontinue the temporary shelter top-up allowance (CIC Temp Absence Assistance)
  5. Update case to include the dependant in the family unit
  6. Close the SR.

When child is removed by court order or parent(s) is no longer working towards reunification:
 

  1. Create a new SR on Case
  2. Profile CF3471 to the SR, Case and Contacts
  3. Discontinue the temporary shelter top-up allowance (CIC Temp Absence Assistance)
  4. Advise the client they have the right to reconsideration
  5. Close the SR.

 

Effective: September 1, 2015

If a parent [see Definition] is in receipt of income assistance, disability assistance, or hardship assistance and has a parenting dependent child (PDC) residing with them, staff follow these steps:
 

  1. If required, confirm the birth of the PDC’s child.  [For more information on establishing proof of identity, see Related Links – Identification Requirements.] 
     
  2. Assess eligibility under the Three-Generation Families Policy:
     
    1. When the PDC is under 16 years of age, add the PDC’s child to the parent’s family unit by adding the child as a “Contact” and entering relationship as a “grandson” or a “granddaughter”
       
    2. When the PDC is between 16-18 years of age, assess which option is the most appropriate:
  • Include the PDC’s child in the parent’s family unit by adding the child as a “Contact” and entering relationship as a “grandson” or a “granddaughter”;

    OR
     
  • PDC applies on their own case with their child while continuing to live with the parent. 
  1. To make the assessment for 16-18 year olds, staff must consider the following:
     
    • rates
    • client category
    • eligibility for supplements
    • employment obligations
    • income exemptions, including earnings exemptions 

These factors are not exhaustive; ultimately, staff and family should work together to determine the most appropriate option for the family unit.  Authority for eligibility decisions, including which option to provide, rests with the ministry.  [For scenarios, see Policy – Three-Generation Families.]
 

  1. Conduct eligibility review, including
  • Confirm receipt of any Ministry of Children and Family Development payments, and all other eligibility criteria have been met.  [see Related Links – Income Treatment and Exemptions – Policy – Ministry of Children and Family Development] [For scenarios, see Policy – Three-Generation Families.]

    ‚ÄčOnce Ministry of Children and Family Development  payments have been confirmed, the ministry can provide assistance and supplements for the family in one of two ways:
     
    • If the PDC and baby are dependent children on the parent’s case, remove the PDC as a subject from their parent’s case. Do not provide assistance for the PDC as payment is provided by the Ministry of Children and Family Development ;

      OR
       
  • If the PDC applies as single parent, issue support and shelter to the parent for unit 1.
  • Issue support and shelter to the PDC for a unit 2 minus the Ministry of Children and Family Development payment (paid to parent).

 

  • Confirm receipt of the Canada Child Benefit.  [For more information on the Child Benefits Top-up Supplement, see Related Links – Child Benefits Top-up Supplement – Policy and Procedures.  For information on treatment of Canada Child Benefit payments, see Related Links – Income Treatment and Exemptions – Policy – Canada Child Benefit.]
  1. Set a notification prior to the PDC’s 19th birthday to review any changes in the family unit. 

Note: When a PDC turns 19, the system will alert staff that the PDC will be aging out as a dependent child. At that time, an eligibility review will need to take place to determine whether the parent will have legal custody/guardianship of the grandchild or if the PDC will be leaving the case with their child.

Authorities and Responsibilities

Effective: July 23, 2018

Position Authority
Supervisor
  • Approve extension of up to three additional months of shelter top-up allowance if extenuating circumstances occur for a temporarily reduced family unit.
Policy/Program Implementation Manager
  • Determine if a client can be considered a parent for the purpose of adding a dependent child to the case where a child temporarily resides with a client who does not have custody or guardianship.