Voluntary Agreements

There are five types of voluntary agreements that the Director may enter into with the guardian of a child or young adults who have received child welfare services:

  • support agreements
  • custody agreements
  • access, maintenance or consultation agreements
  • permanent guardianship agreements
  • care and maintenance agreements

A support or custody agreement allows for a family to access child welfare services without a court hearing and permits the Director to provide protective services in the least intrusive manner. Access, maintenance or consultation agreements are used in conjunction with Temporary Guardianship Orders. A Permanent Guardianship Agreement allows a guardian to surrender an infant to the Director for the purpose of adoption. Care and maintenance agreements allow for continuation of services for young adults who have been in care.

A Voluntary Support Agreement allows for the provision of services to a child and family when the child needs protection but is able to remain safely at home. The agreement may be entered into by a custodian who does not have guardianship, if the guardian has placed the child with that person. A child 16 or 17 years of age who has established independence may also enter an agreement. While the agreement is in effect, the worker provides or arranges support services, the child remains in the home and the parent retains guardianship. A support agreement can last for up to six months at a time and can be renewed as often as needed. The required services are negotiated between the parent, the worker, and the child and are written in a service plan. The parent is expected to pay for as much of the cost of services as possible and the worker visits regularly to monitor the safety of the child and the progress of the plan.

A Custody Agreement is made between a Director and the parent of a child who needs protection and cannot remain safely at home. A child 16 or 17 years of age who has established independence may also enter into an agreement. The parent continues to be the guardian and makes as many decisions for the child as possible and pays as much of the child's costs as possible. While the agreement is in effect, the parent delegates custody and the authority needed to care for the child to the Director.Simultaneously, the worker provides services to the family that will make it safe for the child to return home. The maximum duration of a Custody Agreement is six months and it can be renewed for six month periods, up to a total of two years cumulative time in the Director's care under any status.

A Custody Agreement between a guardian or a child and a Director must include terms prescribing:

  • the plan for the care of the child, including a description of the services to be provided;
  • the visits or other access to be provided between the child and his or her guardian or any other person;
  • the extent of the delegation of the authority of the guardian to the Director; and
  • the contributions (financial or otherwise) to be made by the guardian for the maintenance of the child while in the custody of the Director.

During the period of the agreement, the parent or the worker may request a review. The parties can sign a new agreement to vary it, make new or different terms, or extend it. The parent or worker can end the agreement at any time.

A Permanent Guardianship Agreement contains the terms by which an infant is relinquished to the guardianship of a Director for the purposes of adoption. If a child has been in the actual custody of at least one of his or her guardians for a cumulative period of less than six months, the guardians of the child and the Director may enter into a Permanent Guardianship Agreement. A guardian who has entered into this agreement under Section 10 of the CWA may, within 10 days of the date of the agreement, request in writing that the Director terminate the agreement and return the child within 48 hours.

An Access, Maintenance or Consultation Agreement sets out the terms for a guardian or significant other to visit, to contribute to the care and maintenance of, or to be consulted regarding a child who is the subject of a Temporary Guardianship Order. If an agreement cannot be reached or is not followed, any party may apply to have the court set the terms.

A Care and Maintenance Agreement is a contract between a young adult who has received child welfare services and does not include child protective services. It is intended to allow the young adult to achieve any unmet goals of the service plan and to support his or her transition to independence through building an informal support network. The agreement includes terms negotiated between the young adult and the Director, such as duration (up to six months), services required that are unavailable elsewhere, supervision and review requirements, mutual expectations and other terms as deemed necessary. A Care and Maintenance Agreement can be entered, varied, terminated, re-entered or extended at any time until the young adult's 20th birthday.

Concurrent Plan or Permanency Plan

While Children’s Services applies for temporary or permanent guardianship, the guardian and other family will help develop a Plan A and a Plan B.

Plan A:
Sets out what needs to be done or what conditions must be met so that the child can return to his or her guardian or parent(s) 

Plan B:
Sets out an alternative PERMANENT placement for a child, if conditions in Plan A are not met

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