The following is an extract from the document, “Professional Practice and Family Resource Orientation Guide,” and explains the context in which foster family resources were created. As early as the end of the 17th Century, Saint-Sulpice Seminary welcomed children 14 and younger from every social circle imaginable. In the early 18th century, Marguerite d’Youville and the Sisters of Charity took over.
In 1869, the Quebec government intervened for the first time with the Industrial Schools Act. This Act stipulated that children between the ages of six and fourteen could become beneficiaries of public charity. In 1921, the new Public Charities Act gave, for the first time, financial support to institutions that catered to children considered “orphans.” At the time, a third of funding came from the provincial government, a third from municipalities and a third through public charities.
In 1954 and 1955, children were placed in substitute, or “foster” families for the first time. Social service agencies were responsible for child placement. In 1971, the Act respecting health services and social services created a new, specialized service network, Health and Social Services (CSSS) and a general local community service center network, the CLSC.
In the same year, the Act Respecting Health Services and Social Services created a legal entity, the “foster family” which consisted of a residence resource for children, adults and the elderly. The entity grouped together two distinct networks; foster homes for children within the social service agencies and affiliated homes for adults and children within psychiatric hospitals and shelters.
To deinstitutionalize and allow the user to remain in an environment that is considered to be as normal as possible is an intervention principle accepted and recognized by all organisms and establishments that provide social and health services. The Social Affairs Minister established in 1973 professional standards for foster care placement for children, adults and the elderly which brought significant changes to the system. These choices made by society illustrated a public awareness of the importance of foster families. The specificity of these resources were family oriented; determined by the key attributes of a typical Quebec family.
In 1979, a philosophy for short period placements developed for children due to the enforcement of the Youth Protection Law which confirmed the importance of parental responsibility, the improvement of parenting practices and limits, and thel possible return of the child with his or her biological parent(s) when the safety and development of the child are not compromised in any way.
Two factors need to be taken into account when considering the evolving legal and regulatory status of foster families and residential homes in Quebec: first, despite having created the same judicial entity in 1971, foster families for children and residences for adults and the elderly evolved in a parallel and separate way under the same banner until the 1991 update of the Health Services Act where they were once again made distinct.
Equally, as of April 1st, 1993 the professional and administrative responsibility of family resources was gradually transferred to institutions recognized by regional health authorities and social services. These institutions started to assume the responsibilities of: recruitment, evaluation, monitoring of resources and, when appropriate, the monitoring of people with diminishing autonomy.
Some long-term care hospital centers (CHSLD) have, since that time, the responsibility of managing these types of resources. These decisions have led to a review of the program in order to reflect the various preferences of each region. In some regions, resources are managed as a whole while other regions manage their resources separately according to what type of clientele they work with. A transfer of human, material and financial resources was then carried out in the former social service centers (CSS) and transferred to the CHSLD and other involved institutions.
Extract from: “Professional Practice and Family-Type Resources”
Government of Quebec – Ministry of Health and Social Services – April, 2003
We would like to add that in December, 2003 the Government passed Bill 7 which amended the existing Health and Social Services Law. This amendment clarified that notwithstanding any contrary provisions, an interim or family resource is deemed not to be employed or be an employee of the institution that uses its services. The debate surrounding the concept of paid workers is primarily focused on determining whether individuals can be unionized under the Quebec Labour Code.
In October, 2008, the Quebec Superior Court invalidated Bill 7 by declaring it unconstitutional and invalid (as a violation of freedom of association and the right to equality).
In May, 2009, the Government introduced Bill 49, “An Act respecting the representation of family-type resources and certain interim resources and the negotiation process for their group agreements, and amending various legislative provisions.” Adopted in June, 2009, the law authorizes foster families / resources to form associations, negotiate and conclude any collective agreements with the Minister.
In May, 2012, an agreement in principle was accepted by a majority of members. The first collective agreement for foster resources was signed in August 2012, and was renewed in December 2015 for a period of 5 years.