Component: Victim Services

Legislation: Ministry of Community and Social Services Act

Service description

The Province provides funding to the Recipient to deliver the Family Court Support Worker Program. This community-based program provides supports to victims of domestic violence involved in the family court process. Funding for the Family Court Support Worker Program covers salary, benefits and related costs for Family Court Support Workers.

People served

The Family Court Support Worker Program is funded through the Victims' Justice Fund. All services funded through this source will be directed exclusively to benefit victims of crime.

The Family Court Support Worker Program is intended for victims of domestic violence who are involved in the family court process. This includes victims who are about to start a family court proceeding.

Recipients will serve male victims of domestic violence, either through direct service delivery or referrals to services that meet their specific needs.

Program/service features

The Recipient will provide direct services and support to victims of domestic violence involved in the family court process. Services will facilitate the victim's understanding of, and passage through, the family court system.

Important Note: Family Court Support Workers will not provide legal advice, opinion or direction to clients.

The Recipient is responsible for the delivery of Family Court Support Worker Program services/activities to Clients living in the catchment area. All victims of domestic violence must be able to access Family Court Support Worker Program services within their catchment area. Where the mandate of a Family Court Support Worker Program service provider limits client access to services at their organization (e.g. for male survivors of domestic violence), the service provider must have a process in place to ensure that the victim of domestic violence is able to receive equivalent services in their catchment area. For example, the Recipient could coordinate with another Family Court Support Worker Program service provider in an adjoining catchment area to ensure services can be provided in the victim’s jurisdiction of choice. Victims of domestic violence will not incur any costs to access these alternative services.

The Recipient will work collaboratively with other services for victims of domestic violence, including the Victim/Witness Assistance Program (V/WAP), to ensure victims have access to the supports they need at every stage of the court process.

The Recipient will encourage and support workers to participate in training opportunities available through the Family Court Support Worker Program Training Initiative, including use of the online portal for the initiative.

Specific service provided

Support workers will

  • Conduct a needs assessment for clients
  • Provide information about the family court process
  • Assist the victim to record the history of abuse to prepare for family court proceedings
  • Provide the victim with safety planning, including safety planning related to court attendance, and referrals for risk assessments where appropriate
  • Assist the victim with the legal aid process
  • Support the victim to follow through on requests received from lawyers
  • Debrief with clients following family court appearances, lawyer appointments, Family Law Information Centre meetings, and consultations with duty counsel
  • Refer the victim to specialized services (both domestic violence-specific and culturally relevant services) in the community
  • Communicate with criminal court-based services, such as the V/WAP, where appropriate, and in accordance with the appropriate protocol
  • Communicate with other family court-based services and referral sources to ensure seamless delivery of appropriate information and support
  • At the client's request, accompany the victim to a family court proceeding, where appropriate, and resources permit

Program goals

The goals of the Family Court Support Worker Program are to

  • Provide supports for victims of domestic violence involved in the family court process, and address victim safety through safety planning
  • Increase the victim's awareness of available services and supports
  • Build the core competencies of service providers to support victims of domestic violence who are involved in the family court system

Ministry expectations

The Recipient will comply with any Program Standards that are developed for the Family Court Support Worker Program by the Province.

The Recipient will distribute client satisfaction surveys to all Clients when their participation in the Family Court Support Worker Program ends (i.e. when the file is closed). Recipients will offer Clients the option of completing the survey online or by hard copy.

The Recipient will participate in other processes identified by the Province to measure the effectiveness of the Family Court Support Worker Program, Family Court Support Worker Program service delivery and compliance with the Agreement.

Family Court Support Worker (FCSW) Training Initiative

Service description

The Province provides funding to the Recipient to continue to enhance the Training Initiative for workers funded by the Family Court Support Worker (FCSW) Program. This training initiative involves

  • Training, both in person and through an online web portal, to support delivery of consistent, specialized services across the province for victims of domestic violence who are involved in the family court process
  • Maintaining a moderated online discussion forum and resource repository, where Family Court Support Workers (FCSWs) can be kept up to date on issues relevant to their role, and share lessons learned and best practices

People served

The training is provided to Family Court Support Workers.

Program/service features

The Recipient is responsible for the delivery of Program services/activities to Participants living in the catchment area.

The Recipient will consult with the Province on key deliverables. Key deliverables include the following

  • Review and enhance core competencies for FCSWs
    • This should be reflected in any additional training materials developed during this contract period to improve skills and knowledge of core competencies
    • Any updates will be part of the FCSW training component
  • Training
    • Training and related materials should be clear on the distinction between the provision of legal information, which is within scope of the FCSW Program, and legal advice, which is not within scope
    • Training materials for the in-person training will take into account and align with any existing FCSW Program Standards or any that may be developed by the Province for implementation during the contract period
    • Ensure that training addresses opportunities to increase service delivery capacity to diverse populations
    • Address the training needs of new FCSWs through the development and provision of an online training program
  • In Person Training
    • During each Funding Year, training for FCSWs will include one conference, of two days in length, and will also include an additional one-day conference for new FCSWs entering the FCSW Program. The Recipient will work in collaboration with the Province to develop the learning components of any in-person training or conference for FCSWs, which should focus on increasing the knowledge and capacity of FCSWs to deliver funded services. The Recipient will obtain prior approval of the Province for the final curriculum of any in person training or conference
      In addition, this training should
      • Incorporate topics related to the family justice system, family law and domestic violence, and the role of the Victim/Witness Assistance Program (V/WAP)
      • Incorporate components relating to the unique needs of Francophone victim’s, Indigenous victims, victims with disabilities and other diverse populations
      • Address the specific needs of those who identify as male victims of domestic violence and those with non-binary gender identity who are victims of domestic violence, in addition to the addressing the specific needs of those who identify as women who are victims of domestic violence
      • Be delivered in a manner consistent with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 and its regulations, including the establishment of policies, practices and procedures that promote accessibility for persons with disabilities to access the services offered
      • Be delivered in a manner consistent with the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, the French Language Services Act, and Ontario’s Human Rights Code
  • Online Portal
    • Provide access and online resources for FCSWs funded to deliver the FCSW Program, including the additional non-FCSWs previously trained
    • Activities under this heading include
      • Maintain an online moderated discussion forum for FCSWs as a means of disseminating pertinent information, including updates on relevant changes in family law and family and criminal courts, and responding to concerns or challenges workers are encountering in the course of carrying out their duties
      • The online discussion forum will be moderated by a family law lawyer. Moderation will be provided on a regular basis (6 days a month) to ensure that timely responses are made to online inquiries
      • Maintain an online directory with the up-to-date contact information for each of the FCSWs in the province
      • The Directory should include a current list of workers who can provide services in French in designated areas under the French Language Services Act and also who facilitate the coordination of French language services in non-designated areas
  • Develop, enhance and maintain online resource and training materials, including an up-to-date Resource Manual, and best practices to support FCSWs in their assignments
    • Develop an enhanced orientation process and package to support new forum users
    • Provide support regarding user skill development and technical issues related to the forum for forum users
    • Conduct research and evaluate forum use dynamics
    • All in-person training materials will be available on the online portal within 30 days of the training (conference)
    • Links to services for victims of domestic violence, including French, Indigenous, those who identify as male, those with non- binary gender identity as well as those who identify as women will be available on the portal
    • The Province will be granted 14 days' access to the moderated forum after each reporting period as well as when requested by the Province

Program goals

The goals of the Family Court Support Worker Training Initiative are to enhance the knowledge and competency of FCSWs to support the delivery of consistent, specialized services across the province for victims of domestic violence who are involved in the family court process

Ministry expectations

  • Providing Access to the FLS Initiative
    • The FCSW Program French Language Services (FLS) Initiative will be provided access to the Training Initiative Program portal and electronic discussion forum, so that the coordinator of the FLS initiative can scan the English language portal and/or forum to identify relevant questions, discussions, issues or information for users of the French language forum
    • The list of FCSWs who can provide services in French in designated areas will be provided to the FCSW Program’s FLS Initiative
  • Evaluation
  • The Recipient will administer an evaluation of the following components to FCSWs
    • In-person training (conference)
    • Online forum and/or portal

Evaluations of the online forum and/or portal will be completed by the last day of June of each Funding Year and the evaluation of the in-person training will be completed within 3 months of the dates of the in-person trainings/ conferences.

The results will be evaluated by the Province on a regular basis to assess performance and effectiveness in addressing the training and online portal (including discussion forum) and also include an assessment of the ongoing educational needs of FCSWs.

Evaluation should include the following

  • FCSWs satisfaction with the quality of in person training, website, online resources, and moderated forum, as shown through feedback surveys or other tools, which will be developed in consultation with the Province and will address
    • Quality and relevance of the training and the curriculum, as demonstrated by
      • How well the curriculum addresses Program requirements as outlined in this document and identified in consultation with the Province
      • Delivery of training; and
      • The extent to which FCSWs acquire, maintain and improve knowledge and skills as a result of the training
  • Quality of website and online resources provided for ongoing access by FCSWs, as demonstrated by
    • Quality, relevance, and currency of information, training materials, and best practices available online
    • Ongoing maintenance of online directory with up-to-date contact information

Successful maintenance and enhancement of a collaborative learning environment for FCSWs, as demonstrated through participation in the moderated online discussions and forums.

Accessibility of online resources to FCSWs, as demonstrated by portal traffic and outreach activities.

Reporting requirements

Service data on ministry funded expenditures will be reported on at an Interim and Final stage. Please refer to your final agreement for report back due dates and targets.

Quarterly service data will be reported through supplemental reports to the ministry.

Service Data NameDefinition

Ministry-funded Agency Expenditures: Family Court Support Worker (FCSW)

Total ministry-funded expenses for the Transfer Payment Recipient to administer and/or deliver the Family Court Support Worker program in the reporting year (cumulative).

Ministry-funded Agency Expenditures: Family Court Support Worker Training Initiative (FCSWTI)

Total ministry-funded expenses for the Transfer Payment Recipient to administer and/or deliver the Family Court Support Worker Training Initiative program in the reporting year (cumulative).