SAFE Assessments

SWA provides SAFE Assessments to:

  • Individuals seeking to be caregivers
  • Private care agencies
  • Social service agencies

Currently, two full-time staff members and an onsite supervisor have completed the specialized training that enables them to evaluate for fostering, kinship care and adoptions. Feel free to contact us today to book your SAFE Assessment for members of your team.

About SAFE Assessments

The practice of conducting the “Structured Assessment Family Evaluation” (SAFE Assessment) has previously been used by Children’s Aid Societies, but was only recently opened up to the private sector. The Ontario license for SAFE  Assessments from the Consortium for Children in California (CFC) is now MANDATORY for use in assessing prospective foster, kin, customary care and adoptive families as caregivers.

“SAFE provides a microscope whereby otherwise difficult to see or understand family structures and processes come into view. Although hit-and-miss methods of foster and adoptive placements sometimes do turn out well, reliance on knowledge rather than luck promises better control over the outcomes for children and families by adding to the successes and reducing the failures,” states the SAFE home study website.

What is a SAFE Assessment?

A SAFE Assessment  is a home study methodology designed to evaluate homes for adoption, foster care, relative placement and reunification readiness. It provides practitioners with information-gathering tools that support the home study interview, including questionnaires and compatibility inventories. The tools assist the home study practitioner with targeted interviewing so he or she can better identify strengths, as well as areas that might need more exploration.

“The SAFE process is a comprehensive means for guiding interviews and coding one’s observations of individuals and their living environments,” says Stevenson, Waplak & Associates Clinical Director Jeff Waplak, who also participated in the training on behalf of Quinte Children’s Homes. “It provides a structured means to check, double check and triple check information.”

The process involves gathering pertinent information across nine dimensions, including personal characteristics, extended family relationships and physical environment.

Procedures are based on 70 psychosocial factors that research has shown to be necessary for safe and effective parenting. Compatibility inventories help placement workers to determine how appropriate a fit is between an applicant family and a child.

“The assessment is approaching the gold standard of achieving evidence-based status, which it appears it will achieve with the completion of ongoing research in the United States,” says Waplak. “Whenever we can add a tool of this nature, it can only advance positive outcomes for the children we treat.”

Looking to the Future

Waplak says QCH will continue to fully embrace the SAFE process.

“We plan to actively work with the Consortium for Children and other assessors for outside guidance and feedback on assessments so we can continually advance our skills,” he says. “It fits nicely with our data driven, outcomes-based approach where internally we can continue to advance the knowledge on matching children’s strengths and needs with parental traits and beliefs as part of a comprehensive best therapeutic interest treatment plan.

QCH supports foster care families through extensive training and multidisciplinary clinical consultations, along with individual and group counseling for youth. We provide extensive staff support to assist parent-therapists in managing their foster homes effectively and compassionately.

Read more about the SAFE process here or feel free to contact Stevenson Waplak about conducting your SAFE Assessment.