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National Outcomes Matrix (NOM)

CRCF Members in this Project: Nico Trocmé

Principal Investigator: Nico Trocmé
Funding Source: Public Health Agency of Canada/ Canadian Institute for Health Research
Period: 2005–2009

The National Child Welfare Outcome Matrix (NOM) was developed in consultation with provincial, territorial, and First Nations service providers as an initiative of the provincial and territorial Directors of Child Welfare (DCW) and Human Resources Development Canada. The NOM provides a framework for tracking outcomes for children and families receiving child welfare services that can be used as a common set of indicators across jurisdictions. It is designed to reflect the complex balance that child welfare authorities maintain between a child’s immediate need for protection; a child’s long-term requirement for a nurturing and stable home; a family’s potential for growth, and; the community’s capacity to meet a child’s needs. The NOM includes four nested domains: child safety, child well-being, permanence, and family and community support.

Researchers from the universities of McGill and Toronto have collaborated with child welfare agencies interested in applying and adapting the NOM to support data informed service design and delivery. For the past four years, McGill-based researchers have been collaborating with a federal/provincial/territorial (FPT) committee to provide support in generating and analyzing data relating to the ten NOM indicators. At present, the committee has collected and begun preliminary analysis on four years of national test data. Through the Evidence-Based Management project, Montreal’s Anglophone child welfare agency has adopted an incremental strategy to generate data based on six of the NOM child and family outcomes indicators. A similar initiative is being piloted in three Francophone agencies. Additionally, researchers are exploring with several First Nations child welfare agencies the development of culturally relevant and agency specific indicators within the NOM framework.

An updated version of the NOM was finalized in September, 2009. Ancillary documents including a summary measure of each indicator, a thesaurus, and a province/territory-specific service flow-through chart were also developed. An invitational roundtable meeting is planned for the fall of 2009 to bring together the Canadian DCW and leading child welfare outcomes researchers in order to discuss the progress and future directions of national child welfare outcome measures.

Work revising the NOM and NOM-related initiatives were enabled through funding from the Centre of Excellence for Child Welfare, the RBC Children’s Services Research and Training Program, and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC).