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OACAS News Release: OACAS responds to jury recommendations from the Inquest into the death of Jeffrey Baldwin

On the anniversary of the Inquest into Jeffrey Baldwin’s death, the Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Societies (OACAS) has provided the Coroner’s Office with its response to the recommendations assigned by the jury on Feb.14, 2014.

Jeffrey Baldwin’s death in 2002 was a tragedy that has affected the entire child welfare sector. Its impact has reverberated through the system, precipitating numerous changes in the past decade.

Read the News Release in English and French.


OACAS Presents to Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs

On January 30, OACAS presented a Submission of provincial sector priorities on behalf of CASs to Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs at the Legislative Assembly of Ontario.

The Submission focused on the funding model, the needs of Aboriginal communities, supports for youth, and investment the broader social safety net (addictions, mental health, domestic violence) across Ontario.

Read the full Submission:


Provincial Advocate Submission to MCYS on Recommended Changes to CFSA

The Ontario Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth (OPACY) has proposed a number of changes to the Child and Family Services Act (CFSA), including:

  • Ensuring that children and youth can access PACY services;
  • Enhancing the ability of youth to make decisions;
  • Improving the complaints system;
  • Reviewing oversights and governance;
  • Increasing whistle-blower protection; 
  • Extending the age of protection for children and youth, and
  • Raising the profile and perspectives of First Nations children and youth.

Read the full Report:


Ultimate Health Rights Survival Guide

The Ontario Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth (OPACY) has produced a guide to help young people in provincial care understand and exercise their health rights.  

Anchored in recommendations from My Real Life Book (the report from the Youth Leaving Care Legislative Hearings) the Ultimate Health Rights Survival Guide provides young people with information on their health rights - what they are and how to exercise them.  

The focus is on understanding informed consent and participating directly in decisions regarding a young person's health care and medical treatment. Several CASs as well as OACAS were involved in discussions on the development of the guide.

The Guide is available in English and French. Hard copies can be ordered through the Provincial Advocate's Office.


Aftercare Benefits Initiative

Former Crown wards and other youth currently between the ages of 21 to 25 who have left care may be eligible for health care benefits under the Aftercare Benefits Initiative (ABI).  

The plan provides comprehensive prescription, dental, vision and extended health benefits as well as a range of counseling and other life-skills supports including depression care, financial planning, career coaching, legal advice and much more.

Green Shield Canada is the provider for prescription, health, dental, vision and other benefits and Shepell for counseling and life-skills supports services.    

Learn more about who is eligible and what is included in the ABI plan:    


Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives Releases Time to Grow Up

On January 27, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) released Time to Grow Up - Family Practices for the Way we Live Now, its study highlighting current Canadian trends related to childcare, parental leave, child and family tax policies, and jobs and income.

The study finds the federal government's approach to family policy falling short of the needs of parents. It makes the case for access to affordable childcare, improved leave for fathers, and tax policies that level the playing field to improve the quality of family life in Canada. The study also provides an analysis of the cost and distributional impact of income splitting for families with children under 18.

Of interest to Child Welfare field, the report reveals that over 50% of Canadian children under five live in families where both parents work, contrasting this statistic with current limitations on availability of regulated childcare spaces across the country.
  
Learn more:  


Children’s Aid Foundation Scholarships 2015

The Children's Aid Foundation funds a number of scholarships, bursaries and awards for students attending college or university.

Scholarships are awarded through an annual competitive process and decisions are made by the Foundation's Award Committee. Scholarships for the 2015-2016 year range from $2,500 to $5,000.

Funding is available to students demonstrating both financial need and the potential to succeed in their program of study.  To meet the eligibility criteria, a student must be:

  • A current Crown (permanent) Ward, or have been a Crown (permanent) Ward
  • Under 26 years of age at the start of their current school program, or under 30 if the student has received CAF funding for the same program in previous years
  • Registered at or planning to attend a recognized post-secondary institution

Students meeting the eligibility criteria, and who will be attending school full-time for two semesters within one academic year (September-August), can apply.

Online scholarship application forms are due on Monday, February 23, 2015, and supporting documentation must be received at the Children's Aid Foundation office no later than Wednesday, March 4, 2015.  Successful applicants will be notified in late June or July 2015.

Resources:


MCYS Adoption Resource Exchange Conference

Please Save the Date for the Ministry of Children and Youth Service’s Adoption Resource Exchange Conference to be held on Saturday, May 2nd, 2015 from 9:00am-3:00pm.

Note the venue has been changed to:
International Plaza Hotel
655 Dixon Road
Toronto, Ontario, M9W 1J3
Rooms: International AB & International C

For more information, please contact Jennifer Whittaker, Program Analyst at Jennifer.Whittaker@ontario.ca or (416) 327-0341.


Registered Disability Savings Plan

Registered Disability Savings Plans (RDSPs) can provide a long-term savings option for eligible individuals living with disabilities in Canada. Savings grow in a tax deferred environment and the plans are eligible for Government of Canada grants and bonds.

Individuals who are affected by a severe disability and are eligible for the Disability Tax Credit may qualify for an RDSP. Parents or guardians may open an RDSP for a child under the age of majority. Children's Aid Societies may act as account holders for Crown wards in their care - until their 18th birthday, the Crown ward is considered the Beneficiary of the plan. With written permission from the plan holder, anyone may contribute to the RDSP.

A Registered Disability Savings Plan is a valuable savings tool to consider when planning ahead for eligible disabled children and youth in care. A small annual contribution can result in up to $4500 per year in federal grants and bonds being paid into the plan. There is no limit to to annual contributions into the plan, but there is a lifetime contribution limit of $200,000.

Learn more about RDSPs:


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