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OACAS News Release: Children and Youth in Care Day on May 14
On Thursday, May 14, the Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Societies (OACAS), YouthCAN and Children’s Aid Societies across Ontario will be paying tribute to the children and youth in their care on the province’s annual Children and Youth in Care Day. Read the news release in English | French.
Kina Gbezhgomi Child and Family Services Achieves Designation as CAS
We are pleased to announce that on April 1, 2015 Kina Gbezhgomi Child and Family Services (KGCFS) received designation as a Children’s Aid Society pursuant to 15(2) of the Child and Family Services Act. Read more
Analyzing Policies and Practices through a Child Rights Lens
The following content is from the article Ensuring Children's Well-Being: Analyzing Policies and Practices through a Child Rights Lens in the latest edition of the OACAS Journal:
The Convention on the Rights of the Child reminds us that we must consider the potential impacts on children's rights and interests in all legislation, policies, programs, and practices. Children need this special focus for many reasons:
- Children are particularly vulnerable by virtue of their developmental stage and dependence on adults.
- Children can be disproportionately affected by adverse conditions. For example, the adverse impacts of poverty in a child's early years can be much greater than the effects of poverty in adulthood.
- As non-voting citizens, children do not have the same opportunities as adults to influence or complain about public policy; instead, they must rely on adults to advocate for them.
- Children are a significant segment of the population and are more affected by the action-or inaction-of government than any other group.
- There is no such thing as a child-neutral policy. Almost every area of government policy affects children to some degree.
- Children are also among the heaviest users of public services, such as education, health, child care, and youth services. As a result, children can suffer the most from the fragmentation of public policy and services, or from policies or services that have unintended consequences.
Evidence-Informed Practice in Intervening with Children Affected by Substance Abuse
The following content is from the article Evidence-Informed Practice in Intervening with Children Affected by Substance Abuse (CASA) in the latest edition of the OACAS Journal:
CASA's three overall project goals were:
Goal 1) to improve client service outcomes by having a substance use specialist at Intake where emphasis is on child safety and permanency, intervening in a family child-centered way, and greater utilization of family and community to maintain continuity of care for children.
Goal 2) to improve worker knowledge and skills through an evidence-informed, best practice training curriculum for staff, which included developing two different trainings on substance use: a) a provincial, online training and b) a series of agency, classroom workshops.
Goal 3) to improve service collaboration through collaboratively developing a best practice protocol to guide the different sectors on preferred interventions with families with substance use issues. Note the focus of this article is to present the CASA model and the evaluation findings specific to Goal 1.
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.
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.
Learn more about who is eligible and what is included in the ABI plan:
- Aftercare Benefits Initiative - OACAS
- Video: Introduction to Aftercare Benefits Initiative - YouthCAN
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:
- Fact Sheet - Registered Disability Savings Plans for Crown Wards - OACAS
- Fact Sheet - Registered Disability Savings Plan - Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC)