Our History

Since its incorporation in 1920, OACAS has tackled many challenges on behalf of Ontario’s children and families and the boards and staff of the Children’s Aid Societies who serve them. During the 1920s, the Association and member societies pressed for the creation of one government department responsible for all public welfare funding and legislation. In 1931, the first Minister of Welfare was appointed. In the mid-1940s, a provincial government grant enabled OACAS to reorganize and hire a full-time, non-volunteer employee, which allowed OACAS to start expanding its services to provide information distribution and member communication.

As OACAS and Ontario’s Children’s Aid Societies continued to evolve and expand over the following decades, the level of care and child protection services also advanced. In 1985, the Child and Family Services Act (CFSA) was proclaimed by the government, promoting the best interests, protection, and well-being of children. The CFSA created legislation around the delivery of child welfare services, underscored the responsibility of all citizens to report suspected child abuse, directed that the least disruptive course of action available and appropriate be followed for children and families and recognized where possible that services to children and families be provided in a manner that respects cultural, religious and regional differences. OACAS welcomed the increased formalization and transparency of child welfare in Ontario and worked alongside their members to ensure the culture of the legislation was reflected in training and practice.

In 2003, the Ministry of Children and Youth Services was formed to coordinate services for families with children. OACAS increased their advocacy and government relations role for Children’s Aid Societies and spent more time with the government to improve the lives of Ontario’s children and youth.

Since 2003, there have been significant changes to child welfare including but not limited to the Transformation Agenda, formation of the Commission to Promote Sustainable Child Welfare, Key Performance Indicators and the current review of the Child and Family Services Act. OACAS is proud of their work with and on behalf of the field during these important changes and shifts in child welfare and continues to evolve as Ontario’s family services advance with the times.