New Ontario government funding will increase permanency options for children and youth in care

Coloured pencils

Coloured pencilsThe Ministry of Children, Community and Social Servicess (MCCSS) announced new funding from the Ontario government that will support the efforts of Children’s Aid Societies (CASs) to provide greater permanency options for children and youth who are Crown wards.

The MCCSS promises include:

  • Funding for up to 15 targeted adoption recruiters in partnership with Wendy’s Wonderful Kids, an adoption program run through the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption. (Wendy’s Wonderful Kids will fund four additional Ontario adoption recruiters.)
  • Requiring CASs to expand their use of the AdoptOntario photolisting website so that more children and youth can be matched with waiting families. AdoptOntario is a non-profit service operated by the Adoption Council of Ontario and financially supported by MCCSS. The Adoption Council of Ontario is for families interested in adoption — whether approved for adoption, in the process of being assessed, or making initial inquiries about the process.
  • Expanding the targeted subsidies for adoption by extending the age of eligibility from 8 to 21 years (the age of eligibility was previously 10–18 years), and updating the income threshold and subsidy amount to reflect current Statistics Canada data
  • Investing in a province-wide post-adoption family support program
  • Encouraging greater use of culturally appropriate placement options for First Nations children and youth

As part of this announcement, the Ministry has also said that it will extend funding to foster parents looking after youth who require additional time to complete high school. Funding for youth in foster care currently ends when they are 18. The government announcement extends this funding to youth until they are 21.

OACAS Advocacy Priorities – Child Welfare Report 2014

The Government announcement addresses two major advocacy priorities identified in OACAS’ 2014 Ontario Child Welfare Report:

  1. The 2014 OACAS Child Welfare report requested that the government broaden subsidies to give all children and youth a chance to settle in a permanent family. The government has addressed a significant gap in the targeted subsidies program by extending the age of eligibility to 8–21 years (previously it was 10–18 years), and by providing more financial support to adoptive families.
  2. The 2014 OACAS Child Welfare Report requested that the government help to change the culture of care so that youth stay at home until they are finished high school. By extending supports to foster families, youth who are 18 can focus on their education rather than preparing for independence.

A related priority that has not yet been addressed is extending the age of protection to 18 years, which would put Ontario in alignment with other provinces in Canada as well as the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

More details on the announcement are available on the Ministry’s website.