Adoption and Permanency Education Month takes place in November, and it is an opportunity to remind Ontarians of the many paths to permanency for children and youth in the child welfare system.
The primary goal of Children’s Aid Societies is to keep children and youth safe in their families and communities. When it is not possible for them to stay with their primary caregivers, child welfare agencies engage their family networks to explore placement options that can support their needs for safety, well-being, and permanency.
Over the last five years, the number of adoptions of young people in the child welfare system has steadily decreased as the child welfare sector has focused on supporting children and youth to remain safely in their families and communities. Kinship, customary care, legal custody, and transitioning to adulthood are other permanency options that may be explored before adoption is considered.
Ensuring that children, youth, families, and communities are consulted about permanency options is essential. The voices of children and youth are considered at every step of permanency planning and remain at the centre of adoption and permanency work. When adoption takes place, openness is prioritized, as it is essential for children and youth to maintain important relationships and connections to their communities and cultures.
Children and youth needing adoptive families outside of their existing networks are often older, sibling groups, have experienced trauma, and may have complex medical needs. A successful adoption match takes place when a family or individual possesses skills and characteristics to support the child or youth’s needs and connections. The goal is to find caregivers for the child or youth who share racial, cultural, religious, and identity considerations.
To learn more about the adoption process in Ontario, visit the Central Adoption Intake Service via the Adoption Council of Ontario at www.adoption.on.ca. For more about how the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services, through child welfare redesign, is prioritizing stability and permanency for children and youth across the province, click here.