OACAS Supports New Framework for Youth Leaving Care in Ontario

On February 15, 2023, the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services (MCCSS) announced an investment of $68 million in a new program to support youth leaving the care of Ontario’s child welfare system. The Ready, Set, Go program will launch on April 1, 2023 and will also include new accountability measures for children’s aid societies to ensure youth are prepared to successfully transition to independence. The announcement comes ahead of March 31, when the moratorium on youth leaving care will end, and was made by Minister Merrilee Fullerton and Associate Minister Charmaine Williams.

OACAS CEO Nicole Bonnie attended the announcement in Ottawa and provided remarks on behalf of the Ontario child welfare sector. She applauded the government for taking steps to ensure there is a plan in place to support youth as the moratorium ends this spring and for investing directly in additional financial supports for youth.

“We commend Ontario for taking steps to ensure youth feel confident and supported as they leave care,” said Ms. Bonnie. “Through this investment and new framework, more youth across the province will have access to the resources and tools they need to transition successfully to adulthood.”

Ms. Bonnie also emphasized the need to continue to listen to young people and allow their voices to guide the work of child welfare redesign. “Not just the redesign of child welfare, but of the multiple intersecting systems involved in promoting and supporting the safety and well-being of children, youth and families.”

OACAS supports reviewing any data collected on the impacts of these investments for youth to ensure they are having the intended effects and to make adjustments as needed.

In a news release issued shortly after the announcement, Minister Fullerton said: “Children and youth in the child welfare system face additional barriers throughout their lives. Our government is enhancing the way youth leaving care are supported so they can access the same opportunities as their peers. The Ready, Set, Go program will help youth get the skills they need to build a brighter future for themselves.”

To read the full news release, click here.