OACAS introduced a five-year strategic plan in 2018 that has set the direction for OACAS and the child welfare sector until 2023. In developing the plan, we undertook an extensive stakeholder engagement process of 1,800 participants through numerous provincial meetings, key informant interviews, focus groups, and online survey. The plan describes where children, youth, families, and communities want the children’s services system to go, and outlines the strategies we will use to get there.
We are re-imagining child welfare: an effective children’s services system that supports ALL children, youth, families, and communities to thrive.
WHO WE ARE
OACAS is a collective of child welfare agencies, and we:
- Lead Bravely. We inspire and guide transformative systemic change within child welfare and the broader children’s services system.
- Advocate Boldly. We influence public opinion, policy direction, and decisions about the children’s services system and advocate about the impact of the social determinants of health.
- Deliver Effectively. We strengthen the child welfare system by delivering provincial programs, information resources, supportive tools, and shared services.
WHERE WE ARE GOING
Children, youth, families, and communities have told us they want:
- Equity and Belonging. We acknowledge that racism, anti-Black racism, anti-Indigenous racism, and social inequity lead to overrepresentation and a disparity in outcomes. We will ensure services are culturally safe, support children as they develop their identity, and give them a sense of belonging. We will ensure the provision of the active offer of French language services.
- Respect and Empowerment. We will place children and youth at the centre of decision-making. We will ensure children, youth, and families play an active role in planning their own lives and designing the services they receive so that they have more control of their future.
- Reconciliation. We will work in partnership with Indigenous leadership, organizations, and communities to ensure Indigenous children and youth are cared for by their local communities. We will support the transition of services to Indigenous agencies and help build their capacity.
- Consistent, Excellent Services. We will provide the same high quality of service that meets each child’s needs, no matter where they live in Ontario. We will become more aligned across child welfare agencies and with other community social service providers.
HOW WE WILL GET THERE
Together with community partners, governments, and other social service providers we will:
- Broaden Relationships. We recognize that authentic and equitable partnerships improve child welfare. We will work to create positive and effective relationships with children, youth, families, communities, and provincial stakeholders.
- Change How We Work. We will strengthen the structures that work well and develop new structures that make services easier to use. We will change the policies and practices that are rooted in colonialism and will invest our resources where they are needed and are most effective.
- Invest in People. We will strengthen the leadership, training, and resources for child welfare professionals, caregivers, volunteers, and governors to help enable systemic change. We will ensure those doing and leading the work are reflective of the community they serve.
- Inform Our Work with Evidence. Data findings, in combination with research studies and the voices of children, families, and key stakeholders, will drive our work. We will improve the quality of our data.
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