Aftercare Benefits Initiative

The Aftercare Benefits Initiative (ABI) is a comprehensive health and dental benefits program for former youth in care. The program provides a broad range of benefit coverage, including prescription drugs, dental, vision, extended health benefits, counselling, and life skills support services. Learn more about the program’s health benefits below.

Launched on July 31, 2014, ABI is administered by OACAS and is funded by the Ontario Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services. Green Shield Canada provides health and dental benefits for eligible youth between 21 and 25 years old, and Homewood Health provides counselling and life skills supports for eligible youth between 21 and 29 years old.

Are you a youth interested in enrolling? Check out the eligibility criteria and enroll now if you qualify.

Program Update! 

As of July 1st, 2022, Homewood Health will provide the Member and Family Assistance Plan (MFAP) portion of ABI.

ABI members up to the age of 29 can access, free of charge, a suite of counselling and life skills services to support wellness such as financial planning, smoking cessation, nutritional coaching, stress management, and relationship help.

Plan members! The easiest way to access your plan’s services is by ensuring your provider uses direct billing. Need help finding a provider or one that does direct billing?

  • Find a provider in your area here.
  • Found a great provider but they don’t direct bill? Give them this letter.

Have more questions? Please visit our FAQ below or contact the ABI team at abi@oacas.org.

There are two groups of eligible youth: 

  1. Former Crown wards or youth who were eligible to receive Continued Care and Support for Youth (CCSY) or Extended Care and Maintenance (ECM) and are between 21 and 25 years of age. This includes youth who:
  • had Crown ward status that expired at age 18;
  • were subject to a protection (formal) customary care agreement or a protection custody order at age 18; or
  • were eligible for support under the Renewed Youth Support (RYS) program.
  1. Youth who were adopted on or after June 1, 2016 and are between 18 and 25 years of age.

Youth eligible for coverage under another health plan (e.g. a plan provided by an employer, spouse, adoptive family, or university/college) are not eligible.

Youth attending college or university may apply for ABI if they choose to opt out of their school health benefit plan.

Youth receiving Ontario Works (OW) or the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) are only eligible for the counselling and life skills support services portion of the ABI plan.

Are you an eligible youth interested in enrolling? Review the application process before completing the online enrollment form.

Have more questions? Please view our FAQ or contact the ABI team at abi@oacas.org.

The Aftercare Benefits Initiative (ABI) provides comprehensive health benefits to former youth in care. The program’s benefits are delivered in two parts.

Part 1

Through Green Shield Canada, plan members are covered for a wide range of benefits and services, including prescription drugs, dental care, vision care, medical items, as well as various professional services (e.g. massage therapy, physiotherapy, psychiatry).

Part 2

As of July 1st, 2022, Homewood Health is providing the Member and Family Assistance Plan (MFAP) portion of ABI.

ABI members up to the age of 29 can access, free of charge, a suite of counselling and life skills services to support wellness such as financial planning, smoking cessation, nutritional coaching, stress management and relationship help.

You can watch a 40-minute overview of the services here or look through the presentation here.

Fast Facts About MFAP

  • available 24/7, 365 days a year
  • all services are free and confidential for members and any dependents
  • available in lots of languages with access to traditional healers and Elders

Connect with Homewood to Get Started

homeweb.ca
1-800-663-1142 (English)
1-866-398-9505 (French)
1-888-384-1152 (TTY/hearing impaired)
604-689-1717 International (call collect)

Youth receiving Ontario Works (OW) or the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) are only eligible for the counselling and life skills support services portion of the ABI plan.

The full scope of ABI benefit coverage is outlined in the Benefit Plan Booklet.

Have more questions? Please view our FAQ  or contact the ABI team at abi@oacas.org.

Children’s Aid Society and Indigenous Child and Family Well-Being Agency staff must provide a verification as part of the youth’s application to ABI. Workers should complete the online form for each youth they support. They will be required to include the following details: the youth’s name, date of birth, and confirmation of their former status.

Fill out the worker form now.

Adopted youth must submit a copy of their adoption order by email to abi@oacas.org or by fax to 416-366-8317. If you do not have this document, contact the Ontario government to request a copy.

Have more questions? Please visit our FAQ below or contact the ABI team at abi@oacas.org.

Eligible youth must complete the online application form and provide verification of their former status. Verifications should be completed by their worker here.

Not sure if you qualify? Review the eligibility criteria before applying.

Adopted youth must submit a copy of their adoption order by email to abi@oacas.org or by fax to 416-366-8317. If you do not have this document, contact the Ontario government to request a copy.

Once the application and verification have been received, the enrollment will be submitted to Green Shield Canada and Homewood Health, and an ABI welcome package will be mailed to the plan member.

Ready to enroll?

Apply Now

Have more questions? Please visit our FAQ below or contact the ABI team at abi@oacas.org.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What does the plan cover?

The Aftercare Benefits Initiative (ABI) provides comprehensive health benefits to former youth in care. The program’s benefits are delivered in two parts.

Through Green Shield Canada, plan members, up to age 25, are covered for a wide range of benefits and services, including prescription drugs, dental care, vision care, medical items, as well as various professional services (e.g., massage therapy, physiotherapy, psychiatry).

Through Homewood Health, plan members up to the age of 29 can access a suite of counselling and life skills support services, such as financial planning, smoking cessation, nutritional coaching, stress management, and relationship help. This part of the plan is called the Member and Family Assistance Plan (MFAP).

Youth receiving Ontario Works (OW) or the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) are only eligible for the counselling and life skills support services portion of the ABI plan.

Full benefit coverage details are available in English and French.

Who provides the benefits of ABI?

Green Shield Canada is the provider of the health and dental benefits, and Homewood Health provides the counselling and life skills supports services.

What is the Aftercare Benefits Initiative (ABI)?

ABI is a comprehensive health benefit program, offering prescription drug, dental, vision, extended health benefits, including medical devices and paramedical services, counselling, and life skills supports to former youth in care. The program was launched on July 31, 2014, and is funded by the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services. The program is administered by the Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Societies and is available to any young person who was in care with an Ontario child welfare agency.

Who is eligible for ABI?

Eligible youth include:

  1. Former Crown wards/youth in Extended Society Care or youth who were eligible to receive Continued Care and Support for Youth (CCSY) or Extended Care and Maintenance (ECM) and are between 21 and 25 years of age. This includes youth who:
  • had Crown ward status that expired at age 18;
  • were subject to a protection (formal) customary care agreement or a protection custody order at age 18; or
  • were eligible for support under the Renewed Youth Support (RYS) program.
  1. Youth who were adopted on or after June 1, 2016 and are between 18 and 25 years of age.

Who is not eligible for ABI?

Ineligible youth include those youth who:

  • Were not eligible to receive Continued Care and Support for Youth (CCSY) or Extended Care and Maintenance (ECM)
  • Are not between 21 and 25 years of age or 18 to 25 for adopted youth
  • Were adopted before June 1, 2016
  • Have benefit coverage under another health plan (e.g., a plan provided by an employer, spouse, school, or adoptive family)
  • Were in the care of a child welfare agency outside of Ontario

I’m covered under the Ontario Disability Program (ODSP) and/or Ontario Works (OW) for health coverage, but they do not offer counselling services. Can I access only the counselling portion of ABI?

Yes, the counselling and life skills supports are available to youth accessing ODSP and OW. Please complete the online application form and, as long as you meet the eligibility criteria, you will be enrolled in the Homewood Health portion of ABI. You will not receive a formal welcome package, so to confirm your enrollment you should contact Homewood Health by calling 1-800-663-1142. You will be required to provide your name and date of birth to be connected to the available services.

Are adopted youth eligible?

Youth who were adopted on or after June 1, 2016 and are between 18 and 25 years of age are eligible for ABI, for a maximum of four consecutive years and as long as they do not have coverage elsewhere.

What if my situation changes and I become eligible for another benefit plan?

You must advise the OACAS ABI team if your circumstances change and you become eligible for health benefits under another plan. If you register for OW or ODSP, you will still be eligible for the counselling and life skills supports.

What if I live out of province?

As long as you are a former Crown ward/youth in Extended Society Care of an Ontario Children’s Aid Society or Indigenous Child and Family Well-Being Agency, you are eligible. However, please advise us if you move!

Is my girlfriend/boyfriend or wife/husband covered under ABI?

No, the ABI program does not cover spousal partners.

Are my children covered under ABI?

Yes, dependent children of ABI plan members are also covered by the benefits plan. Please include their information in the application form or email us at abi@oacas.org with their name, gender, and date of birth to have them added.

What if I’m studying and have benefits through my university/college?

If you choose to opt out of your school health benefits plan you can apply for ABI. Otherwise, you are ineligible.

I’m eligible. How do I enroll?

There are two steps to the ABI enrollment process:

  1. You must complete the online application form. Take your time to fill in the form carefully and accurately.
  2. If you’re a former Crown Ward/youth in Extended Society Care, you must ask your former worker or Children’s Aid Society to verify your information, by completing the verification form.

Please note: If you are part of the KARE plan, ask your worker not to terminate your coverage, but instead complete the verification form so that a transfer can be processed to ensure continuous coverage.

If you’re an adopted youth, submit a copy of your adoption order by email to abi@oacas.org If you do not have this document, contact the Ontario government to request a copy.

Once your application and verifying information have been received, your information will be submitted to Green Shield Canada and/or Homewood Health and you will receive a welcome package in the mail within 2-3 weeks. If you are enrolling only in the counselling and life skills supports services through Homewood Health, you will not receive a package in the mail. To confirm your enrollment, you should contact Homewood Health by calling 1-800-663-1142. You will be required to provide your name and date of birth to be connected to the available services.

How do I get my former status or adoption details verified?

If you are a former or current Crown Ward/youth in Extended Society Care, ask your worker or Children’s Aid Society to provide a verification by sending an email to abi@oacas.org with your full name, date of birth, and former status. If you are an adopted youth, submit a copy of your adoption order by email to abi@oacas.org or by fax to 416-366-8317. If you do not have this document, contact the Ontario government to request a copy.

How do I update my contact information if it’s incorrect or has changed?

Email abi@oacas.orgwith your updated information and we will change it for you.

How do I add a dependent?

Email abi@oacas.org with your dependent’s full name and date of birth and we will add them to the plan for you.

What if I don’t have a permanent mailing address?

If you do not have a permanent address, you may use an alternative location where you can receive mail (e.g., your former Children’s Aid Society).

I will be eligible but I’m not of age yet. When can I register?

You can enroll in ABI up to one month before your eligible birthdate, however you will not become active in the program until you turn of age. Former youth in care become eligible at 21 and adopted youth are eligible at 18.

I filled out the application form but haven’t received my welcome package in the mail. What do I do?

Allow 3-4 weeks to receive your welcome package in the mail. If you have and you still have not received your benefit information, contact the OACAS ABI team at abi@oacas.org to check on the status of your application. It’s possible we have not yet received your verification or that we’re missing some necessary information to get you registered.

How do I access the counselling and life skill supports?

To access the counselling and life skills supports available through Homewood Health, call 1-800-663-1142. You will be required to provide your name and date of birth to be connected to the available services.

Who do I contact if I have questions?

General questions about ABI, including eligibility and verifications, should go to the OACAS ABI team at abi@oacas.org or 1-800-718-1797 x2133. Specific claim or coverage inquiries are to be directed to Green Shield (1-888-711-1119) and counselling related questions should go to Homewood Health (1-800-663-1142).

Are the services confidential?

Yes. Although the OACAS and your former CAS will know that you are registered in the Aftercare Benefits Initiative, the services you access will remain confidential.

I need emergency care, but my welcome package hasn’t arrived. What do I do?

We can provide you with your plan information by email or phone prior to the arrival of your welcome package. Contact abi@oacas.org or 416-987-2133.

What should I do if I already paid for a service out of pocket?

Contact abi@oacas.org if you have paid for services out of pocket while participating in the Aftercare Benefits Initiative. Include in your email a copy of your receipt which shows what services you received, when, and how much you paid.

How do I find a provider who will bill Green Shield Canada on my behalf?

You can use the Green Shield Canada (GSC) plan member online services site to search for providers in your area who will also bill GSC on your behalf. However before scheduling an appointment, you must confirm that they will allow you to receive the service without payment upfront. You will not be reimbursed for claims submitted after the service has been accessed.

What if my service provider wants me to pay for services out of pocket?

Since plan members cannot pay for services and submit claims for reimbursement, you need to tell your service provider that they must set up direct billing with Green Shield Canada. This can be done easily at www.providerconnect.ca or by contacting Green Shield at 1-888-711-1119.

How can I access the Green Shield Canada plan members online services?

When you receive your Green Shield Canada ID card in the mail you can register for the plan member online services at greenshield.ca. Once registered, you will be able to search for providers in your area, request replacement cards, and simulate claims to determine your coverage. Just remember that you cannot register for direct deposit or submit claims for reimbursement.

Can I sign up for direct deposit?

No, ABI plan members cannot pay for services and submit claims to be reimbursed by either direct deposit or cheque. You must find providers who will bill Green Shield Canada on your behalf and do not require payment upfront.

When can I begin using the benefits of ABI?

You can begin accessing the benefits of ABI as soon as you are enrolled. While waiting for your welcome package to come in the mail, you can email abi@oacas.org to receive your plan ID number. Your package with your card and benefit plan details should arrive in 2-3 weeks.

How do I access the benefits of ABI once I’m enrolled?

You will receive an ABI welcome package in the mail 3-4 weeks after you are enrolled. The package will contain your Green Shield Canada (GSC) plan member card, as well as a copy of the benefit booklet outlining your coverage. Once you have received this information, you can begin accessing both the GSC and Homewood Health portions of ABI. Just remember to ensure your healthcare providers do not require upfront payment and will bill directly to GSC on your behalf before you receive service. To access the counselling and life skills supports available through Homewood Health, call 1-800-663-1142.