The closure of schools, childcare centres and many of the community spaces that children and families use means that access to support networks and helping adults outside the home is limited. If you are engaging children, youth, and families during the pandemic, know that this work is meaningful, and you are well positioned to help a child in need or be a support to families.
Research continues to show that families are struggling as a result of the pandemic. Recent reports indicate that the pandemic has led to increased rates of depression and anxiety for Canadians, as well as a rise in eating disorders for young people (COVID-19 pandemic led to stark rise in depression, anxiety: study; 'I stopped eating': Rise in eating disorders seen among Ontario youth during pandemic).
The Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Societies (OACAS) and the Association of Native Child and Family Services Agencies of Ontario (ANCFSAO) have developed this resource to assist our community partners to check in with the children and youth they serve, engage them in conversations about their holistic well-being, and support them if they need to ask for help.
As always, if you have a concern about the safety or well-being of a child or youth under the age of 16, you have a duty to report it to your local Children’s Aid Society or Indigenous Child and Family Well-Being Agency. Under the CYFSA (s. 125(4)), a person may report about a 16 or 17-year-old whom they suspect is in need of protection, although there is not a duty under the law to do so.
All Children’s Aid Societies and Indigenous Child and Family Well-Being Agencies are providing services during COVID-19 pandemic.
A full list of contact information for local agencies is available here: www.oacas.org/locate