Supporting Children and Youth During the Pandemic

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:

Important Considerations

Overreporting of Indigenous and African-Caribbean Canadian Families in Child Welfare

How to Check Your Bias

Privacy and Duty to Report

Strategies for Working with Children and Youth in Virtual Spaces

Check-in with children and youth regularly, either online or by telephone if you think access to technology could be a barrier.

Let children and youth know you are here to help.

Support children and youth to stay healthy and safe online.

Promote positive mental health, self-care, and wellness.

Engage families in the work.

For help making the most of virtual visits, view our resource Considerations for Virtual Work.