Child welfare in Ontario is governed by the legislative framework of the Child, Youth and Family Services Act, which is administered by the government of Ontario. The role of the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Servicess (MCCSS) is to fund and monitor Children’s Aid Societies, develop policy to support the provincial child welfare program and license children’s group homes and foster homes. To this effect, OACAS and Children’s Aid Societies work closely with the government to continue to provide optimal services to Ontario’s children and families.
Throughout the year, OACAS advocates to the government on behalf of their member agencies and the communities they serve. Recommendations and submissions include the annual Child Welfare Report, which highlights priority areas in child welfare and the Pre-Budget Consultation, which outlines support and resources needed for services and priority areas.
OACAS supports Ontario’s children and families by connecting with other child and family well-being service sectors on a provincial level, such as education, mental health and first responders. Collaborations have included practice guides, enhanced protocols, and information sharing. Children’s Aid Societies don’t work alone in their communities and often have very strong relationships with the stakeholders in their community which could include public health, the local school board, newcomer organizations, daycare providers and religious groups – pretty much everyone who has a part in looking out and caring for children and families!
Interconnected Social Services
Children’s Aid Societies embody the interconnectedness of Ontario’s social services. Children and families who come to the attention of Children’s Aid often have had contact or involvement with other services in the community. Families face many issues - such as poverty, addiction, unemployment, mental health challenges, and/or inadequate housing - that lead them to needing support from Children’s Aid. The reverse is also true – when a child or family becomes involved with Children’s Aid they often need the help of multiple services to get back to a safe place. Addiction support, mental health services, and housing aid are just a few examples of the service providers that could be involved in getting a family back to a healthy and safe situation.