OACAS facilitates a multi-component program for youth in care of Ontario’s Children’s Aid Societies called YouthCAN run by and for youth and former youth in care. YouthCAN focuses their efforts on communication, advocacy and networking, and are dedicated towards improving the quality of care for youth in Ontario’s child welfare system.
YouthCAN’s advocacy efforts are led by the Youth Policy Advisory and Advocacy Group (YPAAG). YPAAG has provided input to the development of government policy and are often the youth voice representing their peers in care. Recently, YPAAG presented their suggestions for making child welfare services for youth more balanced across the province to Children’s Aid executive directors from across the province.
YouthCAN hosts two resource sites for youth in care and child welfare professionals and caregivers. These sites provide information on topics for youth such as housing, finances and employment, and for professionals such as supporting youth in education and permanency.
Aftercare Benefits Initiative – Since August 1st, 2014, former Crown wards and other youth who have left or are leaving care may be eligible to enroll in the Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Societies (OACAS) Aftercare Benefits Initiative (ABI) providing comprehensive prescription, dental, vision, extended health benefits as well as a range of counselling and other life-skills supports (depression care, financial planning, career coaching, legal advice and much more). Read more here.
Education supports for youth – There are many financial and service supports available for current and former youth in care to assist with post-secondary school costs. To access more information visit YouthCAN’s website.