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  • Stephen Lecce, MPP

Ontario Supporting the Futures of Children and Youth

TORONTO — The Ontario government has introduced legislation today that, if passed, would further improve the safety, well-being and privacy of children and youth in care and other licensed out-of-home care settings.

“These changes represent a significant step towards achieving our government’s vision of an Ontario where all children, youth, and families, including those in the child and youth services sector, have the resources and supports they need to succeed and thrive,” said Michael Parsa, Minister of Children, Community and Social Services.

  • Strengthening the ministry’s oversight of foster care and group homes, including stronger licensing enforcement tools to hold them accountable to the high standards and safeguards in place to help keep children and youth safe and healthy.

  • Enhancing privacy protections of those who are currently or were formerly in the child welfare system by further restricting access to personal childhood histories and protection records.

  • Increasing the frequency that children’s aid societies are required to visit children in care, such as children in foster homes and group homes, to support their continued safety and well-being.

  • Expanding the type of information individuals working with vulnerable children and youth can be required to provide beyond formal police record checks, such as an offence declaration.

  • Ensuring children’s aid societies and out-of-home care licensees provide children and youth with information about the Ombudsman and how to contact their office.

  • Looking at ways to give placing agencies more flexibility to ensure siblings can stay together in the same foster home when possible.

These changes, if passed, build on the government’s ongoing work to transform child and family services to improve children and youth well-being. This includes the new Ready, Set, Go program launched in April 2023 that connects youth in the child welfare system with the life skills and supports they need to pursue postsecondary education, skilled trades training and employment opportunities.

The Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services and the Ministry of Education will also continue to work together to put in place resources, tools and personnel to help students and at-risk youth get the job skills they need to build a brighter future.

Quick Facts

  • The children and youth services sector includes children’s aid societies and out-of-home care settings, such as licensed group homes, staff-model homes, foster homes, mental health treatment facilities, secure treatment facilities, and youth justice open and secure custody/detention facilities.

  • In 2023, Ontario launched the Ready, Set, Go program to improve long-term outcomes for youth leaving the child welfare system by investing $170 million over three years. The program helps youth access supports to achieve financial independence through life skills development and supports to pursue post-secondary education, training and pathways to employment.

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