More supports for kids in care of children's aid societies
McGuinty Government expands opportunity for vulnerable youth
Children and youth in care will now have more opportunities to build the skills and confidence they will need when they leave care.
The province is providing new funding that will help kids in the care of children's aid societies participate in learning and recreational programs that support their healthy development so they are able to achieve their full potential. This new fund will provide supports that include tutoring, skills building and recreational activities for children and youth in care based on each child's individual plan of care.
In addition, youth 15 to 17 will have savings of up to $3,300 at full implementation that will be held in bank accounts they can access when they leave care. They will be provided with money management training so they will have the skills necessary to manage their savings responsibly.
The new funding is equivalent to the maximum Ontario Child Benefit payment for each child and youth, totalling approximately $11.5 million in 2008-2009, growing to $16.2 million in 2011-2012.Helping young people who are making the challenging transition out of care is part of the McGuinty government's commitment to tackle poverty. The government will continue working with its child protection partners, including young people in care, to ensure that the appropriate support and opportunities are in place.
- Research shows that youth formerly in the care of children’s aid societies are:
- Up to three times more likely to be unemployed
- Up to three times more likely to drop out of high school.
- All children and youth in care will have individual plans in place that identify supports that will assist their healthy development.
- Ontario has other types of supports in place for youth leaving care, including the Ontario Access Grant, counselling, preparation for independence programs and access to aftercare workers.
- Funding for this initiative is based on the maximum Ontario Child Benefit for every youth in care. This amounts to $850 over the next year, which includes the $250 down-payment from 2007. The amount will match the OCB in future years, growing to $1,100 per child by 2011.
“This initiative is another way the government is providing more opportunities to vulnerable children and youth so they gain the education, skills and confidence they need to reach their full potential. Lessening the risk that kids in care may experience poverty later in life is another important step in the government’s poverty reduction strategy.”
“It’s essential that we close the gap in student achievement in order for our youth to have the best future possible. We are committed to looking at the needs of particular groups of children in order to raise the bar of achievement for all of Ontario’s students.”
“We know from talking to youth that financial support is really important and youth worry about living in poverty. Helping set up bank accounts and getting help with budgeting are things that youth need. The minister’s announcement is a step in the right direction as a good parent for youth in the care of children’s aid societies. We are glad that the minister has listened to our voices and hope to have the chance to help make more opportunities for youth in care.”
Amanda Rose and Adam Diamond