Improving Outcomes for Children and Youth in Care
Providing and enhancing supports for children and youth in care and adoptive families creates greater opportunities for children and youth in Ontario to reach their full potential.
The Ontario government is committed to improving the child welfare system for the benefit of children and parents. New and expanded programs and supports will be added to:
- Help more young people connect with waiting families
- Reduce financial barriers for families that adopt children and youth in care
- Help families with adopted children find post adoption supports and resources
- Support culturally appropriate placements for children in care
- Make the adoption system more effective and responsive
Helping more young people connect with waiting families
The province is helping more young people find forever families by partnering with Wendy's Wonderful Kids, a successful program that employs targeted adoption recruiters. Ontario is funding up to 15 targeted adoption recruiters through this program partnership. In addition, Wendy's Wonderful Kids is also funding four additional Ontario adoption recruiters.
Other jurisdictions that have implemented this program have seen an average of 1.7 times more adoptions. The program has helped find forever families for older children and those with mental health issues. The program achieves successful family matches at about three times the average rate than of standard adoption.
As part of connecting waiting families and children, children's aid societies (CASs) will expand their use of the AdoptOntario website to increase the pool of prospective matches with Ontarians hoping to build their families.
Reducing the financial barriers for families that adopt children and youth in care
Ontario is expanding the targeted subsidies program by extending the age of eligibility to eight to 21 years (from 10 to 18 years), and updating the income threshold and subsidy amount to reflect current Statistics Canada data.
Funding will be extended to caregivers (such as foster parents) to continue providing a stable home for eligible youth, from ages 18 to 21 years, who require additional time to complete high school.
Helping families with adopted children find post-adoption supports and resources
The ministry will invest in a province wide post-adoption family support program. Post-adoption supports such as family support networks help provide healthy and stable homes for adopted children and youth, and reduce the likelihood of adoption breakdown.
Supporting culturally appropriate placements for children in care
Ontario will have CASs first consider Formal Customary Care as a placement option for First Nations children and youth. A child in Formal Customary Care is not legally in the care of the CAS; however, the placement is supervised by a CAS or CAS designate and is eligible for financial subsidies.
The number of culturally appropriate homes for First Nations children and youth will be increased by providing one-time funding of up to $5,000 to allow families to help welcome these children into their homes.
Making the adoption system more effective and responsive
We know that children do better when they have the stability of a forever family.
We have heard that there are challenges with the adoption system, and that's why we are taking action. Ontario is exploring options to improve the way adoption services are delivered to make it easier for families who want to adopt and to increase the number of children matched with adoptive families. This will include examining the approaches Ontario currently takes to deliver public, private and inter-country adoption services.