Enhancing Safety and Quality of Care for Children and Youth Across Ontario
Province Reforming Licensed Residential Services
Ontario is releasing a new plan to strengthen residential services -- including foster care, group care, custody and respite care -- to provide children and youth with safe and healthy places to live, support their growth and help them reach their full potential.
Today, Ontario released Safe and Caring Places for Children and Youth: Ontario's Blueprint for Building a New System of Licensed Residential Services, a multi-year plan for comprehensive reform to improve the quality of care, enhance the oversight of services and ensure that children and youth have a voice in helping to plan their care.
Short-term actions in the Blueprint include:
- Increasing the number of unannounced inspections of licensed residences
- Enhancing the use of data such as serious occurrence reports to improve oversight
- Enhancing scrutiny to confirm licensed residential settings are compliant with required Fire Code regulations
- Establishing Intensive Site Review Teams to conduct enhanced inspections, including interviews with staff and youth
- Supporting children and youth to understand and exercise their rights and have a say about their homes
- Implementing quality of care standards informed by young people to improve the daily experiences of children and youth
- Working with Indigenous partners, young people and other stakeholders to immediately explore options to replace the term "residential"
Long-term actions in the Blueprint include:
- Service system planning and management to help make sure the right services are available to children and youth at the right time and as close to their community as possible, particularly in northern Ontario
- Enhanced collection and use of data to improve the monitoring of placements and better support continuity of care
- A workforce development action plan, including exploring the establishment of minimum education requirements, so that all children and youth are cared for by qualified, well-trained and responsive staff
- Strengthened oversight and accountability by modernizing the licensing, compliance and enforcement framework
Ontario is also working with First Nations, Métis, Inuit and urban Indigenous partners, through the Ontario Indigenous Children and Youth Strategy, to co-develop Indigenous-specific and culturally appropriate strategies and approaches to better serve their children and youth.
Supporting children and youth and helping them reach their full potential is part of our plan to create jobs, grow our economy and help people in their everyday lives.
- In Ontario, children and youth may enter into residential care because of conflict with the law, special needs and/or mental health service needs, and/or protection concerns, including abuse or neglect.
- There are 15,469 licensed residential placements for children and youth in Ontario as of June 30, 2017.
- The Blueprint is informed by the Residential Services Review Panel’s report Because Young People Matter, a review commissioned by the Ministry of Children and Youth Services.
- Envisioning Better Care for Youth: Our Input Into the Blueprint summarizes the Residential Services Youth Panel input on the Blueprint.
“We are committing to immediate actions that address the need to provide safe, high-quality services for children currently in care. We are also developing a new system of residential services in Ontario. As we move forward, we will work with partners and stakeholders, and most importantly with youth themselves, so that their voices are at the centre of our decision-making.”
“As panel members, we have contributed our unique experiences, expertise, knowledge and skills towards this Blueprint. We are passionate about #FundamentalChange because we have each experienced life changing challenges within the system made to protect us. We are determined to make sure the system is better for future generations of youth.”
Residential Services Youth Panel
“Providing safe and caring homes to children and youth, when it is necessary, is something that children’s aid societies take very seriously. We are taking immediate and decisive action with our partners and the Ministry of Children and Youth Services to strengthen residential services. We look forward to working together to implement the Blueprint to build a quality system where children and youth are at the centre, feel safe and have their voices heard.”