Ontario Pledges Commitment to Improve Care in the Child Protection System
TORONTO - Ontario's Government for the People is committed to improving outcomes in Ontario's child protection system through the creation of three new roundtables dedicated to sharing ideas for improvement. Overseen by three Chairs appointed by and reporting directly to the Minister of Children, Community and Social Services, the three new roundtables would be made up of those with lived experience in the fields of Indigenous child welfare, children-in-care, and youth-in-custody.
"Ontario's most vulnerable children and youth deserve better outcomes," said Lisa MacLeod, Minister of Children, Community and Social Services. "Our first step to making necessary improvements will be the establishment of advocacy tables which will have direct access to decision makers."
First announced in the government's Fall Economic Outlook and Fiscal Review, the oversight responsibility for investigations related to Ontario's children would transition to the Office of the Ontario Ombudsman. The same enabling legislation outlines that investigative staff from the office of the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth would transfer to the Ombudsman's office, transferring a turn-key children's unit that will ensure high quality service and proper resources for child and youth investigations.
"We recognize that Ontario's child protection and youth justice systems are struggling to provide the best outcomes for children and youth in care and custody," said MacLeod. "That's why I will be formally requesting that Ontario's Ombudsman immediately review all pending investigative reports by the Advocate so the new higher standard can be applied immediately."
The Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services is already working to support this transition by facilitating discussions between the Office of the Ombudsman and the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth to ensure a seamless transition.