Safe and Caring Places for Children and Youth: Ontario’s Blueprint for Building a New System of Licensed Residential Services
On July 19th the Ministry of Children and Youth Services (MCYS) announced the release of Safe and Caring Places for Children and Youth: Ontario’s Blueprint for Building a New System of Licensed Residential Services. The Blueprint is a multi-year plan to build a new child and youth-focused residential service system in Ontario. The Blueprint was developed using knowledge, evidence and advice from various reviews, reports, and panels including the MCYS Residential Services Reference Group The Reference Group was comprised of community stakeholders and experts in the field (of which OARTY was included). The Blueprint can be found at http://www.children.gov.on.ca/htdocs/English/professionals/childwelfare/residential/blueprint/index.aspx.
A Youth Panel comprised of young people with lived experience of residential services was also consulted in the development of the blueprint. The Residential Services Youth Panel report Envisioning Better Care for Youth: Our Input to the Blueprint detailing their input to the Blueprint can also be found on the Ministry website at http://www.studentscommission.ca/rsyp_report/index.html.
You can access the Blueprint, the Youth Panel Report, the Expert Panel on the Standards of Care for the Administration of Psychotropic Medications to Children and Youth Living in Licensed Residential Settings Summary Report, and other supporting information regarding this important release at http://www.children.gov.on.ca/htdocs/English/professionals/childwelfare/residential/index.aspx.
Growing. Together. - MCYS 2013-2018 Strategic Plan
The Ministry of Children and Youth Services has a five year strategic plan, "Growing. Together." The plan was shaped by the voices of families, and supported by experts working in the child and youth sector. It is a thoughtful, evidence-based plan, which is based on best practices, and designed specifically to prepare for the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead. You can access the plan, along with supporting documentation, below.
On June 1st, 2017, the Ministry of Children and Youth Services announced that the Child, Youth and Family Services Act successfully passed third reading. The Act will replace the Child and Family Services Act, and incorporates many initiatives that we have advocated for together, including raising the age of protection and creating a child-centered system. Key changes include:
- Raising the age of protection from 16 to 18 to increase protection services for more vulnerable youth in unsafe living conditions, to support their education and to reduce homelessness and human trafficking
- Making services more inclusive and culturally appropriate for all children and youth, including Indigenous and Black children and youth, to ensure every child receives the best possible support
- Putting a greater focus on early intervention, to help prevent children and families from reaching crisis situations at home
- Improving accountability and oversight of service providers, including children's aid societies and licensed residential service providers, so that children and youth receive safe, consistent and high-quality services across the province.
In February OARTY submitted a written submission to the Ministry regarding the Act. You can access OARTY's submission to the Ministry at the below link.
OARTY Submission - Bill 89, CYFSA - February 2017 (pdf)
It is expected that the provisions concerning the increase to the age of protection will come into effect in January 2018, while proclamation of the new Act will likely follow in the spring of 2018. The Ministry of Children and Youth Services has developed supporting documents around the increase in the age of protection - you can access these documents below:
- Policy Directive - Youth Protection Services for 16 and 17 Year Olds (pdf)
- FAQs - Protection Services for 16 and 17 Year Olds (pdf); (En Francais)
- An Office of the Children’s Lawyer notification form (docx); (En Francais)
- A Voluntary Youth Services Agreement template (docx); (En Francais)
- Protective Services for 16 and 17 Year Olds - Youth Brochure (pdf); (En Francais)
- Protective Services for 16 and 17 Year Olds - Information Sheet for Youth-Serving Agencies (pdf); (En Francais)
The first phase of the draft regulations for the CYFSA were posted online over the course of December 4th to 15th for public input. The draft regulations and statement of policy will remain open for input until January 26, 2018. You can access the proposed regulatory provisions and statements of policy at www.ontario.ca/yourvoicematters or via the Regulatory Registry at www.ontariocanada.com/registry/.
You can access the original news release, which includes a link to the Act and other background information, at the below link.