On March 29th, 2018 the Ministry of Children and Youth Services officially proclaimed the Child, Youth and Family Services Act (CYFSA). The Act and the majority of the regulations came into force on April 30th, 2018, with Part X (Personal Information) coming in to force January 1st, 2020. The CYFSA replaces the Child and Family Services Act. You can access the CYFSA and its supporting regulations on the e-Laws website at https://www.ontario.ca/laws/statute/17c14.
The Act 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.
Supporting Information for Residential Service Providers
The first regulation to take effect was the age of protection (January 2018). The Ministry developed supporting information on this area of the CYFSA, provided 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)
In May 2018, the Ministry of Children and Youth Services released a series of four fact sheets to support residential service providers in understanding and becoming compliant with the new regulations, followed shortly thereafter with two detailed presentations – one on the legislation and one focused on the regulations. You can access the fact sheets and presentations below.
- Fact Sheet 1 - New Regulatory Provisions for Licensed Residential Settings: Licensing Applications and Operational Requirements (pdf)
- Fact Sheet 2 - New Regulatory Provisions for Licensed Residential Settings: Physical Safety (pdf)
- Fact Sheet 3 - New Regulatory Provisions for All Service Providers: Use of Physical Restraint (pdf)
- Fact Sheet 4 - New Regulatory Provisions for Licensed Residential Settings: Quality of Care (pdf)
- Presentation 1 - CYFSA Legislation (pdf)
- Presentation 2 - CYFSA Regulations (pdf)
LGBT2SQ Children and Youth in the Child Welfare System: A Resource Guide
On April 26th, 2018 the Ministry of Children and Youth Services announced the release of Serving LGBT2SQ Children and Youth in the Child Welfare System: A Resource Guide. The resource guide provides practical information and tools to help child welfare workers, caregivers, children’s aid societies and group care providers better meet the needs of LGBT2SQ children and youth when they are coming into care, when they are in care and when they are transitioning out of care. The guide also provides information to service providers to support families who are struggling with their child or youth’s identity. You can access the guide at the below links:
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.