Proposed Regulatory Amendments and Policy Directive to Strengthen Supports for Youth Leaving the Care of Children's Aid Societies
Regulation - LGIC
Bill or Act:
Child, Youth and Family Services Act, 2017 (CYFSA)
Summary of Proposal:
In Ontario, court-ordered care of a child by a children's aid society expires at the time of the child's 18th birthday. Similarly, care by agreement (i.e., Voluntary Youth Services Agreement (VYSA)) expires at the time of the child's 18th birthday. To support transition for youth leaving care, s. 124 of the Child, Youth and Family Services Act, 2017 (CYFSA) and supporting regulations require children's aid societies to provide continued care and supports to all eligible youth ages 18 to their 21st birthday. These supports are currently provided through the Continued Care and Support for Youth (CCSY) program. Youth engaged in the CCSY program receive transition supports, both financial and non-financial. During the pandemic, time limited regulatory changes were enacted to extend eligibility for continued care and supports beyond the age of 21.
Research indicates that outcomes for youth in and leaving the child welfare system are typically poor compared to the general Canadian youth population. Without a stable home environment and strong relationships with peers, mentors, or adults, youth in and from care are more likely to experience a range of negative outcomes, such as homelessness, mental health concerns, unemployment, lack of educational engagement and achievement, and involvement in the justice system.
To support improved outcome for youth leaving care the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services (MCCSS) is proposing amendments to Ontario Regulation 156/18 General Matters under the Authority of the Minister. The changes being considered would:
- Strengthen accountability for children's aid societies to successfully transition children from their care, including requiring children's aid societies to:
- Work with children from the age of 13, building up readiness for years before the age of exit;
- Offer a conferencing option to children after the age of 15 that would facilitate formal planning for transition; and
- Provide children with an information package prior to their 18th birthday.
- Increase the age of eligibility for supports and services to the youth's 23rd birthday to enable a longer runway for eligible youth to prepare for transition.
To support implementation of the proposed regulatory amendments MCCSS intends to issue a new directive that will replace the existing Continued Care and Supports for Youth (CCSY) policy directive that would:
- Establish detailed operating requirements and checklists for "how" societies prepare youth for transition;
- Introduce a new requirement to complete an individualized assessment to identify needs and strengths and measure progress during transition program (e.g., housing, education, employment, supportive relationships); and
- Establish the parameters of financial supports and service requirements with respect to the new program for youth between the ages of 18 and 22.
Analysis of Regulatory Impact:
The proposed regulatory amendments and policy directive being considered will require children's aid societies to provide additional supports and services to eligible children and youth in and leaving their care arrangements to support their successful transition to adulthood in accordance with the criteria and requirements set out in regulation and policy directive.
If the regulatory and policy changes are implemented there will be associated costs with the increase in financial supports and expanded age eligibility. These costs and administrative requirements will be in the following areas:
- Education and training for children's aid society staff;
- Reporting and monitoring of youth receiving enhanced transition supports and services; and
- Costs associated with direct service delivery resulting from the expanded age-eligibility for supports and the enhanced work that will be required starting at the age of 13 for eligible youth.
It is anticipated that administrative impacts will decrease in future years as the number of children in the care of children's aid societies has been trending downward.
All ministries are subject to requirements set out in the Modernizing Ontario for People and Businesses Act, 2020 (MOPBA), which came into force January 1, 2021. As part of its obligations under the MOPBA, the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services will also complete a Regulatory Impact Analysis (RIA) to determine any additional impacts of these proposals. A regulatory impact assessment is a process of identifying and assessing the incremental benefits and costs of proposals.
February 15, 2023
Comments Due Date:
March 1, 2023
101 Bloor St. West, 3rd Floor, Toronto, Ontario M5G 2K8