The Ontario government released its plan today to modernize the child welfare system. The strategy focuses on strengthening families and communities through prevention, early intervention and seeking more permanent homes for children and youth in care when they cannot stay in their own homes or communities.

The strategy to redesign the child welfare system has five pillars that focus on:

  • Strengthening family well-being through community-based prevention services that keep children safe in family-based settings;
  • Improving the quality of residential care provided to children and youth;
  • Promoting the development of stable and lifelong connections and supports for youth, with a focus on education and employment opportunities;
  • Improving the adoption experience and focusing on family-based options over group care where appropriate; and
  • Creating a more efficient and effective child welfare system that is financially sustainable.

The new child welfare strategy was developed with input from youth, families, caregivers, First Nations, Inuit and Métis partners, lawyers, community organizations, frontline workers and child welfare sector leaders. They participated in over 100 engagement sessions over the past year and provided over 3,000 responses to an online survey.

Quick Facts

  • More than 12,000 children and youth are in the care of children’s aid societies in Ontario. This includes children and youth in kinship care, foster care and group care placements.
  • In addition to children and youth in care, those in need of protection may be placed with a family member or community caregiver, without coming into the care of a society. This is known as kinship service.
  • The Ontario government invested $5 million this year to enhance access to prevention-focused customary care for Indigenous children and youth. Customary care is the culturally-specific care and supervision of a First Nations, Inuit or Métis child by a person who is not the child’s parent. Customary care allows children and youth to remain closely connected to their culture and community.

Background Information

Additional Resources

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