Inconsistent practices across group care settings prevent some youth from receiving the supports and opportunities that they need to transition from care successfully. The Working Group sees the recommendations below as a starting point for positive change.

Short-term recommendations

It is essential and urgent that....

  • ... the group care system is evaluated to make sure that it focuses on the best outcomes for youth, starting with a process that listens to the voices of youth in and from group care.
    • A third party, in consultation with the ministry, children's aid societies, group care providers and youth, examines practices and policies in group homes to identify strengths and weaknesses in the sector and focus on how group care providers can provide consistent, appropriate, high quality care.
  • ...the ministry improves oversight of group care providers to ensure that children and youth have consistent, high quality care within a clear licensing and accountability framework.
    • Additional methods of oversight are considered, such as unannounced inspections or third-party accreditation.
  • care providers are supported to have the skills and tools to respond constructively to challenging youth behaviour.
    • Staff respond to behaviours constructively and attempt to understand the needs behind the behaviour. Staff work with youth to address behaviour issues in the manner most likely to encourage the youth to accept and change their behavior willingly.
    • Caregivers in group homes are trained in conflict prevention and de-escalation and best practices in providing care youth feel confident that group care is set up to promote healthy relationships and development.
  • ... children and youth in group care have consistent and stable relationships with group care staff.
    • Worker assignments take into account the needs and preferences of children and youth.
    • Group care providers make staff retention a priority.
  • care providers increase partnerships with community agencies to link children and youth with relevant programs, services, supports and opportunities in their communities.
  • ...the ministry work with group care providers to clarify and reinforce policies and best practices to make sure they are followed, particularly the policy on the use of restraints.
  • ...the ministry provides updates on ongoing ministry investigations at group care facilities to help children's aid societies plan for alternative arrangements for children and youth staying in those residences.