Children and youth in and from care need support to maximize their healthy physical, emotional, social and cultural development.

Short-term recommendations

It is essential and urgent that...

  • ...the ministry reviews all current and any new policies to ensure that they “let kids be kids”
    • The needs of children and youth are individually assessed throughout care and not determined solely based on age.
    • The ministry and children's aid societies work together to find new ways of assessing risk so that children and youth in care can participate easily and safely in sleepovers, field trips, and other activities.
  • ...children and youth in and from care have ongoing opportunities to learn life skills from their caregivers and through locally-developed programs based on a provincially-mandated skills inventory.
    • Caregivers are trained and encouraged to integrate life skills learning into the home or residence in practical ways (e.g. doing laundry, cooking, banking).
    • Children's aid societies work with community agencies to deliver life skills programs.
  • ...children and youth in care have ongoing, culturally-sensitive and age appropriate conversations with caregivers, children aid society workers and supportive community members about important topics including sexual identity and orientation, gender, and healthy behaviour
    • Children and youth are engaged in discussions on topics such as building healthy relationships and identity.
  • ...children's aid societies provide comprehensive support for the mental, emotional, and physical health and wellbeing of children and youth in care
    • Children and youth experiencing mental health challenges are assessed on an ongoing basis to make sure they are receiving the appropriate, evidence-informed treatment that considers counselling and other non-medical therapies.
    • Supports address any attachment- and trauma- related issues that a child or youth may have experienced.
    • Children and youth are aware of their right to make an informed decision regarding treatment (including medication) and are actively engaged in their treatment plans.
    • Children's aid societies connect children and youth to the right services with community partners (e.g. community mental health services).
    • Children's aid society workers and caregivers receive training about mental health issues and how to address them.
    • Children's aid society workers and caregivers encourage and support children and youth to participate in physical activities.
    • Children's aid societies work with health providers to meet any specialized medical needs.
  • ...children and youth in and from care have an age-appropriate written roadmap that describes what to expect as they enter, live in, and leave care.
    • Workers provide the roadmap and have ongoing discussions with children and youth about what they can expect to experience while they are in care. This package includes information about the rights of and supports available to children and youth in care.
  • ...children and youth have access to important information about their own lives.
    • Children and youth have access to their own files in a timely way.
    • Children and youth have emotional supports when accessing their files.
    • Children and youth have access to information about their families and treatment histories.
    • The ministry work with children's aid societies to develop best practices on how staff can share important information with children and youth about their lives (e.g. verbal history, written case file).
  • ... youth who face additional barriers to independence, such as mental health needs or physical or developmental disabilities, are provided with individualized support as they leave care
    • When available and appropriate, youth are connected to relevant transitional-age or adult support systems or services.

It is very important that...

  • ...children and youth have access to culturally appropriate services and the opportunity to develop their identities with respect to their culture, race, gender, sexual identity and orientation, spirituality, religion and community of origin