Supportive, long-lasting relationships are critical to the success of children and youth in and from care. Children's aid societies, caregiversfootnote 4, and the ministryfootnote 5 need to commit to keeping children, youth and families as the central focus of their work and to provide them with guidance and support.

Short-term recommendations

It is essential and urgent that...

  • ...every child and youth in and from care has permanent lifelong relationships that meet their personal and cultural needs.
    • Children and youth have stable homes.
    • Children's aid societies work to find permanency for every child or youth through return to the family home, kinship placements, formal customary care, adoption, or legal custody.
    • Children's aid societies provide the supports that parents or other caregivers need to keep children and youth in their homes.
    • Children's aid society boards of directors make permanency a key goal of their organizations.
  • ...children and youth in care grow up with many opportunities to develop permanent, supportive relationships with caregivers, staff, community members and extended family.

    To support stable relationships
    • children's aid societies ...
      • match children and youth as quickly as possible to the best possible placement culturally, socially, developmentally that reflects the distinct nature of their identity
      • train caregivers and children and youth in conflict resolution skills and work with them to resolve issues
      • recruit caregivers from diverse backgrounds and those who want to foster older youth to reflect the needs of children and youth in care
      • support children and youth to maintain relationships with members of their families of origin, such as siblings, when possible
      • use kin searchers/family finders to help children and youth connect with family members
      • partner with community agencies to provide opportunities for children and youth in care to be matched with peer-mentors who have been in care or adult mentors from the community through formalized mentoring organizations that meet their individual needs (e.g. sexual identity and orientation, cultural identity)
      • whenever possible, keep children and youth assigned to the same children's aid society worker if they move residences
      • make relationships between children and youth and their workers a priority when determining service delivery models and caseloads
      • track data on placement stability to identify and address issues and concerns
    • the ministry...
      • make available the option and supports for youth to stay in their foster or group homes past the age of 18
    • caregivers...
      • help children develop the skills to form healthy relationships
      • treat children and youth in care as members of the family
      • support children and youth to remain connected to their families of origin when that is best for the child or youth
      • support children and youth to remain connected to their cultural and faith communities of origin; explore and develop their individual identities with respect to culture, race, religion, gender and sexual orientation and identity; and support them to be connected to the broader community in which they live
      • participate in plan-of-care meetings
      • encourage and support every child and youth to be physically active and to take part in extracurricular activities and hobbies
  • ...children and youth in group care have consistent and stable relationships with group care staff.
    • for specific recommendations related to group care, please see the Group Care theme on page 19.

It is very important that...

  • ...young parents who are receiving child welfare services are provided with consistent information and assistance (pre- and post-natal) to support them in caring for their children and to help create permanency for their families.
    • Young parents receive support to become good parents.
    • Youth eligible for Extended Care and Maintenance continue to receive supports if they become parents.
    • As a best practice, young parents and their children are supported in the community through the same plan of care.


  • footnote[4] Back to paragraph "Caregiver" is used to refer to foster care, group care, kin and customary care providers.
  • footnote[5] Back to paragraph "The ministry" refers to the Ministry of Children and Youth Services.