Youth in and from care require support to successfully transition to independent living.

Short-term recommendations

It is essential and urgent that...

  • ... the ministry raise the age of Extended Care and Maintenance (ECM) to 25 in phases
    • The ministry immediately revise the Extended Care and Maintenance policy so that it is focused on promoting the goals of youth and is consistently applied across the province. Revisions include changing the rules so youth cannot have their Extended Care and Maintenance terminated as long as they meet the age requirement and requiring children's aid societies to have an appeals process regarding decisions to end Extended Care and Maintenance agreements.
    • In Phase 1, the ministry extends eligibility for Extended Care and Maintenance to all youth from care until age 23 and to those enrolled in post-secondary education or training until age 25.
    • In Phase 2, the ministry extends eligibility for Extended Care and Maintenance to all youth from care until age 25.
  • ... youth in care have transition plans that relate to their goals and that identify and prepare them to access relevant supports long before they leave care
    As part of the transition process, youth, with the support of their children's aid society workers and caregivers:
    • receive a package that includes all of their necessary personal documents: social insurance number, birth certificate, health card and photo identification (driver's license, passport, or government issued identification)
    • have their immigration status resolved by their children's aid society before age 18 so that they can access employment, education, and health care
    • identify housing options and develop a plan for stable housing
    • create a plan for health needs (e.g. physical, prescriptions, e.g.)
    • are connected with caregivers, extended family members, friends, and community members who are willing and prepared to act as support people; participate in transition conferences with them to plan their next steps; and
    • are connected to and supported by the local children's aid society and other community resources, including health care providers, in the communities where they choose to live after they leave care
  • ... youth from care have prescription and dental health insurance coverage from age 18 to age 25
    • Coverage should include a program that provides basic counselling, legal advice, and connections to outside service providers.
  • ... youth from care have the option to be connected to youth in transition workers
    • Youth in transition workers are available to help youth find employment supports, housing, educational opportunities and community resources when they leave care.
  • ... youth from care have access to information about services that meet their specific needs (e.g. LGBTQ, faith and cultural identity) available to them in the communities where they live

It is very important that...

  • ...children's aid societies work with youth to explore housing options before they leave care, including connecting them with supportive or transitional housing.
    • Children's aid societies work with community agencies, municipalities and the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing if required, to give priority access to social housing and transitional housing to youth from care.
    • Children's aid society workers assist youth to be placed on the social housing waiting list, if appropriate and desired.
    • Children's aid societies explore partnering with housing agencies to provide transitional housing for youth in and from care.
    • Transitional housing is available for more than one year.

Medium-term recommendations

It would support fundamental change if...

  • ...youth have access to a fund for housing start-up costs and emergencies.
    • Children's aid societies or community agencies create funds that youth can access for emergency housing costs. Youth are able to request funds more than once if needed.