Policy Directive: CW 001-21 Supporting Consistency of Care for Youth whose Care Arrangements are Scheduled to Expire During the COVID-19 Pandemic
This policy directive is issued under s. 42 of the Child, Youth and Family Services Act, 2017 (CYFSA) to provide additional direction to children’s aid societies (societies) with respect to continuity of service to youth in and from care whose care arrangements are scheduled to expire during the COVID-19 pandemic, including:
- Youth in the extended care of a society whose in-care status will expire on their 18th birthday;
- Youth in the interim care of a society whose in-care status will expire on their 18th birthday;
- Youth cared for under a customary care agreement immediately before their 18th birthday, where the customary caregiver received a subsidy pursuant to the Ontario Permanency Funding Policy Guidelines; and
- Youth who have entered into a Voluntary Youth Services Agreement (VYSA) whose agreement will expire on their 18th birthday.
The requirements in this policy directive are consistent with the requirements in Policy Directive CW008-20 in every respect except for an amendment that extends requirements until September 30, 2022.
This directive does not nullify the requirements of other related policy directives but provides further direction to support societies in maintaining a consistent level of care for youth whose care arrangements are scheduled to expire during the pandemic. Other related policy directives include:
- Policy Directive: CW001-18 Continued Care and Support for Youth
- Policy Directive: CW003-18 Protection Services for 16-17 Year Olds
This policy directive will come into effect on the date of its issuance. As of this date, Policy Directive CW008-20 will no longer be in effect.
On March 11, 2020 the World Health Organization (WHO) assessed COVID-19 as a global pandemic. On March 17, 2020 the Province of Ontario declared a provincial state of emergency under s 7.0.1 (1) of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act. This caused a number of establishments across the province to close including, but not limited to: schools, child care, libraries, bars and restaurants, cinemas, recreational programs, and non-essential businesses. Ontario has experienced a second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic which resulted in the re-imposition of public health measures and restrictions across the province to prevent further spread of the virus, with additional measures in place in certain regions. The public continues to be advised by the federal and provincial government to practice physical distancing and to minimize close contact with individuals outside their households.
The intent of this policy directive is to provide direction to children’s aid societies (societies) to maintain current services and supports for youth who turn 18 over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, in order to promote consistency of care and continuity of service during this public health crisis.
When youth reach their 18th birthday while they are the subject of an extended society care order or a customary care agreement or are party to a Voluntary Youth Services Agreement (VYSA), they become eligible to enter into a Continued Care and Support for Youth (CCSY) agreement with a society.
Ontario Regulation: 156/18 General Matters under the Authority of the Minister has been amended to expand CCSY supports until September 30, 2022. During this period:
- Eligibility for CCSY has been expanded to include youth who were in interim society care on the day before their 18th birthday; and
- Societies are required to continue to provide care and support to youth receiving services under CCSY agreements, even where the youth turns 21.
This policy directive applies to societies who are entering into CCSY agreements with youth turning 18 years old over the course of pandemic. Societies are required to continue to provide the same supports and services to the youth that the youth received prior to their 18th birthday.
Nothing in this directive prevents societies from taking additional steps to protect and support youth transitioning from care during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Societies entering into CCSY agreements with eligible youth who were receiving services from the society immediately prior to their 18th birthday are required to continue to provide the same supports and services the youth received prior to their 18th birthday, unless otherwise refused by the youth. This includes making best efforts to maintain the youth’s residential placement or other living arrangements, and any financial support provided to the youth.
- Societies will make every effort to facilitate a seamless and timely transition to a CCSY agreement with all eligible youth who turn 18 during the COVID-19 pandemic. A face-to-face meeting is not required to enter this agreement. Societies may facilitate entering CCSY agreements by the use of technology (e.g., teleconference, Skype).
- Youth in care who require developmental services will only be transitioned to adult residential services where an appropriate placement has been identified and can be safely facilitated. Otherwise, youth will continue to receive supports through a society during the pandemic, and the society will be reimbursed by the developmental services agency, in accordance with current practice, once the transition is facilitated.
- The requirements listed in this Directive should in no way interfere with plans to reunify the youth with their family in the event it has been determined to be safe to do so (i.e., child protection concerns have resolved), all public health and safety concerns have been addressed, and it is in the best interest of the youth.
Issuance of policy directive CW001-21: March 1, 2021
Original signed by:
Assistant Deputy Minister
Child Welfare and Protection Division
Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services