2023 Review of the Child, Youth and Family Services Act, 2017 (CYFSA)
From May 8 to July 14, we are asking for your feedback on ways to improve child, youth and family services in Ontario.
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The Child, Youth and Family Services Act (CYFSA or act) is the primary legislation governing child, youth and family services that are provided, funded or licensed by the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services. This includes services such as:
- child welfare
- youth justice services
- secure treatment
- children’s developmental services
- out-of-home care services (also known as residential services)
- community support services (including prevention services, counselling or mental health supports)
- adoption services
Every five years, we are required to formally review the act and publicly report on the findings of the review.
The CYFSA was proclaimed in 2018 and the 2023 review will be the first review of the legislation. The review is scheduled to conclude by the end of 2023.
About the review
The review will focus on 6 key areas:
- Child and youth rights: assessing how rights are respected when receiving services
- First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples: evaluating progress on Indigenous people’s self-determination over child and family services and assessing how well services are meeting obligations (such as, providing culturally appropriate services and consultation with communities)
- Equity and anti-racism: addressing overrepresentation in services and further embedding equity and anti-racism within the act
- Prevention and community-based care: increasing access to holistic prevention and early intervention services, including a focus on family well-being, community-based care and protection from sexual exploitation
- Quality services: continuing to improve the quality of services, with a particular focus on out-of-home care, youth leaving care and anti-human trafficking
- Accountability: enabling greater accountability through oversight, governance, financial performance, data, outcomes measurement and requirements
During the next several months, we will meet with key partners and stakeholders to gather input, including:
- community-based agencies
- service providers
- Indigenous communities and organizations
You do not have to provide any identifying information about yourself, including what services you are receiving or might have received. If you choose to share personal information, it will be collected and kept private according to Ontario privacy legislation.
Please do not provide any personal information or identifying information about other persons without their express consent.
Option 1: fill out the form online
All questions are optional. The time it will take you to complete the survey will depend on how many questions you choose to answer and the length of your responses.
All responses will be anonymous.
Option 2: mail or email your feedback to us
We will accept responses in writing in English or French. Download the discussion guides to help guide your feedback.
Download the discussion guide for youth, families and caregivers
Download the discussion guide for service providers
The questions in the discussion guides are the same as those on the online form.
If you want to provide other types of feedback (for example, drawings or voice recordings) you are also welcome to do so. To be considered, we must receive your input by July 14, 2023, either by:
- email: CYFSA@ontario.ca
- regular mail:
Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services
CYFSA Review Project,
2 Bloor St West, 30th Floor
Toronto, Ontario M7A 2T2
Please consider answering these questions in your reply. This will help us better understand the comments you provide and your connection to children, youth and family services.
Are you providing your response(s):
- as an individual
- on behalf of an organization (please identify)
With respect to services governed by the Child, Youth and Family Services Act (CYFSA), are you:
- someone who is currently seeking or receiving services or supports
- someone who has previously sought or received services or supports
- a family member of someone who is receiving or has received services or supports
- a friend of someone who is receiving or has received services or supports
- a parent, foster parent, customary caregiver or a kinship caregiver
- someone who works in the child, youth and family services sector as a:
- service administrator/director
- front-line worker/professional
- private adoption licensee, adoption practitioner, or birth parent counsellor
- staff providing out of home care (for example, working in a group home)
- First Nations band or community
- other (please explain)
You are welcome to send additional or supportinginformation as an attachmen by emailt. We look forward to hearing from you as we conduct the review.
After the survey closes, we will analyze your feedback and create a public report.
While we will review all information that we receive, it may not be possible to address all the feedback in the public report.
Get support if you need it
We understand that some of the topics can be hard to talk about. If you need to talk to someone, please reach out to the Kids Help Phone.
- Text: 686868
What we’ve heard so far
Over the last five years, we’ve heard feedback on ways to improve the Child, Youth and Family Services Act. This is a summary of what we’ve heard.
Child and youth rights
There are opportunities to improve child and youth rights to ensure that they are being protected and promoted under the CYFSA, such as:
- further clarifying and defining the rights of children and youth, including the right to be connected to family, community and culture as well as to other caring adults
- articulating CYFSA-related rights of First Nations, Inuit and Métis children and youth as well as their families and communities
- providing children and youth receiving services with ongoing and accessible opportunities to have their rights explained to them and to speak to someone who can help them if their rights are violated
- increasing the role of children and youth in their own care and in giving feedback on services
- enhancing standards for how rights are upheld in out-of-home care and youth justice settings
- increasing the ability of children and youth to access their own information and ensuring that the privacy of former children and youth in care is respected
First Nations, Inuit and Métis children, youth and families
There are opportunities to improve how the CYFSA governs services for First Nations, Inuit and Métis children, youth and families include:
- continuing to enable and support Indigenous peoples to design and deliver their own models of child and family services, including those governed under Indigenous law
- increasing the availability, accessibility and delivery of culturally appropriate services for First Nations, Inuit, Métis and urban Indigenous children, youth and families
- improving societies’ compliance with obligations (such as providing notice) when serving First Nations, Inuit, Métis and urban Indigenous children, youth and families
- harmonization between the CYFSA and the federal legislation, An Act respecting First Nation, Inuit and Métis children youth and families, which came into force in 2020, to ensure that all Indigenous children, regardless of the system under which they receive services, have access to supports they need
- considering Indigenous-specific recommendations in recent inquests and reports, such as those from the Office of the Chief Coroner, the Ontario Ombudsman and the Ontario Human Rights Commission
- ensuring that data collection and its approach is trauma-informed and that it considers an individual’s lived experience, including the effects of inter-generational trauma
Equity and anti-racism
There are opportunities to address anti-racism within services provided under the act, including:
- strengthening supports and requirements to reduce the overrepresentation of specific communities in child, youth and family services
- improving practices to better protect children, youth and families from racism and discrimination in services
- increasing equity and cultural competency, as well as trauma-informed practices, in services for children, youth and their families.
- ensuring that the policies, tools and protocols used in services are equity-based and culturally appropriate and that they are delivered appropriately and free of bias
- improving how identity-based data collection is used to improve service delivery under the CYFSA
Prevention and community-based care
There are opportunities to better support service providers to deliver prevention and community-based services, including:
- reducing legislative barriers to collaboration across sectors so that more holistic services can wrap around a child, youth or family in times of need
- increasing the availability of, and access to, community-based services that support family and community well-being and healthy child and youth development
- recognizing the safety and well-being of children and youth is tied to the well-being of their families, caregivers and communities
- increasing access to prevention, early identification and early intervention services to better support healthy child development and family well-being, and respond to issues like mental health, substance use, intimate partner violence, human trafficking and sexual exploitation
There are opportunities to improve quality in CYFSA-governed services that have been suggested over the past five years include:
- identifying ways to improve how societies can more effectively deliver services that are high quality
- improving the quality of services that children and youth receive in out-of-home care settings
- improving policies, standards, protocols, training and qualifications used in CYFSA-governed services
- identifying and addressing barriers that prevent more effective coordination across services, systems and jurisdictions
There are opportunities to ensure greater accountability, such as:
- strengthening the accountability of societies and other CYFSA-governed service providers through increased oversight, complaints mechanisms, data collection and outcomes measurement.
- increasing compliance of societies and other service providers in meeting distinct obligations when serving Indigenous children, youth and families
- better use of data to monitor, assess and drive improvements in services, including addressing the overrepresentation of communities.
- increasing oversight of out-of-home care providers
- supporting a modern and sustainable private adoption sector through greater accountability and consistent practices
- reducing unnecessary reporting that limits front-line providers’ capacity to spend time building sound relationships with children, youth and families
If you have any questions or are interested in learning more, we are here to listen and help. You can send an email to the ministry’s Child, Youth and Family Services Act Review Project at CYFSA@ontario.ca.