Overview

If you are going through the public adoption process, contacting the Centralized Adoption Intake Service for general information is a good place to start. You can contact a children’s aid society adoption worker for local information. You can learn about:

  • outreach and supports
  • financial support programs through your society
  • community counselling supports

If you are an adopted child or youth, you can learn about the following services and supports:

  • Aftercare Benefits Initiative
  • Living and Learning Grant
  • accessing adoption records

If you are going through the private domestic or international adoption process, there are services to help you. Your adoption licensee and/or adoption practitioner may provide you with guidance and assistance with the adoption process as well as post-adoption resources and support.

Financial support

Targeted Subsidies for adopting siblings or older children in extended society care

Eligible families who adopt or take legal custody of siblings or older children in extended society care will receive subsidies from a children’s aid society to help with the cost of care. You will receive $1,035 per month or $12,420 annually for each eligible child up until the child turns 21. You must apply to your society for the subsidy.

To be eligible, families must:

  • have a combined net family income of $97,856 or less
  • adopt or take legal custody of a child in extended society care who is eight years old or older
  • adopt or take legal custody of two or more children in extended society care who are siblings

To learn more, review the eligibility requirements and contact your local children’s aid society.

Standard subsidies for adopting younger children in extended society care

Eligible families who adopt or take legal custody of younger children in extended society care will receive subsidies from a children’s aid society. This provides families with consistent and predictable financial supports to help meet the needs of their children. You will receive $475 per month for each eligible child until the child turns 18. You must apply to your society for the subsidy.

To be eligible, families must:

  • have a combined net family income of $97,856 or less
  • adopt or take legal custody of a child in extended society care who is seven years old or younger and is not part of a sibling group (i.e., not eligible for targeted subsidies)

To learn more, review the eligibility requirements and contact your local children’s aid society.

Other subsidies for adopting children with identified and special needs

Your family may be eligible for financial support to help cover your child’s medical needs and other needs if you are unable to pay for those costs.

Your children’s aid society will evaluate your child’s needs on a case-by-case basis to determine if you are eligible for financial support. Subsidies are provided at the discretion of the society.

Contact your local children’s aid society for more information.

Outreach and support for adoptive parents

Adoption Council of Ontario (ACO)

The Adoption Council of Ontario is a not-for-profit organization providing outreach, information, support and education about public adoption, private domestic adoption, international adoption and relative adoption to:

  • adoptees
  • adoptive parents
  • potential adoptive parents
  • birth families
  • adoption professionals

Centralized Adoption Intake Service

The Centralized Adoption Intake Service has a website and support staff to assist prospective parents who are considering adoption. The service is for prospective parents who are making an initial inquiry about adoption, such as learning about the types of adoption (public, private domestic and international), the needs of children available for public adoption and post-adoption supports.

Prospective adoptive parents can also:

  • access an overview of Ontario’s adoption system
  • explore the website, learn more about adoption and decide whether adoption is right for their family
  • learn about the importance of openness in adoption for a child
  • learn about mandatory assessment requirements (that is, homestudy, parent training and background and police record checks)
  • talk with centralized intake staff and get answers to questions they have about adoption
  • get help completing an adoption application to adopt a child through their local children’s aid society, if needed, before submitting the application to the society

The Centralized Adoption Intake Service is funded by the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services and managed by the Adoption Council of Ontario.

AdoptOntario

AdoptOntario provides centralized matching of children in extended society care who are available for adoption with prospective adoptive parents who have been assessed and approved for adoption. Prospective adoptive parents can:

  • get support to be matched with children and youth available for public adoption, where appropriate, using an adoption matching database
  • learn more about caring for children and youth available for public adoption, including children with special needs

Review the policy directive for adoption matching through AdoptOntario.

Adoption Resource Exchange conferences

If you are a prospective adoptive parent interested in adopting through a children’s aid society, you can attend a provincial, regional or child-specific Adoption Resource Exchange (ARE) event hosted by the Adoption Council of Ontario.

The Adoption Resource Exchange will provide you with the opportunity to:

  • connect with children’s aid society workers and adoption professionals, view profiles and videos of children and youth available for public adoption
  • express interest in children and youth you feel would be a good fit for your family

Learn more about the Adoption Resource Exchange.

Pathways to Permanence training

If you have adopted or have a child placed with you for adoption through a children’s aid society, you can take Pathways to Permanence 2, a free post-adoption training program by the Adoption Council of Ontario.

You will learn and gain skills to help you and your family respond to the challenges you may experience with your adopted child as a result of early trauma, loss, deprivation, maltreatment or multiple placements.

Adopt4Life

Adopt4Life is an adoptive parents' association that provides support to adoptive parents and other caregivers.

Adoptive parents can benefit from peer support groups. Adopt4Life can:

  • connect you with other adoptive parents who are experiencing, or have experienced, challenges after their adoption is finalized
  • provide on-demand learning resources, as well as access to individualized support to help you navigate other service systems to meet your child and family’s needs
  • provide counselling and therapy supports to help adoptive parents and family members who have or are experiencing violence and aggression from an adopted child/adolescent

Parent2Parent Support Network

Support is available at every stage of the public adoption journey. Learn about the Parent2Parent Support Network Program.

Adoptive Family Supports

The Adoptive Family Supports Program - Aggression toward Family/Caregivers in Childhood and Adolescence (AFCCA) is a specialized support program for families who:

  • adopted children or youth with complex and/or multiple special needs through children’s aid societies
  • registered for parent peer support through the Parent2Parent Support Network Program
  • are experiencing a pattern of aggressive behavior by the child or youth towards family members or other caregivers

Learn more about how Adopt4Life can support families at Aggression toward Family/Caregivers in Childhood and Adolescence (AFCCA).

Community counselling and your child’s development

  • Adoption is a significant and life changing event for a child. It will take time to adjust. Even years later there may be challenges related to your child's adoption that you will have to work through together.

If you are concerned about the physical, mental or emotional development of your child:

  • talk to your doctor or health care provider
  • call Health Connect Ontario to get medical advice from a registered nurse

Other family members, including siblings, may also need support in welcoming and adjusting to a new family member.

It can be a long process to evolve and grow together with your adopted child. There are resources available to help your adoptive child with:

If you adopted a child with special needs, AdoptOntario and Adopt4Life can provide information on how to support and care for your child.

It’s also important to take care of your own mental health. Adopt4Life can provide support to you as a parent, to care for yourself.

Support for adopted youth

Youth who were adopted from extended society care may be eligible for financial support to help with costs of postsecondary education and health benefits.

Grant for postsecondary education

Youth who were in extended society care and other youth 21 to 24 years old who left the care of a children’s aid society who are pursuing postsecondary education may be eligible for financial assistance through the Living and Learning Grant (LLG).

Youth can get $2,000 a semester of full-time postsecondary studies to a maximum of $6,000 per academic year up to a maximum of four academic years.

Eligibility

Youth must be enrolled full-time in an Ontario Student Assistance Program at an institution approved for Ontario Student Grant and Ontario Student Loan purposes and meet at least one of the following requirements.

Option 1

Youth either:

  • have received a continued care and support for youth allowance (CCSY) from an Ontario Children’s Aid Society when they were 18, 19 and 20
  • would have been eligible to receive the continued care and support for youth allowance
Option 2

Youth:

  • were in extended society care with an Ontario Children’s Aid Society
  • were adopted on or after August 1, 2013
  • will be or were between 18 and 24 when you start postsecondary studies

Health benefits

Youth formerly in extended society care and youth adopted from extended society care who do not have access to health benefits through their employer, adoptive parents or a spouse’s plan may be eligible for the Aftercare Benefits Initiative (ABI).

ABI provides eligible youth from care between the ages of 21 to 24 with access to:

  • prescription drug coverage
  • dental benefits
  • extended health service
  • employee assistance-type benefits

The ABI program is also available to a former child in extended society care between the ages of 18 to 24 (for four consecutive years), who was adopted on or after June 1, 2016.

The program also provides counselling and life skills support services to ABI plan members up to their 29th birthday.

ABI is funded by the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services and administered by the Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Societies.

Find more information and how to apply.

Adoption records

If you were adopted as a child or you are a birth relative of an adopted child, you may be eligible to apply for information about an adoption.

You can ask for:

  • help locating adopted persons or birth family members in cases of severe medical illnesses to ask for or receive information relating to the severe medical illness
  • a redacted copy of an adoption order (this only applies to adoptive parents and adopted persons 18 or older, not birth relatives)

Adopted persons and birth parents can also apply to the Registrar General for post adoption birth information under the Vital Statistics Act.

You can also register for the Adoption Disclosure Register, a voluntary register that help connect adult adoptees and certain birth relatives.