Appendix: Child Protection Services

Child protection services help children and youth who have been, or are at risk of being, abused or neglected, grow up in safer, more stable, caring environments.

In 2014-15 the ministry funded 46 Children's Aid Societies (CASs), including seven Aboriginal CASs (in 2015-16 the ministry now funds 47 CASs, nine of which are Aboriginal) to perform the following functions: investigate allegations of child abuse, neglect and/or risk of harm; provide protection services to children and prevention/protection services designed to strengthen the ability of families to safely care for their children; provide and supervise alternate living arrangements when children cannot remain safely at home; and facilitate adoptions for Crown wards or other permanent living arrangements for children who are receiving child protection services.

In 2014-15, the ministry took action on a number of key recommendations made by the former Commission to Promote Sustainable Child Welfare, including:

  • Continued implementation of the new funding model for child welfare that takes into account the recommendations of the Commission in the development of an alternative approach to funding child welfare;
  • Implementing a new approach to accountability for the child welfare sector which includes 26 new performance indicators;
  • Supporting a sector-led initiative to develop and implement a program of shared services for the sector, including back-office and service delivery functions; and
  • Exploring the feasibility of amalgamating additional CASs.

The ministry released ‘Formal Customary Care: A Practice Guide to Principles, Processes and Best Practices', a tool for CAS workers to help increase the uptake of customary care among First Nations communities. The guide helps CAS workers understand the importance of First Nations children and youth maintaining strong connections to their culture and communities through formal customary care arrangements.

CPIN was declared ready for use in June 2014 and was implemented at five CASs by the end of 2014-15. 5,355 families being served by CASs (20% of families in the child protection system across Ontario) are recorded and are actively being supported in the CPIN system.

To help more children and youth find permanent homes, the ministry continued implementing a policy directive that enables CASs to provide subsidies for eligible parents who adopt or take legal custody of Crown wards who are 10 years and older, or who are siblings. CASs provided subsidies of $950 per month, per child, or $11,400 per year, per child, to families with a net annual income of up to $85,000. The new funding is in addition to existing subsidies that most CASs already provide to some adoptive families. The ministry continued working with a number of Aboriginal service providers seeking designation as Aboriginal CASs.

Appendix: Reducing Poverty

The ministry continued to focus on initiatives that mitigate the effects of poverty for children and youth -and that reduce child poverty in our province. Highlights include:

  • 47,000 children and their families have been lifted out of poverty between 2008 and 2011;
  • About one million children in over 500,000 families are being helped by the Ontario Child Benefit. In addition, indexing the Ontario Child Benefit to keep pace with inflation which will result in the maximum annual child benefit increasing to $1,336 per child as of July 1, 2015;
  • Investing $32 million over the next three years to expand the Student Nutrition Program to serve about 56,000 more school-aged children and youth. During the 2013-14 school year, the program served more than 756,000 children and youth.