Children and Youth At Risk

Child Protection Services

Child Protection Services are provided by CASs, which are mandated through the CFSA to protect children and youth who have been, or are at risk of being, abused and neglected; provide for their care and supervision, and place children for adoption. In 2013-14, CASs completed 81,393 investigations into allegations that a child/children has/have been abused or neglected or is/are at risk of abuse or neglect. In 2013-14, the average number of children in care was 16,434 and the average number of Crown wards in Ontario was 7,030.

The ministry is working with Ontario's 47 CASs to make the child protection system more accountable, flexible and responsive to the needs of children, youth and their families. This includes the development and collection of performance indicators to better understand how well children and families are being served. In 2015, the ministry began reporting aggregate information on the performance of CASs in five key areas that reflect the safety, permanency, and well-being of children and youth.

In addition, changes to the CFSA since 2006 have created more permanency options for children and youth in care. These changes make it easier for relatives or community members to provide permanent homes for children and youth. They also allow more children to be adopted, while still maintaining ties to their birth family and to their community.

In 2011, the Building Families and Supporting Youth to be Successful Act was passed. Along with other reforms, this Act amended the CFSA to make it easier for prospective parents to adopt a child, provide permanent homes for more Crown wards, and better prepare youth for adulthood. In addition, as of June 15, 2012, eligible families who adopt or take legal custody of a Crown ward who is ten years old or more, or of two or more Crown wards who are siblings, will receive subsidies from CASs to help with the cost of caring for their children.

Permanency can be achieved when CASs use other placement options, such as kinship care and formal customary care, to support more effective permanency planning. Kinship care allows the child to receive care and nurturing by a relative, community member, or other adult with whom the child has a significant relationship.

Kinship caregivers are required to meet provincial foster care requirements, including completing a home study and participating in a training curriculum designed to help prepare for the responsibility of caring for the child.

Formal Customary Care is the placement of a child considered to be in need of protection with alternative caregivers pursuant to a First Nation Band Council Resolution and a Formal Customary Care Agreement that has been entered into by a First Nation and a CAS or a CAS designate. The customary care placement must meet licensing standards and is supervised by the CAS. In 2013, the ministry released a practical guide on formal customary care for CASs and First Nations. Formal Customary Care, A Practice Guide to Principles, Processes and Best Practices was developed to increase understanding of this placement option for Aboriginal children and youth in need of protection. In addition, province-wide training was provided to CASs and First Nations to further support understanding and utilization of formal customary care.

Performance Measure: Number of completed adoptions.

Adoption Type 04-05 05-06 06-07 07-08 08-09 09-10 10-11 11-12 12-13 13-14 14-15
Private 140 166 136 122 103 94 80 82 74 75 73
International 611 491 572 447 402 370 318 243 197 162 153
CAS - Public Adoptions 916 812 851 822 824 995 979 838 837 974 897

*CAS-Public Adoption data for 2014-15 is based on actual data through December 31, 2014 and forecast to March 31, 2015.
** Private and International Adoption data is current as of March 31, 2015.

Performance Measure: Average number of children in formal customary care.

Average number of children in 06-07 07-08 08-09 09-10 10-11 11-12 12-13 13-14 14-15
Kinship care 1,004 978 1,040 1,072 1,078 1,066 987 907 821
Customary care 451 702 951 1,034 1,089 1,212 1,304 1,388 1,361

* All service data for 2014-15 is based on actual data through December 31, 2014 and forecast to March 31, 2015.