Since its creation, the Ministry of Children and Youth Services has developed considerable expertise in the area of child and youth development. This focus on child development informs our role as a champion and catalyst for the positive outcomes of all children and youth in Ontario. The ministry actively shares that expertise and works in partnership to create opportunities for the voices of children and youth to be heard across government.

Healthy Child Development

  • The Preschool Speech and Language Program identifies children with speech and language disorders as early as possible and provides these children with services to enable them to develop communication and early literacy skills so they are ready to learn when they start school.
Preschool Speech and Language Program (number of children in active service)
2003-04 2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10 2010-11 2011-12 2012-13 2013-14 2014-15
36,038 36,716 39,476 43,384 47,583 51,572 51,577 51,977 54,455 56,605 58,863 58,031
2015-16 2016-17
60,082 60,552
  • The Infant Hearing Program provides newborn hearing screening in hospitals and community settings, audiology assessment and hearing aid selection, monitoring for babies born at risk of early childhood hearing loss, and services to support language development in infants and preschool children who are deaf or hard of hearing.
Infant Hearing Program (number of newborns screened)
2003-04 2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10 2010-11 2011-12 2012-13
105,641 123,068 127,659 132,100 136,894 121,860 122,276 130,826 135,598 134,910
2013-14 2014-15 2015-16 2016-17
131,773 132,287 132,485 130,064
  • The Blind-Low Vision Program provides specialized early intervention and parent education services needed by families of children born blind or with low vision to help them achieve healthy development.
Blind Low Vision (number of children receiving intervention)
2007-08 2008-09 2009-10 2010-11 2011-12 2012-13 2013-14 2014-15 2015-16 2016-17
374 645 727 816 850 858 863 859 865 843
  • The Healthy Babies Healthy Children program provides screening for pregnant women and new families; and provides intensive blended home visiting intervention to families confirmed to be at risk.
Healthy Babies Healthy Children (number of women screened postpartum)
2003-04 2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10 2010-11 2011-12 2012-13
117,039 120,306 121,978 124,126 123,994 124,985 123,119 119,140 116,787 110,058
2013-14 2014-15 2015-16 2016-17
110,281 110,593 108,445 113,759
  • The Infant Development Program provides support to children and their families from birth to age five with a developmental disability or at risk of developmental delay.
Infant Development (number of children served)
2005-06 2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10 2010-11 2011-12
11,754 12,249 12,630 12,798 13,640 13,001 13,146
2012-13 2013-14 2014-15 2015-16
13,481 13,464 13,660 13,686

Note: 2016-17 data is not available until Summer 2017

  • In 2015-16, the ministry has also provided an additional $1.1 million in funding to the Student Nutrition Program, bringing the province’s total budget for the program to $32.3 million. This helped created approximately 160 new programs in provincially funded schools and helped implement a new stream of the program serving 63 First Nations across 120 program sites. As a result, over 890,000 children and youth received healthy snacks or meals through the Student Nutrition Program to support their learning and healthy development.

Child Welfare

  • The ministry has introduced new subsidies and supports to ensure more young people remain in a stable home environment.
  • The government passed legislation granting the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth investigatory functions over children’s aid societies.
  • The ministry is supporting the designation of additional Indigenous child well-being societies to ensure culturally appropriate and accessible services and supports.
  • The ministry has made progress on all ten 2015 Office of the Auditor General of Ontario’s (OAGO) recommendations that require ministry action. In addition the ministry has taken action to ensure that societies are addressing the findings:
    • Beginning in 2015-16, all societies are posting travel expenses incurred by their executive-level staff and board members on their public-facing websites.
    • In December 2015, the Minister sent a letter to Boards of Directors of all societies to remind them of their responsibility to comply with all legislation, regulations, and directives, including the use of the Child Abuse Registry. Through this letter, the Minister also required Quality Improvement Plans from all societies focusing on addressing compliance issues identified by the Office of the Auditor General of Ontario.
    • All societies have a Quality Improvement Plan in place and, in March 2017, submitted their fourth progress report since the plans were initiated. The results indicate that progress has been made towards consistent provincial compliance reporting.
  • The ministry continues to work with its partners to improve the child welfare system and outcomes for children, building on the advice of the Commission to Promote Sustainable Child Welfare and other inputs.
    • The ministry continued to roll-out the end-to-end review process in two additional societies in 2016-17. End-to-end reviews will enhance society accountability and support a culture of learning and organizational continuous improvement in societies, ultimately improving services for and leading to better outcomes for children, youth and their families.
  • The ministry continued implementation of the Child Protection Information Network (CPIN) which to date, has consolidated 45 million records from 17 children’s aid societies across Ontario. CPIN is enhancing child safety through the ability to consistently track children and their outcomes, quickly transfer critical case history across societies, and get timely access to crucial information.
  • Based on 2016-17 forecasts, societies will complete about 83,330 investigations into allegations that a child/children has/have been abused or neglected or is/are at risk of abuse or neglect. The average number of children in care is 14,808 and the average number of Crown wards in Ontario is 5,125.
  • Total Number of Adoptions Completed for Every 100 Children in Care
    2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10 2010-11 2011-12 2012-13 2013-14 2014-15 2015-16
    5/100 4/100 4/100 4/100 4/100 5/100 5/100 5/100 5/100 6/100 6/100 6/100
    2016-17 Forecast

    * Note: The 2016-17 figure is a forecast as year-end actual data is not yet available.

Youth At Risk

  • The ministry is responsible for a range of Youth Opportunities programs that provide opportunities for at-risk youth to help them to achieve better life outcomes, such as:
    • Youth Opportunities Fund (YOF) – provides granting opportunities to communities across the province including on-reserve.
    • Youth Outreach Worker Program (YOW) – equips and empowers at-risk youth and their families to take action by acting as pro-social mentors and connecting youth with services and opportunities.
    • Youth in Policing Initiative (YIPI) – provides a safe and positive employment opportunity for youth and enhances the relationships between police and the communities they serve.
    • U for Change – an organization that runs mentor and training programs for youth interested in the arts by providing classes for film, fashion, dance, and job and university application training.
    • Studio Y – leverages Ontario’s world-leading, social innovation infrastructure at MaRS to educate and harness youth talent to address the province’s complex social and economic challenges.
  • Youth Opportunities programs are aimed at preventing youth crime. According to the Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics, between 2003 and 2015 the youth crime rate in Ontario decreased by 46 percent, and over the same time period, the youth violent crime rate in Ontario decreased by 39 percent. Ontario has the third lowest youth violent crime rate in Canada.
  • Youth Crime Rate and Youth Violent Crime Rate (2003-2015)
      2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011
    Youth Crime Rate 5,933.57 5,946.59 5,803.65 5,932.41 5,921.65 5,604.06 5,427.85 4,951.10 4,438.03
    Youth Violent Crime Rate 1,686.19 1,789.64 1,794.93 1,796.28 1,805.49 1,736.15 1,640.66 1,563.46 1,507.04
      2012 2013 2014 2015
    Youth Crime Rate 4,089.84 3,372.12 3,203.17 3,174.78
    Youth Violent Crime Rate 1,377.52 1,179.55 1,074.96 1,031.36
    Number of Youth Accessing Opportunities in Ontario (2012-2016)
    2012-13 2013-14 2014-15 2015-16
    21,575 29,314 51,165 71,358

    * Note: Represents youth served under the Youth Opportunities Fund, Youth Outreach Worker Program, Youth in Policing Initiative (YIPI), Studio Y and U for Change.

  • Ontario announced that programs related to the Enhanced Youth Action Plan became fully operational in 2016-17. The Plan builds on the successes of the 2012 Ontario Youth Action Plan. An additional 37,500 youth are now being served by augmenting existing programs and by introducing new programs such as:
    • The Stop Now and Plan (SNAP).
    • Youth Mentorship Program (YMP).
    • Gang Prevention/Intervention Program.
    • Restorative Justice and Conflict Mediation.
    • Youth Justice Family Worker Program.
  • Enhanced Ontario Youth Action Plan funded services are provided in the GTHA, Brantford, Kingston, London, Ottawa, Peterborough, Sudbury, Thunder Bay and Windsor.
  • The ministry is expanding granting opportunities to communities across the province, including First Nations on-reserve communities.

Indigenous Children and Youth

  • The ministry is co-implementing the Ontario Indigenous Children and Youth Strategy with First Nations, Métis, Inuit and urban Indigenous partners in Ontario. Through the strategy, Indigenous communities and the ministry are strengthening bonds to their community and culture, and improving services to meet the needs of Indigenous children and youth. This will enable First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities to have a holistic, culturally-based and community-driven approach to children and youth services.
  • Through the Family Well-Being program, more than 200 Indigenous communities will develop and deliver supports and services, which includes hiring and training more front-line service workers, developing community-based programming and creating safe spaces.
  • The ministry continues to support the designation of Indigenous child well-being societies to support Indigenous communities to look after their children through culturally-appropriate practices. In 2016-17, there were five Indigenous agencies moving through the designation process; one of the five agencies was designated on April 1, 2017.

Mental Health

  • As part of Ontario’s Mental Health and Addictions Strategy, the ministry is continuing to implement Moving on Mental Health. As of December, 2015, 31 of the 33 lead agencies have been identified in communities across the province. Lead agencies are leading planning processes to identify and respond to the mental health needs of children and youth in their communities. Interim community planning processes are in place in the remaining two service areas with all lead agencies expected to be identified in 2017-18. The ministry has defined a set of common core services to be available, over time, across the Province, and is in the process of developing a needs-based funding allocation model for child and youth mental health core services.
  • Since the launch of Moving on Mental Health, the focus has been on putting the foundation in place to support a high-quality responsive system that meets the needs of children and youth. With this in place, the emphasis is now on strengthening the impact on-the-ground for children, youth and families, through building stronger and more sustainable pathways including:
    • Aligning services across sectors.
    • Integrating access.
    • Enhancing transition planning.
  • In early Fall 2016, the ministry received approval to develop and implement the Child and Youth Mental Health Business Intelligence (BI) Solution. Through the BI Solution, data will be provided to the ministry and agency staff to inform service delivery, planning, performance measurement and monitoring, and continuous improvement of the child and youth mental health system for children, youth and their families.
  • Building on the work of the three year suicide prevention plan (2012 to 2015), in June 2016 Ontario announced investments in culturally appropriate well-being and mental health supports for Indigenous children and youth through the Ontario First Nations Health Action Plan and The Journey Together: Ontario’s Commitment to Reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples. These youth life promotion/suicide prevention supports include:
    • Holistic response and prevention supports.
    • Enhancing the Tele-Mental Health Service to enable more outreach to Indigenous communities and additional consultations.
    • Indigenous mental health and addictions workers and supports for students in First Nation Schools.
  • Clinicians from the ministry’s Child and Parent Resource Institute are regularly invited to speak across Canada and internationally about evidence-based clinical programming and ministry research in areas such as Trauma-informed Care, Tourette’s Syndrome, psychotropic medication monitoring, attachment disorders and sensory processing disorder.
  • CPRI has also partnered with interRAI, an international collaborative of more than 85 experts from 40 countries, to publish evidence-informed assessment and care planning tools; and with the Canadian Institute of Health Information (CIHI), to leverage information from the tools to improve accountability, outcome measurement and provide the ministry with information to compare and evaluate. Sixty-five organizations are currently implementing interRAI, including: 16 Lead Agencies, 2 Lead Agency/Hospitals, 38 Core Service Agencies, 2 Core Service Agencies/Hospitals, two School Boards, with over 40,000 Children and Youth Assessments completed.

Special Needs

  • Together, with the ministries of Education, Community and Social Services, and Health and Long-Term Care, MCYS is implementing the Special Needs Strategy with a vision of an Ontario where children and youth with special needs and their families get the timely and effective services they need to participate fully at home, at school, in the community, and as they prepare to achieve their goals for adulthood.
  • Under the Special Needs Strategy, children’s service providers, community and mental health service providers and district school board representatives across the province are working together to support the continued phased implementation of Coordinated Service Planning throughout 2017-18.
  • The ministries will work closely with local communities for the Integrated Delivery of Rehabilitation Services, where newly formed steering committees will develop final proposals and implementation plans throughout 2017-18; transition to new service delivery models is expected to begin as early as Fall 2018.

Autism Spectrum Disorder

  • On March 29, 2016, Ontario announced an investment of $333 million over five years to launch the new Ontario Autism Program to make it easier for families to access services for their children by reducing wait times, providing more flexible services based on children's needs, and serving more children and youth.
  • On June 28, 2016, Ontario announced an additional $200 million investment over 4 years to enhance supports for families as they transition to the new Ontario Autism Program, and to accelerate the program by one year. Ontario committed to:
    • Enhancing access to autism services so that families will no longer need to apply to two programs or receive multiple assessments or service plans. There will be a single point of entry for autism services in each region.
    • Increasing the number of treatment spaces available so that more children and youth with autism can receive the services they need sooner.
    • Expanding services so that children of all ages can receive services that meet their unique needs.
  • Implementation of the new Ontario Autism Program is beginning in June 2017, with the program expected to be fully in place by Spring 2018.
  • In January 2017, the ministry established five new time-limited diagnostic hubs to improve the availability of timely Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) diagnostic assessments. The hubs will complete an additional 2,000 assessments by March 2018 so that more children can begin accessing services as quickly as possible.
  • The ministry is partnering with clinical experts and children’s services organizations to demonstrate four new pre-diagnosis early intervention models in Ontario over the next three years. The pilots, launched in February 2017, are play-based and are delivered in natural settings (e.g., child’s home or the playground) to help very young children meet individualized goals.
  • The ministry in partnership with the Ministry of Community and Social Services (MCSS) launched three supported employment demonstrations to support young people (ages 14-30) with ASD as they transition into the workforce. The demonstrations will be delivered for two years throughout 2016-17 and 2017-18. Each agency has a target of supporting 60 clients with ASD in attaining and maintaining paid employment over the two-year period.
  • Annual Autism Funding for IBI/ABA
      2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10 2010-11 2011-12 2012-13 2013-14
    AIP/IBI 49.82 61.39 74.54 96.08 110.56 114.55 117.04 115.79 115.38 118.87
    ABA - - - - - - - 24.81 24.97 25.00
      2014-15 2015-16 2016-17
    AIP/IBI 120.51 120.34 131.80
    ABA 25.00 27.62 38.30

    *Notes: Figures from 2004-5 – 2010-11 numbers reflect IBI services only; Applied Behavioural Analysis (ABA) services commenced midway through 2011-12; Figures from 2011-12 – 2014-15 numbers reflect IBI and ABA

    Number of children receiving Autism services
      2005-06 2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10 2010-11 2011-12 2012-13 2013-14 2014-15 2015-16
    IBI 795 1,125 1,404 1,306 1,428 1,437 1,418 1,409 1,460 1,465 1,407
    ABA - - - - - - 4,096 8,926 8,445 8,000 9,262
      2016-17 Target
    IBI 1,529
    ABA 12,040

    *Notes: ABA services commenced midway through 2011-12; the number of IBI and ABA clients served is the service target. Actual number of children served data will not be available until Summer 2017.

Infrastructure Program

  • In 2016-17, the ministry continued to implement its multi-year asset management plan for the ministry’s funded transfer payment agency sites and direct-operated sites. These sites are used to deliver a variety of ministry programs and services.
    • The asset management plan focused on sustaining existing assets to support the delivery of ministry-funded programs, supporting program enhancements to meet service demands and enabling program transformation.
  • As of March 2017, the ministry had provided $19.3 million for upgrades and repairs at approximately 170 community agencies across Ontario. These investments will help children's treatment centres, children’s aid societies, youth centres and other sites used to deliver ministry programs maintain and improve their facilities.
Table: Ministry Interim Actual Expenditures 2016-17
Ministry Interim Actual Expenditures ($M) 2016-17 *
Operating $4,464,965,800
Capital $92,928,900
Staff Strength ** (as of March 31, 2017) 2,187.39

* Interim actuals reflect the numbers presented in the 2017 Ontario Budget.

** Ontario Public Service Full-Time Equivalent positions.