Youth leaving care

Ontario Extends Moratorium on Youth Aging out of Care

Ontario is extending the moratorium on youth aging out of care to maintain supports and services for youth whose care arrangements are scheduled to expire during the COVID-19 pandemic. This moratorium on youth aging out is now extended until September 30, 2022. This extension ensures youth in care have a longer period of security with consistent support and services during the ongoing pandemic.

During this time, the government intends to develop a model that is more responsive to the needs of young people in and from care. Ontario will be working with youth and child welfare advocates over the next year to explore options for a redesigned approach on how we can better support youth as they transition from care to adulthood.

There are many support programs for young people who have been in the care of a children's aid society. Youth who have been in the care of a society, or who are leaving care, can contact their society for more information about the programs available.

Renewed Youth Supports Program

The Renewed Youth Supports program allows youth to enter a voluntary agreement with a society to receive supports up to the age of 18. The program is specifically for youth whose court-ordered society care or customary care was terminated at age 16 or 17, on or prior to December 31, 2017. Youth also become eligible for further supports once they turn 18, including Continued Care and Support for Youth.

As a result of the age of protection being raised from 16 to 18 years old on January 1, 2018, the program will gradually be phased-out to enable youth in the program to transition out seamlessly without disruptions to service. Youth in need of protection will be able to access services from a society, including through a new Voluntary Youth Services Agreement.

Continued Care and Support for Youth

Youth who are 18 and transitioning from care may be eligible to receive financial supports of $850/month,  as well as guidance up to the age of  21.  These supports are intended to help eligible youth meet their goals in transitioning to adulthood.

Aftercare Benefits Initiative

Young adults aged 21 to 24 who have left care, and their dependents, may be eligible to receive prescription drug, dental, vision and extended health benefits. In addition, they may also be eligible to receive counselling and life skills supports up to the age of 29. Information about coverage and eligibility can be found on the Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Societies website.

Transition and life skills programs

Youth-in-transition workers connect youth who are 16 to 24 years old to community services and provide support with stable housing, education resources, employment services, and life skills training.

Registered Education Savings Plan

Societies are required to establish Registered Education Savings Plans  for eligible children and youth in care. When youth in or leaving care, customary care, or a Voluntary Youth Services Agreement, register for an eligible post-secondary education or vocational training program, they can access funds to support education-related expenses.

Stay Home for School Program

Youth 18 to 21 who are leaving care, and need additional time to complete high school, may be eligible to remain with their caregivers. Ontario has extended funding to caregivers to provide a stable home for these youth as they complete their education.

Support for postsecondary education and training

Former youth in care who are entering college or university may be eligible for programs which provide financial support, and help support the transition into adulthood. These programs include:

  • Full tuition coverage for youth leaving care who are eligible for the Continued Care and Support for Youth program, and are enrolled in a participating college or university.
  • The Ontario Student Assistance Program (known as OSAP) for college and university students. Applying to OSAP can provide former youth in care with a mix of different financial aid supports. These include university application fee refunds, bursaries, tuition grants, income exemptions and loans.
  • The Living and Learning Grant for full-time postsecondary or training program students aged 21 to 24 who are receiving OSAP. Youth can receive up to $2,000 per semester during the school year to help with their living costs.
  • Mentorship and orientation programs offered by Crown Ward Education Championship Teams. These programs can offer former youth in care help with completing high school and their transition into college or university by offering mentorship, peer support, motivation, and guidance. These Teams often include volunteers from local school boards, children's aid societies, post-secondary institutions, community agencies, Employment Ontario and provincial ministries.
  • Learn more about how former youth in care can receive help for postsecondary studies or training.