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May 19, 2016

Statement

The Honourable Tracy MacCharles
Minister of Children and Youth Services

Ontario Releases Report on Child and Youth Residential Services


I am pleased to release the report Because Young People Matter, a review of Ontario’s residential services for children and youth.

I want to thank the expert panel for its invaluable and thoughtful work. The panel met with parents, foster parents, service providers and independent experts. Key input came from youth who shared their life experiences and reflect the rich diversity of Ontario, including: First Nations, Métis and Inuit youth; those who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer and two-spirited; youth with special needs; racialized youth; and those involved in the justice and child welfare systems.

The panel consisted of:


We value each of the recommendations outlined by the panel in the report. This advice, in concert with recent reports by the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth, will help inform the ministry’s next steps to improve residential services for children and youth in Ontario.

In the coming months, we will build a blueprint for reform that focuses on improving the quality of care for children and youth, enhancing oversight of licensed residential settings and using data and analytics to inform decision-making at all levels.

This work will be done collaboratively with individuals, communities, Indigenous partners and stakeholders including the Association of Native Child and Family Service Agencies of Ontario, Children’s Mental Health Ontario, the Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Societies, the Ontario Association of Residences Treating Youth, the Ontario Residential Care Association, The Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth and Youth Justice Ontario. We will bring together players from across sectors to form a panel that will help guide reforms to residential services for children and youth in Ontario. Working with the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth, we will also establish a youth panel to ensure that young people are represented in the process.

Reflecting Ontario’s unique relationship with Indigenous peoples, we will also work with our Indigenous partners to co-develop a plan that will address the specific needs of First Nations, Métis, Inuit and urban Indigenous children and youth. This work will be consistent with the vision, guiding principles and framework of the Ontario Indigenous Children and Youth Strategy. It will also respond to the Calls to Action found in the report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

While we have made progress, there is more work to be done. The upcoming changes to residential services for children and youth are the next step in the transformation across all sectors serving children and youth in Ontario.

The Honourable Tracy MacCharles
Minister of Children and Youth Services