About this Guide

This guide responds to a recommendation in the Youth Leaving Care Working Group’s Blueprint for Fundamental Change to Ontario’s Child Welfare Systemi to increase caregiver capacity to serve LGBT2SQ children and youth. It also responds to other calls for action to better support LGBT2SQ children and youth in the child welfare system, including:

In Safe and Caring Places for Children and Youth: Ontario’s Blueprint for Building a New System of Licensed Residential Services (July 2017), the government committed to developing a renewed approach to inclusion in residential services, which includes recognizing the unique needs of LGBT2SQ children and youth. The release of Serving LGBT2SQ Children and Youth in the Child Welfare System: A Resource Guide is an important step to meeting this commitment and increasing the capacity of the child welfare system to better meet the needs of LGBT2SQ children and youth.

The guide provides information and practical tools on how to support LGBT2SQ children and youth involved with the child welfare system and how to create child welfare services that are responsive to their needs. It recognizes that societies and residential service providers are at different stages in their work to better support LGBT2SQ children and youth, and have varied resources and strategies to do this. The guide can help those who are just beginning to develop policies and practices, and others that are looking to expand or enhance their current efforts.

The guide is organized into the following parts:

The guide was informed by a review of current research and promising practices, by the voices of LGBT2SQ children and youth, and by staff and caregivers involved with the child welfare system. More specifically, this included:

We would like to thank the children, youth, workers, caregivers, and leaders who contributed to this guide by sharing their experiences, advice, and recommendations on how to create a child welfare system that can better serve and meet the needs of LGBT2SQ children and youth across Ontario.

Limits of the Guide iii

This guide is a resource only and does not have the force and effect of ministry legislation, regulations, or policies. The guide is not intended to provide readers with clinical or legal advice. References concerning specific policies and legislation are current as of the publication date and are subject to change. References to resource and reference materials, Internet sites, and organizations are included for information only. Additionally, all references included from outside sources do not constitute or imply their endorsement of the guide. The Ministry of Children and Youth Services (MCYS) is not responsible for the quality of the content on non-ministry Internet sites or for ensuring that the content of the material on non-ministry Internet sites listed is up to date. The linked websites may not be available in French, unless otherwise stated. Readers should consult with appropriate management and legal counsel in their organization and give consideration to the implications of all statutory requirements, including those under Ontario’s child and family services legislation, in the development and application of LGBT2SQ-affirming and inclusive policies and programs.

i In July 2012, the Ministry of Children and Youth Services (MCYS) in conjunction with the Office of the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth established the Youth Leaving Care Working Group, made up of youth with experience living in care, as well as community partners. The Working Group collaborated over a number of months to develop recommendations to government on ways to strengthen the child welfare system.

ii Formally known as the Office of the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth (PACY).

iii The information in this guide is current to the time of publishing. Please refer to the links provided for inquiries about the most up-to-date information.