Policy directive: CW004-20 Supporting Consistency of Care for Youth whose Care Arrangements are Scheduled to Expire During the COVID-19 Pandemic

This policy directive is issued under s. 42 of the Child, Youth and Family Services Act, 2017 (CYFSA) to provide direction to children’s aid societies (societies) with respect to continuity of service to youth in and from care whose care arrangements are scheduled to expire during the COVID-19 pandemic, including:

The requirements in this policy directive are consistent with the requirements in Policy Directive CW001-20 in every respect except for an amendment that extends the application of these requirements until December 31, 2020.

This directive does not nullify the requirements of other related policy directives but provides further direction to support societies in maintaining a consistent level of care for youth whose care arrangements are scheduled to expire during the pandemic. Other related policy directives include:

Effective date:

This policy directive will come into effect on the date of its issuance. As of this date, Policy Directive CW001-20 will no longer be in effect.

Introduction:

On March 11, 2020 the World Health Organization (WHO) assessed COVID-19 as a global pandemic. On March 17, 2020 the Province of Ontario announced that it would take decisive action by declaring a provincial state of emergency under s 7.0.1 (1) of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act. This caused a number of establishments across the province to close, including schools, child care, libraries, bars and restaurants, cinemas, recreational programs, and non-essential businesses. The public was also advised by the federal and provincial government to practice social distancing by remaining at home as much as possible and minimizing all contact with individuals outside immediate family.

The state of emergency will remain in effect until at least June 30, 2020. Current emergency orders permit the re-opening of certain businesses and services in certain parts of province, and also ease some restrictions on social gatherings. Public health guidelines continue to recommend practising physical distancing, wearing a face covering where physical distancing is a challenge, and washing hands thoroughly and frequently.

The COVID-19 pandemic may have negative impacts on youth leaving care that persist long past the end of the formal state of emergency.

The intent of this policy directive is to provide direction to children’s aid societies (societies) to maintain current services and supports for youth who turn 18 over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, in order to promote consistency of care and continuity of service during this public health crisis.

When youth reach their 18th birthday while they are the subject of an extended society care order or a customary care agreement or are party to a Voluntary Youth Services Agreement (VYSA), they become eligible to enter into a Continued Care and Support for Youth (CCSY) agreement with a society.

Ontario Regulation: 156/18 General Matters under the Authority of the Minister has been amended to expand CCSY supports until December,31, 2020. During this period:

This policy directive applies to societies who are entering into CCSY agreements with youth turning 18 years old over the course of pandemic. Societies are required to continue to provide the same supports and services to the youth that the youth received prior to their 18th birthday. This requirement will continue until this directive is rescinded by the Minister.

Nothing in this directive prevents societies from taking additional steps to protect and support youth transitioning from care during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Requirements:

  1. Societies entering into CCSY agreements with eligible youth who were receiving services from the society immediately prior to their 18th birthday are required to continue to provide the same supports and services the youth received prior to their 18th birthday, unless otherwise refused by the youth. This includes making best efforts to maintain the youth’s residential placement or other living arrangements, and any financial support provided to the youth.
  2. Societies will make every effort to facilitate a seamless and timely transition to a CCSY agreement with all eligible youth who turn 18 during the COVID-19 pandemic. A face-to-face meeting is not required to enter this agreement. Societies may facilitate entering CCSY agreements by the use of technology (e.g., teleconference, Skype).
  3. Societies are required to delay transitions to adult residential developmental services through the course of the pandemic. Youth in care who will require developmental services will continue to receive supports through a society during the pandemic, and the society will be reimbursed by the developmental services agency, in accordance with current practice, once the transition is facilitated.
  4. The requirements listed in this Directive should in no way interfere with plans to reunify the youth with their family in the event it has been determined to be safe to do so (i.e., child protection concerns have resolved), all public health and safety concerns have been addressed, and it is in the best interest of the youth.

Issuance of policy directive CW004-20: June 24, 2020


David Remington
Assistant Deputy Minister
Child Welfare and Protection Division
Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services