Appendix A: Developing the Blueprint

Residential Services Review Panel

In May 2016, the Residential Services Review Panel provided advice to the ministry in its report, Because Young People Matter. The panel’s mandate was to build on the foundational work of previous reviews and reports, and to provide advice on improvements to residential services for children and youth. The review provided a crucial perspective on the needs of children and youth in residential settings. The panel made recommendations in 10 key areas focusing on improving the everyday experiences of children and youth, including quality of care, which were critical in shaping this Blueprint.

The provision of residential services for some of the most vulnerable children and youth in our society is fundamentally important. Collectively and collaboratively, we must ensure that the experience of young people in out-of-home care and their long-term outcomes are such that the opportunities for a rich and meaningful life are just as real for young people facing enormous adversities as they are for those living in the relative comfort and safety of their family homes.”

(Residential Services Review Panel, Because Young People Matter, 2016, p.6)

The Office of the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth

The Office of the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth undertook extensive engagement with youth with lived experience. The voices of these young people were captured in the report, Searching for Home: Re-imagining Residential Care. The report and its recommendations were also influential in developing this Blueprint.

The Child and Youth Residential Services Reference Group

The reference group, comprised of representatives from the mental health, child welfare, special needs, and youth justice sectors, including the voice of an Indigenous partner, helped to shape and frame the Blueprint. There was a strong commitment of the reference group to ensure the voices and needs of children and youth are at the core of our reforms. Our continued partnership and collaboration will be essential as we implement this Blueprint.

The Residential Services Youth Panel

Together with the Office of the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth, we established a panel of young people with lived experience of residential services to share their stories and help define quality of care.

These remarkable young people helped to shape our understanding of what high-quality care means to children and youth in residential services. Their voices, experiences and expectations serve as a cornerstone of this Blueprint. Every dimension of this Blueprint for reform is anchored by the work of the youth panel. The youth panel’s input into this Blueprint can be found in its entirety in its report Envisioning Better Care for Youth: Our Input to the Blueprint.

We will continue to engage with these young people as we move forward.

Our thanks and best wishes for a bright and successful future to:

The youth panel members have been identified here in their chosen manner.

Youth: In Their Own Words

"Nothing about us, without us."


Appendix B: Guiding Principles

Anti-oppression and inclusion

Cultural relevance, diversity and accessibility

Consistent, responsive and high quality care

Strong oversight and a commitment to improvement

Respect for the knowledge, customs and rights of First Nations, Métis, Inuit and urban Indigenous communities

Child and youth voice at the centre, with a family-focused approach

Services in the right place, at the right time, for as little time as necessary

Data-driven transparency and accountability

A home for now


Appendix C: Roles, Responsibilities and Modernized Legislation

Roles and Responsibilities

The Ministry of Children and Youth Services has an overall responsibility for licensing, including enforcement and compliance, currently under the Child and Family Services Act. The ministry licenses service providers to deliver residential services. The ministry does not directly provide services to children and youth, except in the case of youth justice and the Child and Parent Resource Institute.

Licensees are responsible for operating in compliance with the requirements of the Child and Family Services Act. They have a responsibility to provide residential care in a manner that promotes children and youth’s health, safety and welfare.

Agencies, such as Children’s Aid Societies and Indigenous Child Well-being Societies, place children and youth in licensed residential settings. They are responsible for choosing a placement for the child or youth appropriate to their needs that also meets all requirements of the Child and Family Services Act. The placing agency is responsible for the planning and continuity of services while the child or youth is in care.

Child, Youth and Family Services Act, 2017

The Child, Youth and Family Services Act, 2017, which received Royal Assent on June 1, 2017, is an important step towards achieving the transformation envisioned within the three quality pillars. This legislation focuses our attention on children and youth — on their voices, their opinions and their goals, not just the issues facing them. It sets the course for bold changes to residential services in Ontario, including enhancing our licensing and oversight mechanisms and strengthening adherence to new expectations. The ministry will also develop an implementation and training plan to support the sector to put these new changes in place.

The act strengthens the rights of children and youth, supports enhancements to the quality of services, improves the consistency of supports offered to children, youth and their families, and increases the accountability and oversight of service providers.

The act also acknowledges Ontario’s unique relationships with First Nations, Métis, Inuit and urban Indigenous communities and provides opportunities for their involvement and decision-making in the care of their children and youth. The act will help to make services more inclusive and culturally appropriate for all children and youth, including Indigenous and Black children and youth, so that every child receives the best possible support.Under the act, children and youth will have the right to:

The legislation also sets new rules about privacy, protection and information sharing between service providers in order to, among other things, give children, youth and families more control over how their personal information is shared among service providers, and to help them avoid having to tell their story repeatedly.

The act provides a framework for strengthening and modernizing oversight for licensed residential settings for children and youth and for enhancing the quality of care provided in those settings. These changes help to better promote the health, safety, and wellbeing of children and youth in licensed residential care.

One notable provision enhances the authority to conduct unannounced licensing inspections by allowing a broader range of inspectors to conduct them. This will support the monitoring of residential services to assess compliance with licensing requirements. The act will enhance the criteria to obtain and keep a licence for residential settings, as well as the criteria for refusing to issue, renew or revoke a licence.

Collectively, these changes are intended to strengthen safety, quality of care and accountability of licensed residential services. These changes will enable the related regulatory, policy, program and operational changes detailed in this Blueprint.