The Blueprint

Our vision

High quality residential services in Ontario will effectively meet the needs of children, youth and families, contribute to lasting, positive outcomes and enable the fulfilment of each person’s individual and unique potential.

Guiding Principles

The reform is underpinned by the following guiding principles. They reflect the voices of young people and guide the changes outlined to achieve quality of care as defined by youth themselves.

The guiding principles are described in Appendix B: Guiding Principles.

Three Quality Pillars for Reform

Enhancing the quality of care that children and youth receive is at the heart of this reform. The success of these changes will be measured by how children and youth experience services and the fulfilment of their individual and unique potential.

PILLAR 1: Safe and Healthy Places

Children and youth are physically safe. The physical space in which services are provided is welcoming and meets the needs of children and youth, including food, shelter and clothing, in the context of what is culturally appropriate for them. Their physical space supports their ability to thrive and to be healthy. It provides space for play and leisure in a comfortable and caring environment.

PILLAR 2: A Sense of Belonging

All children and youth in residential care feel at home, are supported to form and maintain attachments, and to be the best they can be. They are supported by caring, qualified adults to have a sense of stability, continuity and hope for the future. Children and youth are supported to have a voice in decision-making about their care, and matters that affect them. Residential settings are inclusive and accepting places that provide culturally appropriate services to meet the needs of a diverse population.

PILLAR 3: Places and Services to Meet the Needs of Children and Youth

All children and youth have the right placement at the right time. Access to services is as close to home as possible, and appropriate for their needs. A range of services are in place in the community to meet their needs. Decisions about their care are made with them using sound clinical and evidence-informed practice and high quality data. Multi-sector professionals work together to support them moving into, through and out of residential services.


In Their Own Words: A Youth Developed Definition of Quality of Care

The Residential Services Youth Panel told us specifically what quality of care means to them. We will use their quality of care domains to anchor our thinking as we develop regulations and policies on all aspects of licensed residential services. Their work will also guide the training of staff working in the residential services sector. It will help us to begin new conversations about the quality of care children and youth are receiving in licensed residential settings.

"The purpose of the domains is to demonstrate the most important areas of quality of care identified by the panel members. These six domains provide an overview of the key elements that must be visibly, reliably, and consistently present in the lives of young people in residential care at all times. These domains will ensure that the experience in care is a positive one ... These domains come from lived experiences, and are what we wish we had."
(Excerpt from Envisioning Better Care for Youth: Our Input Into the Blueprint (2017).)

Quality of Care Domains Elements
Voice, Rights and Communications
  • Voice and Choice Resulting in Action
  • Understanding and Upholding the Rights of Children and Youth
  • Complaints Mechanisms
  • Access to the Internet and Technology
Homes and Ongoing Support
  • Informed Placement Decisions
  • Continuity of Care
  • Supported Transitions
Individual Paths and Fulfilment
  • Individualization
  • Plans While in Care
  • Life Skills
  • Outcomes
Belonging, Relationships and Accepting Environments
  • Sense of Belonging
  • Respect and Dignity
  • Meaningful Relationships
  • Safety and Accessibility
  • Transparency of Rules/Procedures
Identity and Culturally Relevant Care
  • Self-Identification
  • Cultural Respect and Knowledge
  • Connection to Community(ies)
Service Providers and Caregivers
  • Positive Relationships
  • Recruitment and Qualifications
  • Training
  • Accountability

The youth panel’s input to this Blueprint can be found in its entirety in its report Envisioning Better Care for Youth: Our Input Into the Blueprint (2017).