All children and youth deserve to be in a place where they are safe, are treated with dignity and respect, feel valued, and have a voice in matters affecting their lives. They deserve to live in a place where their needs are met and where they have the ability to prepare for the next stages of their lives, whether that means returning to their family home, going to an adoptive home or into kinship care, transitioning to adult developmental services, adult mental health services or independent living.

Developing the Blueprint

The ministry developed this multi-year Blueprint using knowledge, evidence and advice from various reviews and reports. Throughout this process, we worked with youth and stakeholders to ensure the ministry’s approach to reform results in high quality, inclusive and culturally appropriate services for children and youth. For example, together with the Office of the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth, we established a panel of young people with lived experience of residential services1 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. For more information see Appendix A: Developing the Blueprint.

Co-developing Services and Supports With Indigenous Partners

We have heard from First Nations, Métis, Inuit and urban Indigenous partners through the Ontario Indigenous Children and Youth Strategy about the need to develop more culturally appropriate services for their children and youth, to improve overall outcomes, and to have services closer to home.

All of the reform activities outlined in this Blueprint will impact First Nations, Métis and Inuit children and youth that are in care. Concurrently, as we move forward on the implementation of the Blueprint, we will work with Indigenous partners to co-develop Indigenous-specific and culturally appropriate strategies and approaches to better serve their children and youth. The Ontario Indigenous Children and Youth Strategy will serve as a foundation for this process.

1 Throughout this document, the terms "residential service", "residential care", "residential placement", and "residential setting" have corresponding meanings and should be understood as licensed child and youth residential services.