Taking Action – Realizing the Vision

This Blueprint sets out the path for our work over the coming years to bring Ontario's child and youth residential services in line with our vision, goals and guiding principles. This will be a collective effort, reflecting – and requiring – the insights, experience and commitment of our partners within government, the broader child and youth services community, and Indigenous partners. The reform of residential services works in conjunction with the transformations that are underway in other child and youth serving sectors:

These transformations are at different stages and phases, but taken together, they are building a strengthened and aligned service system in Ontario for children and youth. As we move forward, to build a child and youth-centred residential service system, the youth-developed definition of quality of care will serve as a cornerstone of our work.

This reform must continue to be informed by the experiences of those involved in these services. Children and youth bring valuable insights based on their lived experience that will shape continuous enhancements to services. They must be supported to have their voices heard throughout this process. The perspectives of parents, families and communities of children and youth receiving residential care are important and will inform a new and responsive service system.

Youth: In Their Own Words

"It may not be my permanent home, but it is my "home for now."

The success of this reform is predicated on the child and youth experience in the future. It will be measured by how children and youth tell us they experience services and the fulfilment of their individual and unique potential.


Our Commitment to Children and Youth

To children and youth in residential care: we have heard you. You told us these services affect every aspect of your lives, that your experiences in foster care, group care, custody and/or respite care need to support you and contribute positively to your lives, and that programs and services have to help you to deal with the difficulties that brought you into care. We have heard that what is currently happening in foster care, group care, custody and/or respite care is not meeting the needs of all children and youth. You have told us there is an urgent need to change the way residential services are delivered. You have told us these changes must begin immediately.

You told us that you need to leave care better off than when you came.

Each and every day, your experience in residential care needs to show you that you matter, and that your voice is heard. We want you to feel that those who look after you are committed to your safety and to supporting you to build a future with hope and confidence.

Youth: In Their Own Words

"If you let your guard down, and listen, and hear what young people have to say, you will learn in ways that you wouldn’t have otherwise. Let youth create the space they need and want."

This Blueprint is the Ministry of Children and Youth Services’ commitment to you.

Our plan is designed to thoroughly examine every aspect of residential services, and to take a child and youth-centred approach to building a new system together. We are working to make services more responsive to your needs. This includes services that are culturally appropriate for Indigenous, Black and racialized children, youth and their families.

We commit to working closely with you and with service providers and experts across the mental health, child welfare, special needs, and youth justice sectors. Together, we will improve your everyday experiences and support you to prepare for the future.

By 2025, our goal is to have a child and youth-centred service system where:

  1. Safety: All children and youth in care are safe and feel safe.
  2. Youth Voice: All children and youth receiving residential services have the right to express their own views freely and safely about matters that affect them.
  3. Greater Accountability: Better data is available to help make better decisions and increase transparency of licensed residential services.
  4. Quality of Care: Standards are informed by young people and reflected in the care they receive.
  5. Consistency: The same standard of care is maintained in every part of the province.
  6. Inclusivity: All language used to describe services is inclusive.
  7. Strengthened Workforce: All children and youth are cared for by qualified, well-trained and responsive staff.
  8. Respecting Cultures and Identities: The needs of all children and youth are met and supported, including those of Black, racialized, First Nations, Métis and Inuit children and youth.

The Ministry of Children and Youth Services will lead the implementation of this Blueprint with sustained, integrated leadership and a relentless focus on quality in accordance with what is at stake: the futures of young people.

Youth: In Their Own Words

"Youth should feel comfortable wherever they are living, and be able to call it home."