The Panel was tasked with looking at residential care for children and youth at both the broad systems level and at the mechanisms that impact the everyday experience of young people living in out-of-home care to support effective residential care. Effective residential care was described by the Ministry as ensuring that children and youth can: Achieve permanency in a safe, stable and caring home-like setting as quickly as possible with minimal placement disruption if they are unable to return to their families; Receive timely, appropriate and evidence-based services that are matched to their care and treatment needs; Receive quality services and supports from a highly skilled and competent workforce; Receive the most appropriate, and least intrusive, placement that addresses their unique situation; Maintain connections to their families and community, and are able to form attachment relationships; Return to their families as quickly as possible; Maintain their educational attainment and life-skills development; Are prepared for, and supported through, their transition to independence or adult services; and, Receive follow-up support to ensure they maintain the positive outcomes and/or gains made in residential settings. From a system perspective, the Panel was asked to focus on issues such as quality, transparency and voice. At a more granular level, the Panel was asked to consider mechanisms such as funding, licensing, assessment, documenting, and human resources.

A key component of the mandate for this Panel was ensuring a strong voice for young people, foster parents, caregivers and front-line workers within the residential services system in addition to hearing from associations, service providers, management and executives, MCYS staff, experts in residential care and many others with experience in the residential services system in Ontario.