Strong, Supportive Friends & Families

Outcomes 4, 5, 6

Ontario wants youth to:

Youth benefit when they have supportive families, mentors and friends in their lives that care about them, encourage them and believe in them. For some families, however, providing the basic necessities is hard. These families may require additional services and support. Strategies that work towards reducing poverty and increasing affordable housing have positive and real impacts on children and youth. Addressing child and youth poverty is often achieved by addressing family poverty.

This year, Ontario continued to make investments in strategies and services that help build strong, supportive friends and families, including:

Strategies and Programs Supporting Outcome

Poverty Reduction Strategy

Lead: Ministry of Community and Social Services

Ontario’s Poverty Reduction Strategy focuses on breaking the cycle of poverty for children and youth. It also aims to create a province where every person has the opportunity to achieve his or her full potential and contribute to a prosperous and healthy Ontario. The three pillars of the strategy are child poverty, financial security and homelessness. Initiatives listed here and in the Inventory of Youth Programs 2016 are not exhaustive. The initiatives listed here focus mostly on youth.

New in this report:

Long-Term Affordable Housing Strategy

Lead: Ministry of Housing

Through the 2016 update to its Long-Term Affordable Housing Strategy, Ontario made investments to achieve its vision of a province where every person has an affordable, suitable and adequate home. The strategy includes a focus on ending homelessness for youth. As with poverty, addressing youth homelessness is often achieved by addressing family homelessness. The initiatives listed in this report focus mostly on helping youth.

New in this report:

Family Justice Services

Lead: Ministry of the Attorney General

The Ministry of the Attorney General provides a variety of programs and services to Ontario families facing separation and/or divorce. Information about these programs and services can be found on the ministry’s Family Justice Services web page.

New in this report:


Licensed Child and Youth Residential Services

Lead: Ministry of Children and Youth Services

Licensed child and youth residential settings include group homes, foster homes, provincially operated facilities, and youth justice open and secure custody/detention facilities.

New in this report:

Child Protection Services

Lead: Ministry of Children and Youth Services

In Ontario, child protection services are delivered exclusively by children’s aid societies and Indigenous child well-being societies.

These societies are independent legal entities responsible for investigating reports or evidence of abuse or neglect of children under the age of 16 and, when necessary, taking steps to protect children. They also look after children who come under their care or supervision, counsel and support families, and place children for adoption.

The Child and Family Services Act (1990) is the governing legislation that guides the work of these societies, aspects of residential care for children and youth with special needs, and other services and supports for vulnerable children, youth and families. The work of these societies is also guided by the Ontario Child Protection Standards (2016) and the Ontario Child Welfare Eligibility Spectrum (2016).

New in this report:

Permanency and Adoption

Lead: Ministry of Children and Youth Services

Through permanency and adoption, Ontarians are supported to build their families and improve outcomes and stability for children and youth in the care of children’s aid societies and Indigenous child well-being societies.

New in this report:

Youth Leaving Care Strategy

Lead: Ministry of Children and Youth Services

The Youth Leaving Care Strategy provides supports and resources for youth in and leaving the care of a children’s aid society or Indigenous child well-being society.

New in this report:

What the Data Says

Data from the Profile of Youth Wellbeing

Case Study

Black Women in Motion

Black Women in Motion helps young women reach their personal and professional goals.

Black Women in Motion (BWIM) is a grassroots, youth-led initiative that seeks to inspire and empower young women and girls. Through programs and workshops, BWIM supports young women’s intellectual, emotional and physical well-being. Programs help young women achieve their personal and professional goals. They also give them the skills they need to become role models, mentors and leaders in their communities.

In 2016, BWIM received support from the Laidlaw Foundation and the Youth Opportunities Fund (YOF). The YOF funding supported a team of local Toronto youth assemble to organize and execute the annual This Means WARR: Weekend of Action Against Rape Culture conference. The two-day event focuses on increasing dialogue on cultural attitudes towards rape. Through interactive panel discussions, workshops and activities, participants learn about what rape culture is, and how to recognize and take action against it.

“I am extremely grateful to be a part of a program like this. I feel that with this new knowledge, I have the power to change the attitudes that individuals have regarding consent and rape culture—even if it’s just one person’s.”Participant, Black Women in Motion