Toronto, Ontario, 14 May 2014 – Justice for Children and Youth (JFCY) is pleased to recognize Ontario’s first annual Children and Youth in Care Day, and affirm our dedication to assisting youth in and leaving care. Our clinic regularly helps young people navigate the often complex web of legal and non-legal issues that come with being in care or leaving care.
Children and youth in and leaving care face a number of challenges in education, social life, and housing arrangements. It is our collective responsibility to provide excellent care and seamless transition plans for youth in and leaving care. The Youth Leaving Care Hearings held at Queen’s Park in 2011 highlighted the need for change. Positive changes undertaken by the Ontario government since that time include:
- Better accessibility to services if a young person leaves care and would like to re-enter;
- Extended services to youth transitioning out of care who are still in school; and
- Further supports to youth transitioning out of care through the Youth-In-Transition worker positions created by the Ministry of Children and Youth Services.
More change is needed. JFCY continues to advocate for equality to all youth in our care system which stands in the position of the young person’s legal guardian. A gap in service still exists for 16 and 17 year olds accessing care for the first time. Youth needing care after they turn 16 are left with few choices to sustain their safety and security, often leaving them with no option but the shelter system or the streets.
This first annual Child and Youth in Care Day, let us all recognize the bravery and resilience of children and youth in care, and affirm our support to them. We look forward to working with young persons, community members, and the government to continue to strive to meet the needs of young people in Ontario.