Letter to the Editor of the Toronto Star from OACYC member emailed March 8th, 2018:
On January 24, 2018, in an response letter to the Ontario Association of Child and Youth Care, Michael Coteau, Minister of Children and Youth Services said, “To date, Ontario has not contemplated the regulation of Child and Youth Care Practitioners.” Click here to read more.
Letter from Ontario Association of Child and Youth Care regarding the suspension of the Child and Youth Care Program at the Confederation College in Thunder Bay
dated February 26, 2018 - Click here to read.
A response letter from Minister Coteau regarding regulating Child and Youth Care Practitioners
dated January 24, 2018 - Click here to read.
In Harm’s Way? Serious Occurrences Report Vol. 2: Statement of the Ontario Association of Child and Youth Care
The Ontario Association of Child and Youth Care (OACYC) represents Child and Youth Care Practitioners across Ontario. Our members are educated professionals, committed to a code of ethics and providing quality Child and Youth Care services to young people and their families. Child and Youth Care Practitioners (CYCP) or Child and Youth Workers, Child Care Workers and Child and Youth Counsellors, are the professionals educated to work with young people in residential care since Thistletown began to educate workers to meet the needs of young people in the 50’s.
The Board of Directors of the OACYC has reviewed the report In Harm’s Way? Serious Occurrences Report Vol. 2. We would like to acknowledge the work of the Provincial Advocate’s Office for bringing forward these concerns and recommendations. This is another report that reinforces the urgent need for the regulation of the Child and Youth Care Practitioners in the province of Ontario.
CLICK on the image to the left to read full report.
It is our position that a review of the college and university level CYC Programs would be beneficial to ensure that the curriculum is providing for the learning needs of Child and Youth Care Practitioners and specifically for therapeutic activities, crisis de-escalation, trauma informed care, alternatives to restraint and the risks of harm from physical restraint. We would welcome the opportunity to work with the college and university programs to ensure these needs are met and that students are well prepared. We believe our Child and Youth Care Programs are providing an excellent standard of education to students but there is always benefit to review and enhancement.
However, it has become evident as a result of recent events that many staff hired to work in residential care are differently qualified. This would suggest that it is not those who have preservice qualifications who are working in the residences, intervening during crisis and completing the Serious Occurrence Reports. All children deserve to have the very best care possible. In order to support the young people and the behaviours that are documented throughout the report, residential care staff must have preservice qualifications as well as ongoing professional development and supervision. It is our position that preservice qualifications must be a minimum education of a 3-year Advanced Diploma in Child and Youth Care from one of our community colleges. Additional education would be a benefit and a Bachelors Degree in Child and Youth Care must be the minimum standard for supervisors.
The OACYC would welcome an audit of the staffing qualifications that currently exist in residential care to get the most accurate information of current hiring practices.
We support the need to review police engagement and involvement in residential care.
We want to be at the table with police to develop best practises, foster relationships and collaboration and enhance understanding of pain based behaviours and caring environments. It is the OACYC’s position that hiring qualified staff in all residential care settings would result in fewer calls for police support.
It is time for immediate investment in residential care to increase safety and improve quality of care. The OACYC would support an immediate and active plan to ensure all residential care workers have a minimum of a 3-year Child and Youth Care Diploma, and that those already employed in residential care without this education would receive the support and assistance necessary to complete the diploma while they work (as many Early Childhood Educators received).
It is also time for regulation of this profession to ensure that all workers are held to a code of ethics, are accountable for their practice and ongoing professional development and that we all know that a Child and Youth Care Practitioner has met the minimum educational requirements to provide care to our young people.
The potential safeguard suggested to vulnerable children by routine and systematic review of Serious Occurrence Reports will only be realized when the results are acted upon. We urge the government to act immediately.
The Blueprint for residential care services in Ontario, was released on July 19, 2017.
The OACYC recognizes the work that the Ministry of Children and Youth Services has done to ensure youth involvement in the development of the blueprint. It is time that young people have a voice in the care they are receiving and the decisions that affect their lives. The commitment to unscheduled inspections is one that the young people have requested to improve their safety. We are encouraged that the Ministry is making a commitment to safety and to improving the standards of care across the Province.
While many elements of the Blueprint are encouraging, serious concerns remain. The blueprint makes no time commitments nor does it mention any increase in funding. The OACYC remains concerned by the lack of standards in place, the lack of immediate efforts to improve residential care for young people who are living in these spaces right now, and the lack of investment in the workforce.
It is the position of the OACYC that investment in the workforce would result in immediate and substantial improvements in the quality of care. While inspections are carried out to ensure standards are being met, the government should also ensure that only qualified professionals are hired to work in residential care facilities. Our College and University Child and Youth Care Programs graduate over 1000 qualified practitioners each year. Ontario has the qualified workforce, the workforce that was developed specifically to work in these environments; we now need an immediate standard, and the appropriate financial investment, to ensure that every provider is mandated to hire only qualified practitioners and is able to provide adequate support to their Child and Youth Care teams.
While the Ministry of Children and Youth Services has made a commitment to regulate ABA practitioners to ensure safe autism services to families in Ontario, they have not made any similar commitments to provide the same level of safeguarding, accountability and consistent high quality services to children and youth in care; vulnerable children and youth, who must rely on the government to provide for them and ensure their safety. As the legal guardian and care providers of these young people, entrusted with children and youth from our communities whose parents may be unable to care and advocate for them, the government has an even greater responsibility to act to ensure their care is the very best possible. The Government, with the mandate and resources to provide care, safety and support, like any parent, should be demanding and facilitating this.
The OACYC continues to advocate for regulation of Child and Youth Care Practice to ensure that all those hired as Child and Youth Care Practitioners across sectors, including residential care, are trained professionals who are accountable to a professional college, committed to a code of ethics and responsible to work within their scope of practice. Young people requested the governments support for regulation of Child and Youth Care Practice in the report Searching For Home: Reimagining Residential Care (Office of the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth, 2016). With regulation in place, the public could be assured that all those working in this capacity with young people would have pre-service qualifications and ongoing responsibility to meet standards of care. We also call on the government to invest to ensure there is ongoing professional development and supervision, improving retention of the workforce to provide greater stability, longer lasting relationships and high quality care.
This government has been willing to regulate those who provide counseling in an office for 50 minutes at a time and those who provide early childhood education and care. It is time now to ensure that those who are; caring and advocating day-to-day for some of our most vulnerable children and youth in the care of our government, intervening in crisis and high risk situations daily, responding to the complex needs of young people who have experienced trauma to facilitate their optimal development, have their expertise realized while being held accountable to be caring, skilled, educated and responsible professionals. This standard can only reduce risk and increase the quality of care being provided.
Our young people deserve nothing less.
Please read our report Safeguarding the Other 23 Hours: Legislation of Child and Youth Care Practice in Ontario. http://oacyc.org/attachments/article/65/Safeguarding_FINAL_WEB_VERSION.pdf
Recent Deaths in Residential Care: Statement of The Ontario Association of Child and Youth Care
The Ontario Association of Child and Youth Care represents Child and Youth Care Practitioners across Ontario. Our members are educated professionals, committed to a code of ethics and providing quality Child and Youth Care services to young people and their families.
The recent article in the news about the fire at a Kawartha Lakes Foster Home raises numerous concerns. Regulations in residential care facilities should be about safe environments that create the best possible circumstances to provide care to our provinces children. However, some of the recent situations have left us questioning the safety of some of these environments for young people and for Child and Youth Care staff. We want to be clear, before we move forward to raise concerns about the system, that we recognize the many professionals, service providers, program operators, ministry staff members and many others who work very hard with integrity and ethics to care for the children and youth of Ontario. We are not interested in blaming. We would like to raise concerns for discussion and collaboration, in the hopes that system changes will be identified to improve this situation for all and ensure the safety of our young people.
Residential care is part of the large, complex, child welfare system. In the past group homes were operated by ‘workers’ serving the most at risk children in the system; while foster homes provided family based care to children with less risk and more stability. However, what is now being described in the media is a mixed modality home that has been developed outside of these norms: some residential facilities, serving the highest risk and most vulnerable youth in our province, are being operated in accordance with foster care standards and regulations while they are functioning as ‘staffed’ programs. Given the severity and complexity of the needs being presented by these vulnerable youth, within a high risk milieu, this shift in standards is highly concerning.
The residential care being provided by the Ministry, regardless of the context, must be a safe place to live. From a Child and Youth Care perspective, sound crisis management planning or intervention involves knowledge of the strengths and needs of all of the young people, the resources available, and the relationships of those in the environment who will be providing supervision and support in these critical moments. Providing life space intervention requires a specialized skill set. Subsequently, those hired to work with young people in residential programs, should have pre-service qualifications in Child and Youth Care. Further, they should receive ongoing supervision and professional development opportunities that recognize this expertise. Remuneration of this standard of work must also be improved to ensure earnings are greater than a living wage. It is time to invest in this workforce and to regulate Child and Youth Care.
These tragedies have made this discussion more urgent. Together we need to have open dialogue about how we are safeguarding children and youth in terms of; placement matching, staffing ratios, regulated pre-service qualifications, supervision models, crisis management, regulations and investigations, professional development, models of residential care and funding.
It is time to examine our assumptions about the system and the young people who depend on it. We must discover and discuss what is truly happening and make a commitment to make changes for the safety of the most vulnerable and high risk young people in Ontario. This will take courage and solution focused minds. This will also require the financial investment to properly fund these programs. We can do better on all levels from Ministry, to service providers, and to front line CYC's. We cannot emphasize enough the need for safeguards for all children and youth in Ontario. They are our young people and we need to do better now.
The Ontario Association for Child and Youth Care joins the Ontario Provincial Advocate's office and the OACAS in support of the Nishnawbe Aski Nation’s (NAN), urgent request that the Office of the Chief Coroner call a discretionary inquest into the deaths of the two young people in residential care settings. Furthermore, we also support that an inquest be called anytime a child dies or a staff person dies performing the duties of their job in a residential care setting in the Province of Ontario.
We ask the Ministry of Children and Youth Services:
1) To clearly set out definitions and expectations for foster care and staffed group homes including specific attention to the media identified mixed modality homes to clearly identify the regulations and safe guards.
2) To assemble teams of experienced and educated Child and Youth Care Practitioners to provide immediate itinerant services to staffed group homes (including the mixed modality homes) across the province to support and improve the quality of care.
3) To immediately invest in residential care to ensure that the needs of young people are met, that staff are hired and retained with CYC qualifications, that supervision is available to all front line staff, and that staff have the equipment necessary to provide an enriched living environment for young people in care.
4) To immediately fund the provision of Child and Youth Care services, within the natural life space of rural and remote Indigenous youth considered high risk, to maintain family and cultural connection and support during the process of healing.
OACYC Board of Directors
The Council of Canadian Child and Youth Care Associations is a national body established to offer a mechanism for the coordination and networking of provincial and territorial Child and Youth Care professional associations. It is also part of the Council’s mandate is to advocate for children and youth, and to act as an agent for the promotion of professional child and youth care [CYC].
Our thoughts are with the youth, their families, the CYC workers, and their families who were impacted by the Kawartha Lakes Foster Home fire. CYC practitioners know that there are elements of danger in our job, in part because we work with individuals who have been hurt, and who struggle to engage in effective relationships with individuals, communities, and systems. We often experience strong emotional responses from the young people we work, and often this response is when they are confronted with caring and structure. We know that this atypical response to caring and structure may be aggressive, flight or fight behaviour, however that cannot ever make us complacent about being confronted with the reality of this response or lacking in a compassionate response.
The Ontario Association of Child and Youth Care [OACYC] has been engaged for many years in advocating for quality CYC practice in order that the young people in Ontario are well supported in their growing up. Specifically, in response to the Kawartha Lake foster home fire, the OACYC has made specific requests to the Ministry of Children and Youth Services, that follow closely on the advocacy work they have done over the past years.
Most provincial governments invest well in early childhood education; or at the very least recognize the importance of this intervention in the growth of the citizens. Most provincial governments recognize that education of young people in public school must be funded and in-serviced. Both areas of working with children and youth are closely regulated and have guidelines and licensing standards – even in- home daycare, and home schooling. Early childhood and public school educators must obtain a minimum level of education, and regulated professional status yet the support and intervention with young people who are struggling in school, in family, and in community is often implemented by individuals without specific and specialized education or training and is under resourced on many levels in most provinces.
What is the message that the provincial and federal governments wish to deliver by positioning in this way?
The provincial advocate for children and youth, Irwin Elman, and the recommendations of the government of Ontario commissioned report, Because Young People Matter support the request of the OACYC. Without a prompt response to the requests that have been put forth by these professionals and professional bodies, I challenge that the Ontario government is delivering a message that the children and youth who are wards of the ministry are not valuable nor worthy of care.
As a country who has fully signed onto the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, provincial and federal governments have a responsibility to recognize that all children (up to age 18) “...need special safeguards and care...” (Preamble UN Convention on the Rights of the Child) and it is the responsibility of the government to ensure the conditions exist for them to receive this. Decision makers in the Ministries involved in funding, legislating, and regulating programs that support children and young people need to recognize, accept, and actualize this responsibility.
The Council of Canadian Child and Youth Care Associations positions to support the Ontario Association of Child and Youth Care in its request that the Ministry of Children and Youth Services offer clear definitions and regulations for staffed group and foster care facilities to ensure that the children and youth who stay there are assured to be safe. That a team of educated and experienced Child and Youth Care practitioner are made available to offer immediate services to any program providing staffed care and where children and young people are living. That funding is immediately made available to provide Child and Youth Care services for Indigenous youth so they can maintain family and cultural connections during their healing process in their natural life space of rural and remote Canada. And that the Government of Ontario invest in residential care to ensure that the needs of young people are met, supported by qualified, educated, well supervised and supported Child and Youth Care practitioners.
Kelly Shaw MA CYS CYC-P
President Council of Canadian Child and Youth Care Associations
The Ontario Association of Child and Youth Care would like to express its deepest sympathies to the families and loved ones, friends, neighbours, the Kawartha Lake community and the Connor Homes community who were involved or touched by the tragedy on Friday February 24th, 2017. We are heartbroken and send our sincerest condolences.
RIP Andrea Reid
If you would like to donate to help her family with funeral arrangements and for day to day care of Andrea’s children during this tragic time please click here.
"One person is dead and two people were injured in a fire during a disturbance Friday afternoon at a group home for teens about 58 kilometres west of Peterborough, City of Kawartha Lakes OPP said."
Re: Impact of the Psychotherapy Act on mental health services to young people
We would like to take this opportunity to express our grave concerns with regards to the impact of the Psychotherapy Act and the lack of action on regulating child and youth care practice in Ontario. As you know, Child and Youth Care Practitioners provide front line support to the most vulnerable children and youth, within children’s mental health agencies, residential treatment facilities, hospitals, schools, and various community based social services. read more...
From: Cathy Paul, President and CEO of Kinark Child and Family Services and
Christine Gaitens, President of the Ontario Association of Child and Youth Care
To: Community Partners and OACYC Members
We would like to take this opportunity to inform you of some important changes to the Krista Sepp Memorial Awards.
The Krista Sepp Memorial Awards were established by Kinark Child and Family Services in 1991 to honour the memory of Kinark staff, Krista Sepp, who lost her life on February 3, 1989 while performing her duties as a child and youth worker (CYW). read more...
The OACYC letter to Ministers in Manitoba in support of the CYCWAM
June 8, 2016
The Ontario Association of Child and Youth Care (OACYC), established 1959, is the professional association representing child and youth care practitioners–professional members, students, and associates in the province of Ontario. We provide a voice for over 8,000 child and youth care practitioners across the province. Child and youth care practitioners provide front line supports to the most vulnerable children and youth, parents, and partners within residential treatment facilities, hospitals, schools, and communities through relational practice, evidence based practice, life space interventions, restorative practices, social skill development, and crisis management. Child and youth care practitioners work in the spaces where children and youth live their lives.
On May 29, 2016, in Manitoba, two Child and Youth Care Practitioners were attacked and beaten by two youth in their care. Our thoughts are with all those involved, all those hurt, all those affected.
The OACYC stands in solidarity with the Child and Youth Workers’ Association of Manitoba in expressing concern about the safety of Child and Youth Care Practitioners in the workplace. Safety, standards and qualifications must be in focus when providing for the care of our children and youth. Our young people deserve safe places to live and the trained staff who provide for their care deserve safe places to work.
The attack on a Child and Youth Care student and practitioner in Manitoba is a symptom of inadequate standards both in terms of staff child/youth ratios and minimal educational qualifications. The working conditions our Child and Youth Care Practitioner’s face every day are high risk across the country including Ontario. Just recently, on June 6, 2016, in Ontario, police responded to a disturbance where a youth worker along with five young people required medical attention.
Young people, living in Ontario residential care, recently released their own report with the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth and they too pointed to a need for minimum standards. Everyday, 24 hours a day, somewhere in Ontario and in Manitoba, a Child and Youth Care Practitioner is attending to a child who is engaged in self-harm, engaging young people in learning to express their anger appropriately and supporting young people while they process the emotional scars of trauma and abuse.
We ask the people of every province to join with us in calling on the government to care for vulnerable children and ensure that all child and youth serving staff hold the minimal diploma qualification of a Child and Youth Care Practitioner. Our young people deserve it and as a society we owe it to our young to help guide them successfully to adulthood. Shouldn’t our most hurt, who are in the most need of connection and those most at risk, be able to trust that there is a qualified hand reaching out to help them? The time is now for all provinces of Canada to safeguard the most vulnerable young people and to give to them the most basic support of adequately trained staff available to help them transform their troubled lives.
We support the Child and Youth Care Workers’ Association of Manitoba as it sheds light on the crisis in this system and advocates for meaningful change to ensure the needs of these vulnerable children and youth are being met. The changes must include qualified specialized staff, supervision and support to front line staff, and staffing ratios that increase the number of staff available to the young people who need them. We need to see adequate funding to make these necessary changes for safety. We need to see this in Manitoba. We need to see this in Ontario. We need to see this across the country.
Christine Gaitens, BA CYC-P
President of the Board
Ontario Association of Child & Youth Care
Jessica Hadley, CYC & Thom Garfat, PhD
The young people who assaulted the workers at the Selkirk Behavioural Health Foundation in Manitoba on May 30, 2016 have been arrested and charged. This is as it should be. Unfortunately, that is normally as far as our response to such incidents go - but we are hopeful that this time there may be a difference in how people within the system respond.
Before we get to that, let us say that this is not just a Manitoba-specific occurrence. It can be seen as an example of a national problem in the care and treatment of our most traumatized young people.
Likely, there will be an inquiry and it will highlight a number of issues or recommendations which will have been identified before in previous inquiries in other jurisdictions across Canada, such as:
· Inadequate funding for organisations providing services to our most vulnerable and traumatized young people,
· Lack of qualifications for direct care staff and a lack of hiring standards,
· Ineffective staff ratios.
· A program focus on conformity and control rather than treatment,
· A failure to engage young people in the process of their treatment,
· A lack of appropriate supportive supervision for staff, and
· A failure to recognize the Child & Youth Care profession and its skill set
We need only to look at the recent Residential Services Review report in Ontario (CBC News
Online May 2016) to understand that this is a nation-wide crisis; a crisis which blurs the lines between governmental jurisdictions and portfolios.
There are programs and people in every corner of Canada who are doing good work and genuinely helping young people and their families. Yet, it is an unfortunate reality that time and time again (following such incidents) we hear that the system needs to change. In simple terms reports on such incidents, across the country, say that the system is just not working well, that it is a system in crisis.
We cannot continue to react to young people as if their struggles were only of their own making, expecting them to conform to a system of demands which treats them as objects, not subjects, and expects them to comply without responding to their needs as developing human beings.
With regard to the incident in Manitoba, we are encouraged by the message that the new Party in power in Manitoba was sending throughout its campaign, and in their early weeks in office, that they want to make a difference in the lives of the traumatized, disconnected, discarded and marginalized Children, Youth, and Families of Manitoba. It is our sincerest hope that we can work with the government to avoid old ways of assigning blame, mouthing rhetoric, or quietly shelving inquiry findings and instead move forward in action to forge a new path, to work collaboratively towards change. It is also our sincerest hope that this newly forged partnership can be a rallying point for change not only for the children and youth of Manitoba, but for the rest of Canada as well.
This is, as we said earlier, not a Manitoba-specific incident - rather it is a symptom of the need for us to change - nationally – how we recognize, respond to, and treat traumatized young people and those who work with them. Why is it that the most damaged of our children receive the least adequate of services? When do we as a society recognize that we are not developing whole sections of our most valuable resource?
It is time for a different response than we have had in the past. We are hopeful that Manitoba might lead the way.
Jessica Hadley, CYC, President
Child and Youth Care Workers’ Association of Manitoba
Thom Garfat, PhD (CYC)
The Council of Canadian Child and Youth Care Associations is a national body established to serve as a
coordinating and networking organization for provincial and territorial Child and Youth Care professional
associations. Part of our mandate is to advocate for children and youth, and to act as an agent for the
promotion of professional child and youth care [CYC].
Our thoughts are with the youth, their families, the CYC workers, and their families following the
incident at the Behavioural Health Foundation on May 30, 2016. As stated on our Facebook page (May
30, 2016) CYC Practitioners know that violence is a potential fact of our work. We work with individuals
who have been hurt, and struggle to engage in effective relationships with individuals, communities, and
systems. The emotional responses of the folks we work with is often incongruent with what might be
expected from typical children and adolescents confronted with caring and challenge. We know that
this atypical response may be aggressive, flight or fight behaviour, however that cannot ever make us
complacent about being confronted with the reality of that fight response or lacking in compassionate
response to both the youngsters and CYC practitioners involved.
It is for these reasons that CYC professionals need to be well trained, well supervised, and the youth to
practitioner ratio in any given program needs to ensure opportunity for effective therapeutic
intervention versus simple behaviour management. The Child and Youth Care Workers’ Association of
Manitoba [CYCWAM] has been engaged for many years in advocating for quality CYC practice in order
that the young people in Manitoba are well supported in their growing up.
Most provincial governments invest well in early childhood education; or at the very least recognize the
importance of this intervention in the growth of the citizens. Most provincial governments recognize
that education of young people in public school must be funded and in-serviced. Both of these areas of
working with children and youth require minimum education, and regulated professional status yet the
support and intervention with young people who are struggling in school, in family, and in community is
often implemented by individuals without specific and specialized education or training and is under
resourced on many levels in most provinces.
What is the message that the provincial and federal governments wish to deliver by positioning in this
The government of Ontario recently commissioned a report (Because Young People Matter) and the
outcome of that report can be used as a platform for change well outside of Ontario – in an interview
related to this report one of the authors, Kiaras Gharabaghi, director of Ryerson University’s CYC
program expressed worry that “...people are ultimately discarded as objects in the system” (CBC News
Online May 2016 11pm ET).
Whether youngsters are wards of the provincial ministry or in voluntary programs (like the BHF
program) is not relevant to the discussion. As a country who has fully signed onto the UN Convention on
the Rights of the Child, provincial and federal governments have a responsibility to recognize that all
children (up to age 18) “...need special safeguards and care...” (Preamble UN Convention on the Rights of
the Child) and it is the responsibility of the government to ensure the conditions exist for them to
receive this. Decision makers in the Ministries involved in funding, legislating, and regulating programs
that support children and young people need to recognize, accept, and actualize this responsibility.
The Council of Canadian Child and Youth Care Associations positions to support the Child and Youth Care
Workers’ Association of Manitoba in its advocacy of essential services for children, youth, and families
and in its position that Child and Youth Care Practitioners should be educated specific to the demands of
Kelly Shaw MA CYS CYC-P
President Council of Canadian Child and Youth Care Associations
"Jackie Healey can't see out of one eye, has lost feeling in parts of her body and has broken teeth after she was attacked while working at the Selkirk Behavioural Health Foundation, her father says.
Healey, 23, was finishing the last shift of her Red River College child and youth worker practicum at the Manitoba rehab centre when she and another female worker were attacked on Sunday night."
April 3, 2016
The OACAS is launching training for protection workers and is also requesting a new college from the government. While we are definitely in favour of additional training to improve protection of young people in care, we would prefer that child and youth care practitioners have their own college, that applies to our scope of practice across systems, Ministries and in all environments in which we provide our unique services.
We asked the OACAS for a letter of support for our college. They declined.
Click here to read the article in the Star
***Update: Our letter as seen online at the Star ***
Re: Children's aid societies urge Ontario group-home overhaul
Group homes do play a “critical role in supporting children and youth in need of protection” as one of the options in our system of care to meet the individual needs of our young people.
It is important to note that child and youth care practitioners, the people educated to care for children and youth in these environments, remain unregulated. It is time to regulate the field of child and youth care to ensure that only qualified, accountable, college or university educated staff, committed to a code of ethics, are employed to work with our most vulnerable young people.
It will take courage and political will to make the necessary changes to ensure our children and youth in residential care receive the very best possible care. It is time to put the needs of these vulnerable young people first; let’s make their needs our priority.
Ontario Association of Child and Youth Care
"Children’s aid societies are calling for an overhaul of Ontario’s group home system, where standards are so low that caregivers are not screened through a provincial database of people who might be a risk to children." The Star March 14, 2016
Click here to read the article in the Star!
The Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth released a preliminary report about serious occurrence reporting. This report raises questions about the effectiveness of these reports as a safeguard for children and youth in residential care.
Click here to read the report: Serious Occurrence Preliminary Report 2016
Please visit the Provincial Advocate's website to read the report.
The Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth released a new report that provides us with first hand experiences of young people living in residential care in Ontario. These young people expect the system to do a better job and they have provided recommendations to improve the lived experience for children and youth.
"In keeping with the vision for reforming child welfare brought forward by the young people who wrote or helped prepare these documents, and inspired by work of Dr. Korczak, we wanted to ensure that the Review Panel’s work was informed by the same young people who brought these documents to fruition. Their thoughts are contained in the pages of this report and remind us of what is possible when young people are provided with an opportunity to contribute as equal partners in creating change."
PROVINCIAL ADVOCATE FOR CHILDREN AND YOUTH
Please visit the Provincial Advocate's website to read the report.
Original Article for the Chronicle-Spring 2015 Edited January 2016
You may have heard that the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario (CRPO) announced that on March 31, 2015 they were advised by the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care (MOHLTC) that the Psychotherapy Act, 2007 would come into force as of April 1, 2015. This meant that it was no longer to be a transitional council and would now become a regulated college. What this does not mean, is that the controlled act of psychotherapy has yet to be proclaimed into force at this time.
The CRPO is encouraging anyone who wishes to use the title “psychotherapist” or those who claim to be qualified to practise as a psychotherapist in Ontario to become registered, unless they are already a member of a regulated profession whose members practise psychotherapy. An example of this would be a clinician who worked in a children’s mental health setting and is already a registered member of the College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers. They would not need to apply and belong to the College of Registered Psychotherapists.
It would be important to note that if you are a child and youth care practitioner who is either directly practicing psychotherapy in your role at an organization or as part of your own private practice, you will want to visit the website for CRPO at www.crpo.ca and look at the “Grandparenting” route. This registration option will be open for the next two years and this option will end as of March 31, 2017.
The CRPO has been clear that the enforcement of the controlled act of psychotherapy has been postponed, in order to further examine within mental health service settings who may possibly performing psychotherapy in their roles. The proclamation of the psychotherapy act has caused some feelings of confusion and anxiety for child and youth care practitioners, particularly those working within hospital or mental health settings as CYCs may be delivering some components of psychotherapy in conjunction with other registered professionals.
The CRPO has been very clear that in the meantime, while they further examine who and how psychotherapy is delivered in these type of settings that child and youth care practitioners, along with addiction counselors and mental health workers may continue to provide services without concerns about the proposed controlled act.
It is recommended that child and youth care practitioners start to have conversations with their employers, if you are concerned about whether or not you may need to register with the new college. The OACYC Board of Directors is continuing to watch for updates from the new college and monitoring feedback and experience that CYC members are sharing about any questions or impacts the proclamations of the act may be having on them. We will post updates on the website, Facebook and Twitter pages as information becomes available.
The view and stance of the OACYC is that we are striving to have Child and Youth Care recognized as its own profession and not have CYCs lumped in with other professionals who work with children and youth. In order to work towards legislation of Child and Youth Care, we are continuing to encourage CYCs to belong to the Association. A strong association will be better positioned to approach the government and request legislation. We are continuing to accept signed petitions; these forms can be found on the OACYC website. We are also still accepting letters of support. Our report “Safe Guarding the Other 23 Hours: Legislation of Child and Youth Care Practice in Ontario” has been finalized and sent out to all MPPs with a request for a meeting. A PDF can be downloaded from our website.
College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario. (2015, April 16). Psychotherapy Act Proclaimed. Retrieved April 16, 2015, from http://www.crpo.ca/.
Click here to read the article
The OACYC letter to the editor:
Re: Toronto group homes turning outbursts from kids into matters for police, July 3, 2015
Re: Shedding light on the troubles facing kids in group homes, July 3, 2015
Re: Physical restraint common in Toronto group homes and youth residences
Going into care should not become a pipeline to prison, or exasperate the pre-existing trauma conditions often experienced by children with histories of child abuse and neglect. These reports raise systemic issues that may include the need for regulated, well educated, skilled and self aware child and youth care practitioners; and concerns with regards to funding, levels of staffing, lack of professional supervision, support and training, and professional and ethical expectations.
The greatest possible outcome of this report and the upcoming review of residential care in Ontario could be an improved system of care that: places the child first, supports the operators of these programs to provide quality care for children and acceptable working conditions for staff, requires accreditation for educational standards and one that regulates the field of child and youth care to ensure that only qualified, accountable staff, committed to a code of ethics, are employed to work with our most vulnerable children and youth.
Ontario Association of Child and Youth Care
Nearly 1,200 “serious occurrences” involving vulnerable youth — most living in Toronto group homes — were reported in 2013.
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Toronto group homes turning outbursts from kids into matters for police
Serious occurrences involving youth in the care of the Ontario government and privately run children’s aid societies often involve a call to police.
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Physical restraint common in Toronto group homes and youth residences
One in three serious occurrence reports filed in Toronto in 2013 was for use of a physical and/or chemical restraint.
Dr. Kim Snow
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The ministry will establish a panel of experts to undertake this review and provide the ministry with a report and recommendations in fall 2015.
Click here to read the announcement
Ontario youth wait a year or more for mental health care: report
Young people with serious issues suffer long waits to get the care they desperately need, says a report card on the system by Children’s Mental Health Ontario.
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46 CAS agencies, 46 standards of care for vulnerable children
Star analysis reveals that youth in care in Ontario are treated differently depending on where they happen to live and which children’s aid society is responsible for them.
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Ontario urged to ban use of hotels, motels for foster children
Read the story here
Ottawa - Amazing Youth Worker Race!
Youth workers will race across the city with the help of OC Transpo to find out how well they know what's available to youth in the city.
Thursday May 14, 2015 Rain or Shine
8:30 - 5:00
The event starts and finishes at Algonquin College. Click on the links below to see the flyers for more information.
Amazing Youth Worker Race
Amazing Youth Worker Race- français
The Annual Report from the Office of the Provincial Advocate of Children and Youth
2014 Report to the Legislature
Irwin Elman, the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth presents the Annual Report for the fiscal year 2013-2014.
The office “remains committed to working with young people, as well as other natural child advocates in the community, to elevate the voices of the most vulnerable children and youth in our province”.
Please click here to read the Report
Report by the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth
The Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth is an independent voice for Ontario’s children and youth in and on the margins of government care.Reporting directly to the Legislature, the Provincial Advocate partners with children and youth, including those who are First Nations and those with special needs, to elevate their voices and promote action on their issues.
This report is the culmination of almost two years of contact with youth at RMYC. Throughout this time we have also had extensive and ongoing contact with RMYC senior management and the Ministry of Children and Youth Services (the Ministry) responsible for its operation.
Read the Report (PDF): http://provincialadvocate.on.ca/documents/en/RMYC_report_EN.pdf.
Beating the Odds: Post-Secondary Scholarships for Youth Transitioning from Care
In the winter of 2011, 56 former youth in care from Ontario and Manitoba participated in a pilot study to share the factors that led to their success. Though they came from many different situations, these young people shared one common characteristic; they each received a scholarship of between $1,500 and $4,000 per year to help them with post-secondary studies.
The research focused on three major themes:
1. How and why did you set your sights on post-secondary studies?
2. What, if any, influence did receiving a scholarship have on your decision?
3. What barriers did you face and how can these be overcome for others in your position?
Why Aren't Youth Workers Regulated in Ontario?
Arthur Gallant, Huffington Post
Six Southeastern Ontario institutions sign agreement to help Crown Wards get better post-secondary education
Highland Shores Children's Aid
Ashley Smith Verdict Reveals Canada’s Unaccountable Prison System
Death of Teenage Inmate Ruled Homicide Almost Seven Years Later
Andrew Woodbury on Monday, January 6, 2014
Detention centres no place for migrant children, critics argue
Canada out of step with push to keep migrant children out of detention centres